From Lead Counsel: February 2021
February gives us all that first reminder that we will not be in winter forever. With the COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon and each day getting a little more sunlight, it seems like the worst is behind us. I still feel like we just came back from the holidays, and we have already been working hard for a month. Our new attorney, Chloe Morrison, was initiated at our most recent asbestos court call. She argued a motion to set a new case for trial, and it went smooth as silk. Chloe is a crucial addition to our bankruptcy department. She will assist our veteran bankruptcy attorney, Sadie Grunewald, and an ever-growing number of hard-working paralegals who assist clients by making claims to trusts set up by companies that went bankrupt. It is a process that can take years to complete and requires both attorneys and paralegals to work in tandem. Our team works with clients to determine their exposure, coordinates with the trusts when they need more information, communicates with hospitals to obtain all of the necessary medical records and, finally, partners with experts to show the trusts that the disease was caused by exposure to asbestos. If it all works out, the trust pays a set sum, and the client or their family receives a settlement. There are currently over 50 trusts that a client can apply to for money, depending on that particular client’s asbestos exposure and job sites. It is hard work, but at the same time, it is incredibly satisfying to help so many families throughout the process.
We are also heading into a trial setting this month for a couple of our clients. Reinaldo Nunley recently passed away from mesothelioma. Mr. Nunley served on a destroyer, tank landing ship and frigate. Mr. Nunley also served on a series of aircraft carriers. He was responsible for working in the engine room, which exposed him to vast amounts of asbestos. Steven Howe’s case is up for trial at the same time. Mr. Howe is a Navy veteran and was exposed to asbestos while working on a submarine tender and repair ship. Mr. Howe is currently battling lung cancer. He never smoked. Often, people do not realize that people can get lung cancer from asbestos exposure. With the skills he learned in the Navy, Mr. Howe began working with asbestos in his civilian jobs. It is a true honor for our firm to have the opportunity to represent so many veterans and their families. When I first started representing mesothelioma clients 20 years ago, I had the chance to meet some WWII combat veterans. That slowly evolved into meeting more and more veterans from the Korean War. Now, our most recent veteran served in Vietnam.
The best thing about working for families from all different walks of life is hearing their stories and helping them cope with one of the most challenging transitions their family has faced. I hope that we always represent them with dignity. Our goal is to give all of our clients peace of mind. We want them to know that they chose the right firm with the right people.
I hope everyone gets to enjoy watching some snowfall this winter and curl up by the fire with a great book. Before we know it, summer will beckon us outside and keep us busier than ever. Each season has its upside, and it is up to us to enjoy it.
Stay safe and get vaccinated as soon as you can so we can beat this virus together. Thanks for reading, everyone, and I hope to hear from all of you soon.
~ Nicholas Vogelzang