June 14, 2022 By Nicholas Vogelzang

From Lead Counsel: June 2022

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Hi everyone, I’m thrilled to be back writing to all of you after a long hiatus.  I’ve personally been very busy since 2022 began.  I was studying for the Florida bar exam which I took in February and was happy to get the news in April that I had passed.  The fact that I took the exam created more questions than I anticipated, but the simple answer is that many of our potential clients retire to Florida, and I wanted to make sure our firm has access to those clients in the long term.  So there are no immediate plans, but now we have plenty of potential for expansion.

After the bar exam was over, almost all of our attorneys attended the Perrin National Asbestos Conference in California in March.  We were all grateful for the opportunity as it was one of our first chances to come together again and network with other attorneys that work in the field of asbestos litigation.  It was a three day conference and was just like the pre-Covid days of nonstop lectures, lunches, dinners and receptions.  Several of us then attended the Mass Torts Made Perfect conference in Las Vegas only a month later to continue updating our knowledge on what is going on in the litigation on a national level.  One of the inspirations for all of the conference attendance is my father, who, as a young academic physician, was constantly going to conferences to strengthen important relationships and make sure he was on the cutting edge of medicine for his patients.  I try to instill that same attitude and intellectual curiosity in myself and all of the attorneys that work in this challenging field of asbestos litigation.

Now perhaps I have buried the lead a bit, but taking all things in chronological order, we had a very exciting month of May when we secured a $7.7 million dollar verdict on May 25, 2022!  It was an incredible effort against United States Steel in Cook County on behalf of a hard working Local 597 Pipefitter and the family that he left behind far too soon.  He was only 62 when he passed from mesothelioma, a short one month after his diagnosis.  He worked at industrial locations all over Chicagoland but US Steel was one that stuck out for the amount of asbestos at Gary Works and South Works.  The family was thrilled after all of the heartbreak they had been through.  It was thrilling for our firm as well as it was the first full trial taken to verdict for attorneys Michael Maienza, Joseph Trunk and Wyatt Berkover.  The case took two years to get to trial but only two weeks to try once the courts finally opened back up after Covid.  The team learned a lot and had many bonding opportunities working late into the night and rising early to continue working before court began every morning to make sure we were prepared.  Luckily the team got a long break for Memorial Day weekend and then it’s right back to work for all of the other extremely important cases that were waiting for us while we tried the case.

Now that summer has unofficially begun we are finally able to embrace all of our exciting golf outings/fundraisers and events that really helps us be part of the community.  Mirela has 34 golf outings already on the books and the list continues to grow.  She has also added to the team with Bob Dorsey, a retiree from the Heat and Frost Insulator’s Union Local No. 17, who many of you will see out there this year.  It’s already been an amazing 2022 and we’re not even half way done!  Thanks for reading and I hope to see many of you out and about soon!