From Lead Counsel: February 2019
It’s the heart of winter in the upper Midwest, and it’s approximately 4 degrees outside. Luckily almost all of our legal work is performed inside and the benefit of the wintry weather is increased focus and less distractions of summer weather beckoning us outside. Our firm is continuing to evolve and adapt with more new faces and places. This month, we added attorney Nathan Wallace to our team. He graduated from Loyola School of Law in 2017 and is joining our mesothelioma practice; you’ll see him beginning to show up at court calls, client homes, and depositions as he develops his skills in asbestos litigation. Inside the world of our legal team, we’ve also added two new paralegals: Nathaniel Kurtz and Anika Carlson. Nathaniel will be working with our bankruptcy team and Anika will be assisting attorneys on the day-to-day work up of mesothelioma cases.
In addition, we have begun strengthening our alliance with Michigan co-counsel at the Willis Law Firm. The firm was started by Willis brothers Michael and Shawn Willis, whose father Hon. Frank Willis served as Chief Judge of Van Buren County. They are based in West Michigan and will assist Vogelzang Law in litigating our Michigan-based mesothelioma cases and in Court on our upcoming case filed in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
This past month, we’ve also been introduced to some new families working with us in the face of serious asbestos disease. Darrel Smith is currently being treated for mesothelioma after being exposed through home renovations and commercial construction throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His case is being filed in Oregon in partnership with the law firm of Waters and Kraus based out of Los Angeles. I’ve known Andy Waters for some years now, and their trial work in asbestos is unparalleled. We also met Jim and Cathie Gray of Martin, Michigan. Jim was a lifelong Local 47 Asbestos Worker insulating pipes, boilers, and vessels for the majority of his career. Jim was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and has begun chemotherapy treatment to beat the cancer back.
In the next week, we have two cases up for trial on February 13, 2019. Wilbur DeBolt is now deceased, but he worked as a boiler engineer and was heavily exposed to asbestos on valves, pumps, boilers, and other equipment while working at Bethlehem Steel and Kroger Dairy. In addition, Ulrich Huemmerich’s case is up for trial. Ulrich (Rick) assembled torch cutter machines in steel mills and was exposed to asbestos on the machine itself, as well as asbestos used on piping and equipment throughout the mills.
Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to those we lost last month. Our deepest condolences to the family of Arnie Wodecki and his wife Janet. Arnie lost his battle with mesothelioma almost as quickly as it started. We also lost Stanley Murray, a pipefitter, who fought his mesothelioma for just over 8 months. In addition, Don Bergren passed away last month after a short battle with mesothelioma. This is always one of the most difficult parts of the work our firm performs. We get to know many families very well in a difficult part of their lives, and losing yet another client is never easy.
Thanks again for tuning in to our newsletter to stay abreast of the hard work and progress of Vogelzang Law. Some of our Michigan readers might see us presenting a check to Union 4 Life at the Ann Arbor Electrical JATC Training Center in Chelsesa, MI on Monday, February 11. The money donated will go to cancer research at University of Michigan. VL is always proud to be a part of the union community and to work hand in hand with cancer research efforts to push back mesothelioma and forge a path to a cure. See you next month!