Lead Counsel Nicholas Vogelzang
April 19, 2021 By Nicholas Vogelzang

From Lead Counsel: April 2021

Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well and enjoying some version of a holiday. My family is staying close to home this year but it looks like we will be treated to warm temperatures by Midwest standards, so I cannot complain.

Over this past month, our Vogelzang Law attorneys began traveling for work after receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations. Last week, we took a corporate representative deposition in Walnut Creek, California. Not missing an opportunity, our attorneys were also able to squeeze in a round of golf and a trip to a winery. Not bad for life on the road. Despite the recreational activities, the deposition was still a very serious affair as it was on behalf of our client James Golden, an insulator who passed away from lung cancer at a very young age. He left behind his 14-year-old son. We are preparing his case for trial in June.

Mr. Golden’s trial is currently scheduled as a jury trial. This is an exciting development since the possibility of a jury trial has been off the table for more than a year now due to the pandemic. Cook County, which includes Chicago, had its first criminal jury trial in March and announced a few days ago that they will begin conducting the first civil jury trials in May. One of the most fundamental rights afforded to us by the Constitution of The United States is the right to a trial before one’s peers. Of course with COVID-19, that was impossible for a time. While many cases were settled without a jury, as is often the protocol, several other cases have been extended to a later date when a trial can be held. We have had several cases held over, but this should be a banner year for trials because there is so much pent-up demand nationwide. Lawyers and judges in the civil and criminal system have worked very hard to keep the system going during the lockdown. The goal was that we would not get too far behind. So far, the hard work appears to have paid off. 

We are also working on behalf of several clients who were diagnosed with mesothelioma due to talc exposure. One of our clients, Mousa Zaatar, was exposed to industrial talc as a forklift operator. He was often responsible for moving 100-pound bags of it. Industrial talc was used for a variety of reasons in factories. Similar to asbestos, talc is mined. The concern is often that asbestos and talc mining deposits are in close proximity to one another, thus leading to an issue of cross-contamination. Companies that used and mined talc were often aware of these dangers but did not convey them to their employees. Mr. Zaatar was also a cab driver and performed hundreds of brake repairs over the years on his cab as well as other vehicles. Many of these brakes contained asbestos materials.

In addition to industrial talc, cosmetic talc can be contaminated with asbestos. Cosmetic talc is often used in the production of baby and makeup powders. Prolonged exposure to cosmetic talc can cause mesothelioma. Since women were more likely to use talcum powder on themselves and their children, we see talc-induced mesothelioma cases more frequently in our female clients. Our client, Lidia Roussous, was diagnosed with mesothelioma after prolonged use of cosmetic talc. Additionally, her husband was an electrician who worked with asbestos-containing products. Disguised in dust, her husband unknowingly carried toxic asbestos fibers home on his clothes ultimately exposing her when she did their laundry. 

The significance and importance of representing these clients whose families have been the hardest hit by asbestos usage in America never fails to elicit a strong sense of responsibility and respect from all of us at Vogelzang Law. The relationships we form with the families we represent are probably the biggest motivators for us. As we continue our work, we remain grateful for all the people who make it possible—from healthcare workers to spouses and loved ones that support us through our stress. At the end of the day, it is all greatly fulfilling and we would not have it any other way. 

As always, thanks for reading, I look forward to seeing and speaking to many of you very soon.

~ Nicholas Vogelzang