Welcome back from the holidays and into 2019! As a law firm constantly scheduling depositions, trials and meetings, I feel as though we’ve been in 2019 for the last 6 months. I hope that everyone enjoyed a welcome break and had time to reflect on another fantastic year. We grew tremendously as a law firm and professionally as a group. We had several staff members move on to a different calling in life, and we added others who were furthering their career in law. Adding new people to a group is always a fun and dynamic experience as the group outlook and direction tend to evolve as the group evolves. In 2019, Vogelzang Law is looking to double in size from 3 lawyers to 6 lawyers and add several additional staff in support; luckily we have plenty of new office space, but it won’t last for long. We are looking forward to having the capacity to handle even more cases as we have in the past.
In the tail end of 2018, we had the opportunity to meet many new families and sit down at a variety of kitchen tables learning about our clients’ journey through life. This included the DeJongh family. Jason DeJongh is a father of three who was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma. He had a variety of asbestos exposures that we’re still investigating. We are also getting to know the Wodecki family; Mr. Wodecki is unfortunately in the end stages of his cancer, but he was able to tell us about his work at a paint factory and mixing in different asbestos-containing materials that exposed him to asbestos early in life. We also met the Baffliaga family. Jim Baffaglia is a strong and relatively young retired ironworker who worked throughout Chicago, which put him around all different types of asbestos.
Some of the trials we are looking forward to this year are a crane operator that worked with ingot molds at Republic Steel in Chicago, a factory line worker from Borg Warner, an Illinois Department of Transportation worker from Springfield, IL, a pipe fitter out of a defunct foundry and a steel worker who utilized a torch cutter, in addition to several others.
We also said goodbye to several of our clients who lost their lives to asbestos disease. Donald Bos was a steady hard working plumber that fought off mesothelioma for as long as he could. I know his wife Jackie sorely misses him. Dick Eskenazi worked as a chemical engineer right out of college at Allied Chemical, exposing him to a variety of asbestos products. Dick is survived by his wife Sally and his son Steven.We only briefly got to know Gordon Oberg, a veteran of the Coast Guard who traveled around the world working as an electrician. Mr. Oberg was taken quickly within a span of three months and is survived by his wife, children, and 11 grandchildren. We also lost Jim Thomas, a Local 17 insulator who died of lung cancer in April. His two sons have followed in their father’s footsteps, taking up the trade of insulators, albeit in an environment much safer than what their father worked in during the 1960s and 1970s. Talking about the results of asbestos exposure is always a challenge since we as a humans like to be optimistic and hopeful. However, remembering those who died from an industrial disease is an extremely important reminder that while capitalism has pushed our country to new heights, safety needs to remain one of the highest priorities for all the tradesmen and women out there building America.
Thanks as always for reading and staying up to date with our law firm. We’ve planned some really exciting events this year including partnering up with the American Lung Association for their annual Fight for Air Climb at the Presidential Towers in March. We will also be attempting our first webinar with my father, Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang. As our guest speaker, he will answer all types of questions on cancer and mesothelioma. Look for that in June,when he’ll be in Chicago for the American Society of Clinical Oncologists Convention (ASCO). Last but certainly not least, we cannot wait for our second annual Mesothelioma Race for Justice in September. We’re hoping to raise even more money for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and additional benefiting charity, the American Lung Association. I also plan to keep up my Friday “Ask a Lawyer” Facebook Live sessions, so please feel free to send us any questions you would like addressed. It should be an amazing year full of new people, new cases and new opportunities. Talk to you soon!