Judge Awards $5.6 Million to a Former Durez Plastics Employee

In July 2014, Joseph Muir, age 57, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his job-related and secondhand exposure to asbestos.  Following a non-jury trial in October 2015,  the Court issued a decision and verdict awarding Mr. Muir over $5 million in his lawsuit against a Canadian asbestos mining company, Hedman Resources Limited.

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Asbestos Deaths are Higher Than State and National Averages in WNY

The asbestos-related death rate in Niagara County is the highest in the state. Erie County, which has a population of nearly five times that of Niagara County, experiences about 8.1 deaths per 100,000 residents. The death rate in Erie County is nearly double the rate statewide. Cattaraugus County has a much smaller population, but has an average annual asbestos-related death rate well above the state average.

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Local Judge Recognizes Depth of Mesothelioma Victim’s Pain & Suffering

On July 23, 2015, after a nine-day trial, a Buffalo jury delivered a $1.42 million dollar verdict to the widow of a United States Navy veteran, who died of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer. The trial was presided over by Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Chimes.  The jury determined that the misconduct of defendant, John Crane Inc., a Chicago-based manufacturer of asbestos gaskets and packing material, contributed to the death of William R. Voelker. 

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Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Breath of Life Celebration

This past November, during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Roswell Park hosted its seventh annual Breath of Life Celebration.  Roswell Park oncologists, physicians and support staff gave presentations highlighting the most recent advances in lung cancer treatment, diagnosis and screening.

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Critical Role Played by Union Officials at Linde

In the early 1990s, two former union officials, Ralph Krieger and Joe Sebastian, called John Lipsitz to see if Lipsitz & Ponterio could help one of their union members from Local 8-215, Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) at the Linde Division of Union Carbide. This union worker had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  

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Longtime Bethlehem Steel Bricklayer Receives Monetary Settlement

Our client worked throughout the Bethlehem Steel facility, including the Open Hearths, the Mold Yards, the Basic Oxygen Furnace, the Coke Oven Division, the Soaking Pits and the Blast Furnaces.  As a bricklayer, he worked with bricks, asbestos-containing refractories and insulation materials.

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Celebrating 20 Years

In October 2015, we celebrated our 20 year anniversary. Here are some photographs of our attorneys and staff throughout the past several years.

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Attorney Spotlight – Mathew J. Morton

Mathew J. Morton has been a key member of our asbestos/mesothelioma practice group since 2009.  He represents clients who have suffered injuries as a result of exposure to  asbestos and other toxic substances, including coke oven emissions and coal tar pitch.

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Are Asbestos Products Being Sold Today?

Despite the well-documented health dangers associated with asbestos, this mineral has never been completely banned in the United States.  There is indeed no level of exposure low enough to guarantee the prevention of a form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Given the grave danger it poses to human health, why has our government not instituted an outright asbestos ban?  

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Mesothelioma and the Younger Worker

Many assume that asbestos disease afflicts only retirees or those approaching retirement age. There is a misconception that asbestos disappeared from the work environment when stricter government regulations were enacted in the early 1970s. This is only partially true. 

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Attorney Advertisement Advisory

Hiring a mesothelioma attorney is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Experience is required to develop the skill and judgment necessary to provide effective representation to the victims of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma. 

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Equipment Cases Out of Kodak

Two Eastman Kodak workers represented by Lipsitz & Ponterio recently received significant settlements for their asbestos-related injuries. Our clients, a machinist millwright and a pipefitter, were previously employed by the Eastman Kodak Company located in Rochester, New York.

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Attorney Spotlight – Joseph T. Kremer, Esq.

Joseph T. Kremer, Esq. is an experienced trial lawyer, who has represented personal injury victims since 1989. As an attorney at Lipsitz & Ponterio, Joe practices in the areas of lead paint poisoning, asbestos litigation, product liability, construction accidents, medical malpractice and automobile accidents. 

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Dealing Safely With Asbestos In Your Home

Too often, home owners begin renovations unaware that asbestos may be present in the materials they are disturbing. The question then becomes, “What should the property owner do before beginning renovations?”

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Our Attorneys Will Come To You

In the past year, our attorneys have made dozens of trips throughout the United States to assist clients exposed to toxic materials, such as asbestos, while living and working in New York State.

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Asbestosis Denial Reversed

After more than five years of litigation before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, Lipsitz & Ponterio has succeeded in establishing that the death of Joseph “Joe” Mahoney (close friends and family also knew of him as “Herk”), a former employee of the Linde Division of Union Carbide in Tonawanda, New York, was caused by his workplace exposure to asbestos. 

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Warnings – Handle with Care

Lawyers, especially those who represent plaintiffs in asbestos disease lawsuits, tend to think a good deal about warnings.  After all, the claim that the defendant companies failed to warn the plaintiff about the potential health hazards of exposure to asbestos dust from their products is at the core of every asbestos lawsuit.  Similarly, the failure to warn constitutes the basis of many other types of toxic exposure lawsuits, as well as lawsuits involving consumer goods and medications.

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Important Legal Documents You Need to Consider

By making your health care wishes known now, you can provide the authority to individuals who you trust to carry out those directions and preferences when necessary.  In the best of circumstances, you will openly and honestly discuss your wishes with your appointed agents. The following are several legal documents that you should consider and discuss with your legal advisor or health care provider:

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Mathew J. Morton Joins Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford

Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC is pleased to announce that Mathew J. Morton, Esq. has joined Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC as an associate. Mr. Morton will practice in the areas of asbestos and mesothelioma litigation as well as automobile accidents.

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Former Donner Hanna Worker Sues Coke Oven Manufacturer

Until it ceased production in 1982, Donner Hanna was, at one time, one of three coke oven operations in the Buffalo area. This facility produced metallurgic coke, a vital material used in the steel making process, as well as other coke by-products, including various chemicals, coke oven gas and coal tar.

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Progress on Claims for Atom Weapons Employees

Congress passed the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) in 2000. The purpose of EEOICPA was to provide monetary compensation and medical benefits to atomic weapons workers who developed cancer as a result of radiation exposure, as well as to workers employed by atomic weapons producers who have developed chronic beryllium disease. 

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Large Settlement Goes to Bricklayer from Bethlehem Steel

The plaintiff worked throughout the Bethlehem Steel facility, including the Coke Oven Division, the Open Hearths, the Basic Oxygen Furnace, the Strip Mills, the Bar Mills and the Blast Furnaces. As a bricklayer, his work frequently involved relining the ovens and the furnaces and working in close proximity to outside contractors applying asbestos-containing insulation to steam pipes and other hot surfaces.

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Advantages to Mediation and Expedited Resolution

In mediation, there are no judges or juries to make final, binding decisions; the parties themselves make their own agreements, and a mediator oversees discussions between parties. Benefits of mediation vary, depending upon a client’s needs and interests. In short, pretrial mediation is a useful tool in obtaining early resolution of cases. 

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Did You or a Loved One Work at Any of the Asbestos-Contaminated Plants Located Throughout Our Western New York Communities?

You may have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease because you were exposed many years ago to asbestos-containing materials while working at one of the plants along the River Road.  Even if you never handled this material yourself, you may have been exposed to harmful concentrations of asbestos because your co-workers handled or installed asbestos-containing products.

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Welcome Aboard

As our firm continues to grow, we are pleased to welcome new staff members to our office: Ian Buchalski, Charmain Jozwiak, and Courtney Bajdas.

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Asbestos-Laden Cupolas Exposed Foundry Workers to Harm

Starting in 1985, wrecking crews began to demolish the buildings that made up the old General Motors’ foundry on Irene Street in the Town of Tonawanda. Since the 1970’s, government regulations have required that all asbestos be removed from a building prior to its demolition.

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General Motors/Chevrolet Foundry Worker Case Settled

Lipsitz & Ponterio recently represented a gentleman from Holland, Michigan, who died at the age of 63 as a result of malignant mesothelioma. Our client worked at the General Motors/Chevrolet Foundry on River Road in Tonawanda, New York, from 1966 to 1984.

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Bethlehem Steel – Dangers Posed at the Open Hearths

In October 2013, Lipsitz & Ponterio obtained a substantial settlement for the family of a former Bethlehem Steel laborer. Our client, a resident of Hamburg, New York, worked as a furnace helper in the #3 Open Hearth Mold Yard. In the fall of 2012, at the age of sixty-seven, he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.

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Blacktop Worker Receives Substantial Settlement

In October 2013, Lipsitz & Ponterio reached a sizeable settlement for the family of a long-time employee of a local blacktop manufacturer.  This case illustrates the hazards of working with coal tar, a by-product of the coking process.

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Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford is on YouTube

The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio recently embarked on a new journey by filming several on-location videos at a variety of asbestos-contaminated job sites throughout Western New York. Many men and women who worked at these facilities were exposed to asbestos dust created by the application, removal, wear and tear and replacement of asbestos-containing materials.

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Timing Your Social Security Benefits

Most people don’t resist the temptation to start collecting Social Security benefits as early as they are eligible, that is, at age 62.  On the other hand, experts generally suggest that you wait as long as you can to commence benefits, even as late as age 70, the reason being that the increase in monthly payments between those starting at age 62 and age 70 is close to 75%.

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Welcome Aboard – Michael J. Jarosz, Esq.

Michael J. Jarosz has joined Lipsitz & Ponterio as an associate attorney. Mr. Jarosz will focus his practice on asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, childhood lead poisoning and workers’ compensation matters. 

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Attorney Spotlight – Anne E. Joynt

Since 2005, Ms. Joynt has been a key member of the firm’s lead practice group, which represents children suffering from lead poisoning. Anne has also practiced in the areas of asbestos litigation and personal injury.

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Coke Production: Environmental & Occupational Impacts

The Tonawanda Coke Corporation, a local coke producer, has been in the news recently because of a federal prosecution for violations of the Clean Air Act. The plant discharged industrial wastewater containing cyanide, ammonia and naphthalene into the local sewer system and storm sewers that lead to the Niagara River. Improper handling of coal tar sludge also contaminated soil in the area.

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Factory Workers Poisoned by Toxic Glue

Although substances like asbestos no longer pose such widespread hazards in the work place as they did some thirty years ago, today there are many highly toxic substances still used in factories and at construction sites causing serious injuries to workers here and abroad. 

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Where There’s A Will

We’ve compiled a list of legal documents that everyone should assemble in a file to guide their loved ones.  Many of these things will also be very helpful in the event of serious illness. 

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Cancer Risks from Coke Oven Emissions, Coal Tar & Coal Tar Pitch

The production and refining of coal tar and its use in various other products involves a substantial risk of exposure to a group of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  Exposure to these chemicals can lead to a variety of diseases, including lung and other respiratory cancers, bladder cancer, and skin cancer.  Harmful exposure occurs when the tar, or refined products made from the tar, are heated and give off dust and fume, called coal tar pitch volatiles (CTPVs).

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Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts – What You Need to Know

A wide variety of asbestos-containing products are implicated by the trusts, including pipe covering, insulating cement, joint compound, vermiculite insulation, fireproofing material, acoustical plaster, roofing materials, floor and ceiling tiles. Depending upon your job classification, and where you worked, you may be able to file claims with a few or many of the trusts.  Every case in this respect is different.

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Former Pizzeria Worker Sues Oven Manufacturer

Lipsitz & Ponterio represents a 56-year-old man who worked at a Buffalo area pizza parlor. He was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in March 2011, and his only known exposure to asbestos was transite blocks.

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Lipsitz & Ponterio’s Website Has a New Look

We are pleased to announce that we have recently redesigned the firm’s website, www.lipsitzponterio.com. The redesign will allow the firm to better provide current and potential clients with key information about exposure to toxic substances at New York State job sites.

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Current Developments in Medicare

Federal law requires that personal injury plaintiffs, who are eligible for Medicare, take into consideration the interests of Medicare when settling their claims. 

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Family of Former Bethlehem Steel Employee Receives Large Settlement

Lipsitz & Ponterio represents the family of a man who went to work at Bethlehem Steel in 1967 at the age of twenty-three. In the fall of 2007, at the age of sixty-three, our client developed lung cancer.  For a significant portion of his employment at the plant, he worked on top of coke oven batteries as a lid man. 

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17-Year Struggle Ends in Success

Samuel Tornabene was one of thousands of workers around the nation unwittingly exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. He was employed at the former Linde Ceramics plant, an EEOICPA-recognized site in Tonawanda, NY, between September 1962 and September 1993. 

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