Dennis P. Harlow is an experienced litigator who concentrates his practice on appellate advocacy, litigation strategy and dispositive motion practice. Dennis has an extensive knowledge of state legal history.  He applies this knowledge of the history and development of New York’s tort laws to defeat the insurance industry’s well-funded efforts to restrict New Yorkers’ rights to have their cases heard by juries.

As plaintiffs, his clients have the burden of proving every element of their case. Our attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford have years of experience handling complex litigation. Many of these cases can involve arguments about events that occurred decades ago, complex medical histories and complicated disputes about corporate history and insurance contracts.  Dennis is a clear, concise legal writer, who presents his clients’ stories in a persuasive and compelling manner.  Since joining Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford in 2007, Dennis has helped establish a number of important precedents safeguarding the rights of current and future clients.

Dennis joined Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford in 2007, after graduating from the State University of New York School of Law.  In addition to his juris doctor, Dennis has a graduate degree in Library Science.  His research and professional advocacy have focused on freedom of information laws and archival access.

Some of Mr. Harlow’s notable cases include:

  • Matarazzo v. CHARLEE Family Care, Inc., 218 A.D.3d 941 (4th Dept, 2023). In this case, Mr. Harlow successfully defended the constitutionality of the Child Victims’ Act, as well as the attempt to reduce the scope of institutional defendants’ duty to report sexually abusive conduct.
  • Richards v. Hedman Resources Ltd., 204 A.D.3d 1407 (4th Dept, 2022) leave denied 39 N.Y.3d 931 (2022). In this case, Mr. Harlow successfully opposed an effort to dismiss several high-value cases by challenging the validity of the service of process.
  • Matter of Eighth Jud. Dist. Asbestos Litig. [Terwilliger v. Beazer East], 33 N.Y.3d 488 (2019) rev’ing 150 A.D.3d 1617 (2017). In this case, the Court of Appeals held that the companies that designed and constructed industrial coke ovens had a duty to warn of their latent hazards, arising out of product liability principles, despite defendant’s argument that ten-story batteries should be considered structures and not products.  The Court of Appeals additionally rejected defendant’s argument that, as a service contractor, it could not be held liable under a product liability theory.  This holding eliminates a longstanding defense that has been used by asbestos insulation contractors and other entities that distribute dangerous products pursuant to service contracts.  This case reached the Court of Appeals because Mr. Harlow persuaded the Court of Appeals to grant certiorari, which is an order for a higher court’s review of a unanimous decision of the Fourth Department.
  • In re: Eighth Judicial Dist. Asbestos Litig. [Christoff v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co. et al], 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 10783 (Sup. Ct. Erie Cty, 2017). In this case, Mr. Harlow successfully opposed a summary judgment motion by a furnace cement manufacturer that disputed the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s product identification testimony and the ability of the plaintiff to prove causation.
  • Matter of Eighth Jud. Dist. Asbestos Litig. [Holdsworth v. A.W. Chesterton et al.], 141 A.D.3d 1126 (4th Dept, 2016). Mr. Harlow successfully defended a trial verdict related to an asbestos-containing gasket manufacturer’s challenge to the rationality of apportionment and an effort to compel plaintiffs to file claims against various potentially liable trusts to mitigate trial defendant’s liability.
  • Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig. [Suttner v. A.W. Chesterton et al.], 27 N.Y.3d 765 aff’ing 155 A.D.3d 1218 (4th Dept, 2014). Mr. Harlow successfully defended a failure-to-warn verdict against a manufacturer of industrial valves that were regularly used in operation with asbestos-containing gaskets manufactured by third parties.  Justice Abdus-Salaam’s forty-four page decision clearly explained the difference between New York’s long-standing, case specific duty-to-warn jurisprudence  and that of more restrictive states such as California.
  • Matter of Eighth Jud. Dist. Asbestos Litig. [Voelker v. John Crane], 2015 N.Y.Misc. LEXIS 4992 (Sup. Ct. Erie Cty., 2015). In a post-trial motion, Mr. Harlow successfully moved for additur (the power of a trial court to increase the award for damages) where the jury verdict deviated materially from what would be reasonable compensation.  In addition, he successfully opposed post-trial motion to vacate verdict on choice-of-law grounds.
  • Matter of Manka v Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 123 A.D.3d 1172 (3rd Dept, 2014). Mr. Harlow successfully opposed defendant’s appeal of a Workers’ Compensation Board decision where the defendant challenged the adequacy of claimant’s medical causation proof.
  • Matter of Eighth Jud. Dist. Asbestos Litigation. [Seymour v. Niagara Insulations et al], 106 A.D.3d 1453 (4th Dept, 2013).   Mr. Harlow successfully opposed appeal of an order denying a coal tar pitch manufacturer’s motion to sever an action which had been placed on the asbestos docket.
  • Matter of Eighth Jud. Dist. Asbestos Litigation., [Freiheit v. American Premium Underwriters], 93 A.D.3d 1236 (4th Dept, 2012). Mr. Harlow successfully opposed the appeal of order denying summary judgment on product identification grounds where the plaintiff identified defendant’s boiler from an advertising photograph.


  • American Association of Law Librarians
  • New York State Bar Association


New York State Court of Appeals Holds Manufacturers of Coke Ovens Have Duty to Warn

Appeals Court Upholds $3 Million Verdict in Asbestos Case

Buffalo Law Firm Wins Major Appeal in Asbestos Case in New York’s Highest Court