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New Kazan Law Asbestos Attorney Talks About Her Work on Death Row

asbestos attorneyDawn Withers, a new asbestos attorney here at Kazan Law, already has a track record for helping to balance the scales of justice by providing legal help to those who need it most. During her years as a student at Golden Gate University’s School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 2013, she worked with the California Appellate Project, assisting clients on death row; and the Homeless Advocacy Project, representing indigent clients facing eviction.

“Performing public service is part of a healthy functioning democracy,” Dawn said when we spoke about her work with these two San Francisco legal nonprofits.

At Golden Gate, Dawn participated in the Honors Lawyering Program in which students attend intensive classes during the summer and then work full-time at a legal non-profit for the fall semester.

“I wanted experience in the criminal justice system,” Dawn explained, ”so I chose to work with prisoners on death row for those four months.”

Dawn assisted a team of attorneys and investigators who worked with death row inmates, including those at San Quentin. Located in nearby Marin County, San Quentin is home to the state’s only gas chamber and death row for male condemned inmates.

“I learned how important it is to work with a prisoner when they first arrive,” said Dawn. “It can be three years before they are assigned an appellate counsel and a lot can happen in that time. As a student, I was able to help the California Appellate Project attorneys to gather documents and interview the client to gather evidence for their appeal.”

At the Homeless Advocacy Project, Dawn spent several months assisting the group with the case of an indigent client who was facing eviction.

Working with the California Appellate Project and the Homeless Advocacy Project was a good fit for Dawn.

“It was a very fulfilling part of my law school experience to assist the attorneys at both these groups who provide legal services to people in crisis who otherwise wouldn’t have access to legal help.”

We are sure that Dawn will work diligently on behalf of asbestos victims and are proud to add her to our roster of asbestos attorneys at Kazan Law.

Meet Kazan Law Asbestos Attorney Irena Kin

asbestos attorneyKazan Law is proud to introduce our new asbestos attorney Irena Kin. Irena, who graduated cum laude from the Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2013 where she was a senior member of the Moot Court Honor Society, has a special affinity for the work we do here at Kazan Law as asbestos lawyers: empowering the powerless and speaking up for those whose voice is not heard. When Irena was three years old, she and her family left Tashkent, Uzbekistan as refugees and settled in Chicago.  They had to adjust to life in a new country with an unfamiliar language where they had no professional or social network, and no jobs. As Irina’s English skills flourished, she became at a very young age the voice for her dislocated family.

“I became their translator and as a result I also became their advocate and had to be involved in adult decisions and responsibilities,” Irena explains.

She went on to graduate summa cum laude from DePaul University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies prior to starting law school. Irena is a member of both the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Illinois.

Her early experiences inspired her to become a determined advocate for asbestos victims and we are pleased that she has come to the Bay Area from Chicago to join Kazan Law. Now, let’s talk a little more with Irena:

Why did you choose to go to law school?

Attorneys communicate persuasively, advocate for the injured, and fight to balance the scales of justice.  That sounded like a perfect match for my skills and goals.

How did you become interested in working with asbestos and mesothelioma cases?

Individuals suffering from mesothelioma are victims of corporate irresponsibility.  I wanted to help them seek compensation, and in doing so, send a message to companies that profits cannot be gained at the cost of worker health and safety.

Why did you choose to work for Kazan Law?

The people at Kazan are hard-working, passionate, and at the top of their game.  That’s the team I want to play for.

How do you hope your work at Kazan Law will help mesothelioma victims?

Unfortunately, the legal system cannot award improved health or bring back loved ones, but it can help to right injustice through compensation.  I hope to help mesothelioma victims achieve a sense of justice and cope with the financial burden of illness.

All the Information You Need to Start Your Asbestos Lawsuit

asbestos lawsuitWhen you want to file an asbestos lawsuit and are suffering from asbestos-caused illness, time is of the essence.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma as the result of working with asbestos or living with someone who worked with asbestos, you’ve got a strong chance of winning a large sum of money in damages in an asbestos lawsuit. You will need an experienced asbestos attorney to help you sue the companies that manufactured or installed the asbestos materials you handled.

To help you win your asbestos lawsuit as quickly as possible, even the best attorney needs key information that only you can provide. Pulling together this information ahead of time will enable your attorney to move swiftly on your behalf.

Medical Information

You need to provide concrete evidence that you are suffering from mesothelioma so be prepared to provide the:

  • Date and place of your diagnosis
  • Name and phone number of the physician who diagnosed you
  • List of specific treatments and medications prescribed for you and how much you have had to pay out-of-pocket for these.

Work History

Your attorney also needs to prove that you developed mesothelioma because you or someone in your family was exposed to asbestos at work. Be prepared to provide:

  • The name of the company or companies you worked for. If any company has been sold to another company, try to find out that name, too.
  • The dates you worked for each company – when you started and when you stopped. Try to find and make copies of tax returns or W2 forms that support those dates.
  • The names of products and materials you handled as part of your job.
  • Your job title and specific job duties and job site locations.

Official Documents to Bring to Your Attorney:

  • Marriage, death, birth certificates
  • Health insurance cards, Medicare cards
  • Official Will or Trust Agreement
  • Personal representative papers, or Executor papers
  • Pathology report, chest X-ray reports, CT-chest reports
  • Social Security records (detailed earnings with employer names)
  • Job resumes or job summary/timeline
  • Military: DD214, other documents
  • If prior asbestos litigation: attorney correspondence, settlement correspondence, settlement checks/stubs, complaint.

Who Can File an Asbestos Lawsuit?

asbestos lawsuitWho can sue for asbestos exposure?  The truth is just about anyone.  The more important question to ask is who can file an asbestos lawsuit and win?  Anyone can sign papers and pay a filing fee at a courthouse.  And if you want a lawyer, you can always find a lawyer who is willing to file a lawsuit.

Because asbestos exposure cases are usually handled on a contingency fee basis to refine the question even more you might ask who might have a claim of sufficient value to persuade a lawyer to take the case on a contingency?

The answer to that question depends on how a good a lawyer you want.

If the only lawyer who will take your case is one who is desperate for work and insists that you spend some of your own money to pay for costs, then the case may have only a slim chance of winning.

Instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel, you should seek the best law firm possible to handle your asbestos lawsuit.  Like Kazan Law. We have been asked to review thousands of asbestos exposure cases.  But we only accept the ones we know from experience present a solid case.

There are two types of asbestos lawsuit cases.  Both require a medical diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining in the lung or abdominal cavities.

  1. Personal  Injury – The personal injury asbestos lawsuit is brought by someone who is ill due to asbestos exposure.  It is almost always men who develop mesothelioma from occupational asbestos exposure.  But their wives and children sometimes develop mesothelioma from inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers the worker unknowingly brought home on his clothes and tools, and can also file personal injury lawsuits.As part of a personal injury case, the spouse can also sue for loss of consortium. That means the deprivation of the benefits of a spousal relationship due to injuries caused by the asbestos exposure.
  2. Wrongful Death – After the person who suffered due to asbestos exposure dies, a whole new series of claims can be brought for wrongful death.  In California, a potential claimant is anyone who depended on the deceased for more than half their support.  In addition to spouses and children, it could include grandkids and/or elderly parents. In California each heir can bring their own claims.

Factors we use in evaluating potential cases include:

  • the strength of the diagnosis
  • the evidence of asbestos exposure – when, where and to whose asbestos-containing materials
  • potential for recovering monetary damages

If you have any questions please see the the FAQs section of our website or call us at 888-887-1238.

Why Choosing an Asbestos Attorney is the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make

asbestos attorneyLast summer I received an honor from Kazan Law client Debbie Clemmons, who lost her beloved husband Randy Clemmons to mesothelioma. She honored me by asking me to write a chapter for her new book about her family’s experience with mesothelioma, “In His Grace, Grappling with Mesothelioma: The Randy Brady Story”, available on Amazon . And she kindly credits me as a co-author.  Now I am going to honor Debbie and Randy Clemmons by sharing with you the information she prompted me to write.

Selecting an asbestos attorney to represent you and your family is the most important financial decision you will ever make.

It is a more important decision than even buying a home.  Your home could potentially yield you a couple of hundred thousand dollars in return on investment if property values skyrocket in your neighborhood.  But an asbestos case properly handled by a top quality asbestos attorney from a reputable firm that specializes in asbestos can be worth millions to you and your family.

Money cannot replace a person.  But money can prevent additional unnecessary suffering on the part of the family by paying the bills. It also helps give you and your family a sense of justice.  A great harm was done to you and a good asbestos attorney can make sure that those responsible are held accountable, and that the family’s financial security is guaranteed.

Your medical care expenses and the loss of earnings can be compensated with substantial settlements if you choose your asbestos attorney carefully.  But what’s more, you could potentially – as many of my firm’s clients choose to do – set aside a portion of the money you receive for mesothelioma medical research, and we will be honored to contribute to that effort through our firm’s charitable foundation.

You could support a charitable trust to help fund medical research seeking to find a cure and better treatment for mesothelioma.  You could help create a future where possibly no one will suffer from the debilitating effects and losses of this disease.  This would be money that would never go towards this important cause unless someone like you puts it there.  And this would only be possible if you work with an asbestos attorney who is experienced and willing to fight for you every inch of the way, not just take the easy way out and settle for a minimal amount.

Again, this is the most crucial financial decision you will ever make in your life. Getting it wrong could harm your chance of providing your family with financial security for after you’re gone.

New Year, New Name for Kazan Law

Kazan LawIt’s a new year and our firm has a new name.  A new year is always an excellent time for change, revitalization and renewal. Sometimes change is by choice; you initiate it. Other times change comes to you unbidden and you need to embrace that change and embrace the opportunities it brings.

Here at Kazan Law, we have had change come our way even though we did not seek it.  We were Kazan, McClain, Satterley, Lyons, Greenwood & Oberman.  As of today, our new name is Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, a Professional Law Corporation—a reflection of two of our longtime partners choosing retirement.

Dianna Lyons and James Oberman are difficult to say goodbye and farewell to – although we do most emphatically wish them both well.  Both these veteran attorneys are giants in the field and have been with me for many years.  Jim was a certified appellate specialist who did outstanding motion and appeals work and Dianna was a great appellate lawyer who became an accomplished trial lawyer with us. I’ll be giving you a closer look at each of their careers as a proper send-off soon. For now just know that we will miss them.

But as the chapters on their careers at Kazan Law and in asbestos litigation close, new chapters will open. New brilliant young minds fresh from law school and on fire to change the world – or at least a piece of it – will find their way to our door. We will welcome them in just as we once welcomed Dianna Lyons and James Oberman.  And new attorneys will work with us to help you and your families as we always have.

Bottom line?  We’re still Kazan Law.  That hasn’t changed.  We are still the ground-breaking top-ranked asbestos litigation firm we’ve been for decades. We remain passionately committed to fighting for the rights of victims of asbestos exposure and trail blazing new precedents in asbestos law.

Kazan Law is a nationally recognized plaintiffs’ asbestos law firm with a particular expertise as asbestos lawyers fighting for victims of mesothelioma, a cancer that is a result of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. Some of the principals in our firm are pioneers in asbestos litigation and among the most experienced asbestos lawyers in California. Our attorneys have been instrumental in winning precedent-setting rulings by the California Appellate and Supreme Courts that have impacted asbestos law in California and ensured that asbestos victims have the opportunity to seek justice in the court system against those who caused their illness.

Asbestos Attorney Carole Bosch Joins Kazan Law

Carole Bosch

Carole Bosch

I am pleased to announce that Carole Bosch has joined our firm as an associate asbestos attorney.

Carole has successfully represented plaintiffs in personal injury, civil rights, prescription drug, and toxic exposure cases.  Since 2007, she has been litigating cases on behalf of numerous plaintiffs affected by asbestos exposure, including construction workers, drywallers, plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, pump mechanics, plant maintenance persons, matchplate makers, as well as their wives and children who were exposed to asbestos unwittingly brought home.

You can read her complete bio here.  For now, I’d like to share what Carole had to say when I asked her about her work.

How does your work as an asbestos attorney at Kazan Law help mesothelioma victims?

A lot of people have been and continue to be exposed to dangerous toxins in the work environment.  What we do serves a dual purpose.  It  serves to compensate victims and their families who develop illness through no fault of their own as a result of their exposure to asbestos without any knowledge or protection.  Often their families are also victims through secondary take home exposure.

Our work at Kazan Law also serves to deter companies from doing today what companies in the 50s and 60s did. Asbestos is more regulated today but still many workers are exposed to other lethal toxins in the workplace.

How do you approach working with mesothelioma victims and their families?

I bring both a personal touch and an expertise.  I develop a close bond with my clients and I am very familiar with the products they used and the work they did.  These are wonderful people who took a lot of pride in their work. We give them an opportunity to talk to someone who understands what they did.

It is important for these people who are suffering to know that their attorneys care.  We really do care about them, we care about their families. And we care about their families’ future.

What do you like most about your work as an attorney in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation?

Helping people.  It sounds cliché but that is what we do here at Kazan Law. We help people. We make a difference in their lives and we make a difference in the workplace.

Now that you are part of the team of asbestos attorneys at Kazan Law what do you hope to do?

I really want to contribute to what it is that Kazan Law does best.  Kazan Law has a reputation for doing high quality work for their clients.  That is something I share and want to continue.  It is what sets us apart from the many firms that do volume work as opposed to quality work.

Kazan Partner David McClain Serves as Key Witness in Major Asbestos Bankruptcy Trial

David McClainBecause of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood’s acknowledged expertise in asbestos claims, one of our principal partners David McClain recently was asked to serve as a key fact witness in a major asbestos bankruptcy case underway in Charlotte, NC.[1]  The outcome of this trial will determine how much Garlock Sealing Technologies and its parent company Enpro will have to pay into a trust fund for victims exposed to its asbestos-containing products.

According to David, “It was acknowledged by the counsel representing both present and future asbestos victims that we are among the foremost experts in this type of litigation and would be in the best position to tell the judge about Garlock’s liability.”

Garlock wants to set aside about $270 million for the trust. The claimants are asking for over a billion dollars from Garlock and its parent company Enpro.

As part of its legal strategy, Garlock filed for asbestos reorganization in federal bankruptcy court. The gasket manufacturing company’s case went to trial in early August to determine its total liability.  Although the evidence is now closed[2] a decision is not likely soon as the judge has much to consider

Garlock went to federal bankruptcy court to avoid more expensive lengthy trials for individual claims, which often resulted in big settlements. Now, to reduce the amount of the trust for claimants as part of a bankruptcy settlement, Garlock is attempting to prove that the victims’ cases are dishonest, because they may have been exposed to asbestos from sources other than their products, even though this argument has never worked for it in court when they actually tried cases.

“They (Garlock) have the money to pay up.  They just want to keep it for themselves. So they were trying to claim that the plaintiffs were being dishonest.  I countered that, and showed that it’s not true,” David commented when we discussed the case.

David pointed out to the judge how under California law, plaintiffs only need to show that the company’s gaskets increased the risk of developing mesothelioma, the fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. This ruling provided incentive for Garlock to avoid individual trials by paying its fair share in settlements of those cases.

When the judge hands down a decision on this asbestos bankruptcy case, I will report to you about it right here on the Kazan Law Blog.

[1]    Evolving litigation landscape led to settlements, witness testifies at Garlock trial; Legal Newsline; Aug 7, 2013

[2]  Garlock bankruptcy trial concludes in N.C.; Legal Newsline; Aug 23, 2013

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