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42 Years - A Professional Law Corporation - Helping Asbestos Victims Since 1974

Steve Kazan

Some Things Still Ring True After Four Decades of Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Steven Kazan 1985This month Kazan Law celebrates four decades of obtaining justice for asbestos victims.  To commemorate the occasion, we are taking a look at the firm’s history to participate in our own unique way in social media’s Throwback Thursday. In my last post, I talked about how I founded Kazan Law in March 1974 when as a young attorney I found myself representing dying workers. They had been exposed to asbestos because of a company whose name now has become synonymous with asbestos litigation:  Johns Manville.  It was a landmark case that set a legal precedent and launched me on my journey of handling over a thousand of asbestos litigation cases.

In the firm’s archives, I found an interview I gave to the California edition of the Daily Journal, a legal community newspaper, in 1985. Some of what I said then about asbestos litigation still rings true now.  So for Throwback Thursday, here are several excerpts:

Working with asbestos-related clients is both depressing and rewarding, according to Oakland attorney Steven Kazan who heads one of the Bay Area’s major plaintiff’s asbestos practices.  “As much as you try to retain a sense of detachment, you get involved,” said Kazan, the founder of Kazan & McClain. But helping to obtain financial security for asbestos victims dying of chronic disease is rewarding.

Still true.  Except today it is Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, A Professional Law Corporation.

Kazan said his firm will look at about 1,800 possible cases this year, 1,000 of them asbestos-related and take only about 100 of them, the article states.

Factors Kazan uses in evaluating potential cases include:

  • the degree of disability

  • the evidence of asbestos exposure

  • potential monetary damages

Also still true.

Kazan said he sometimes advises people with minor asbestos-related problems to wait and see if their illness progresses to avoid settling for an amount of money that will not cover their medical expenses if their condition worsens.

Still good advice.

Although exposure to asbestos has greatly decreased due to public awareness of its dangers, may people have been exposed but not yet become ill and Kazan predicted that he won’t have to change his practice much in the near future.

“For the next 10 to 15 years there will be a substantial volume of asbestos litigation,” Kazan said.

Sadly, this also has proved to be true.  In fact, it’s been more than 25 years and the need to help obtain financial security for asbestos victims continues to drive myself and my associates forward in our work more than ever.

Kazan Law Helps to Fund Public Justice Attorney Leah Nicholls

Leah Nicholls

Leah Nicholls
Photo credit: Public Justice

Giving back is one of our guiding principles at Kazan Law.  Because we work with mesothelioma patients and their families, much of our giving back goes to mesothelioma research.  However, helping to fund research for new treatments and cures for mesothelioma is just part of the story for us. We also believe in giving back to further the pursuit of justice.

We are proud to donate to nonprofit legal organizations that take on the tough ones and stand up for humanity.  As legal advocates for victims of asbestos exposure, we defend our clients against corporate misconduct and we gladly support legal assistance for those who need it in other causes.

One of the organizations we support is aptly named Public Justice.  Based in Washington D.C. and Oakland, they consider themselves America’s public interest law firm and according to their mission statement, they:

  • protect people and the environment
  • hold the powerful accountable
  • challenge government, corporate, and individual wrongdoing
  • increase access to justice
  • combat threats to our justice system
  • inspire lawyers and others to serve the public interest

Kazan Law helps fund Public Justice by co-underwriting together with another firm a full-time position for one of their attorneys.  Her name is Leah Nicholls and since joining Public Justice’s Washington D.C. office in September 2013, she has helped defend residents of a rural island community against a toxic bauxite refinery, protect the injury settlement of an airlines employee, ensure access by citizens to state government records in Virginia, challenge Texas health regulations over a salmonella outbreak due to unsanitary poultry facilities, argue for a WalMart employee’s right to disability benefits and argue other cases, many involving the Supreme Court.

Leah said in a recent memorandum, “This past year has been both challenging and rewarding, and I am extremely lucky to be able to do the kind of important work that Public Justice does at the highest levels. I am deeply grateful to Steven Kazan for this outstanding opportunity.”

And I am deeply proud of what this young attorney has accomplished at Public Justice in such a short time and look forward seeing all that she will do in the years to come.

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