AM Buffalo


Lipsitz and Ponterio – 25 years of fighting the fight with you

Posted at 4:58 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 16:58:29-04

There has been one local law firm that has been fighting the good fight for a long time now in Western New York. The attorneys at Lipsitz and Ponterio have led the way in shaping asbestos law in New York State. This week the firm celebrates 25 years fighting for justice in Western New York. Michael Ponterio joins us on AM Buffalo. He says he and his law partner John Lipsitz for 25 years as a firm and before that he practiced with him for a total now of 37 years. They specialize in Mesothelioma cases, a really aggressive cancer, and has come from asbestos. Mel Camp says we all know how bad asbestos is and asks Michael Ponterio how much the industry has changed in 25 years that they have been working together. He says in 1985 they changed the law in New York State which gave people and their families the right to come into court for asbestos injuries. He says he and John Lipsitz were the first two lawyers in Buffalo to obtain a jury verdict on behalf of one of their asbestos clients. It was very exciting and rewarding and very nerve-racking because you are doing something for the first time, trying a case, in this case an asbestos case, you don’t know how juries are going to react. The first major plant they represented workers out of was a plant in North Tonawanda called Durez. They were owned by Occidental and they made plastic molding compounds for anything from distributer caps on cars to kitchenware. They used raw asbestos. Over the 37 years they have represented thousands of workers and their families. From Durez they got mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos diseases and now people in the neighborhood that was exposed to asbestos released from the Durez plant. Michael Pontiero says what is ironic is his grandfather worked at that plant for over 40 years and he got to know a lot of the families as a child growing up. He played with their kids of workers at Durez and little did he realize that he would be representing them one day. Anybody that has been exposed to asbestos, their family has been exposed and they have lung ailments they should see their doctor immediately and get a chest x-ray. Michael says they have clients who have lived a long time after being diagnosed with lung cancer through early detection. When asked what is it like to be working in a field like this for so many years Michael Ponterio says when they meet the families initially we tell them we would love to be able to say you are going to get your health back but that is not going to be happening; you want them to seek justice and provide for their family. Michael says that’s what gets us up every day and makes us work hard on behalf our clients.


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