Picking Their Battles

Front row, from left: Ernest F. Teitell, David S. Golub. Back row, from left: Paul A. Slager, Richard A. Silver, Angelo A. Ziotas.Photo: Luigi Ciuffetelli

For more than three decades, Silver Golub & Teitell LLP has set the bar for complex litigation in Connecticut. The Stamford-based firm has demonstrated its expertise while representing victims in a wide variety of challenging cases, including those involving whistle-blowers, medical malpractice, civil rights, and other catastrophic events.

The firm has obtained some of the largest verdictsand settlements in Connecticut history and has heldaccountable corporations, governmental organizations,and other responsible defendants along the way. Thefirm’s work has had ramifications that extend beyondindividual cases: the creation of life-saving safety procedures; the removal of dangerously defective products from the market; eliminating deceptive corporate practices; forcing compliance with safety procedures; compelling remediation of dangerous conditions; and stimulating enforcement of safety regulations.

So the cases keep coming. Partner Paul Slager says the wealth of cases that come to the firm affords its attorneys the opportunity to choose only those cases they believe are the most meritorious and important. “We’re looking for cases we really believe in,” says Slager. “Whether it’s representing a person who needs and deserves a voice, or where there’s an issue at stake that we want to go to bat for, that’s our mission: helping people who are victims and protecting people’s rights.”

This mission is immediately evident in many of thefirm’s most recent cases.

“All of our attorneys are focused on making sure our clients get the same kind of representation that the largest companies have.” —Paul Slager

Partners David Golub, Jonathan Levine, MarilynRamos, and Craig Yankwitt recently won a significantvictory at the United States Court of Appeals for the 2ndCircuit on behalf of a serviceman who lost his position at a large national bank, following deployment overseas. The firm’s attorneys proved in a groundbreaking trial that the bank had failed to honor a federal statute protecting the jobs of reservists who are sent to serve overseas. After protracted litigation and the employer’s appeal, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the favorable trial verdict in all respects. “It was a gratifying win for a serviceman who dropped everything to serve his country, then returned, only to find his employer had turned its back on him,” says Golub.

Partners Angelo Ziotas and Peter Dreyer recentlyhandled a case against a local municipality for its negligence in the injury of an inexperienced young swimmer. The child suffered severe brain damage after spending almost five minutes underwater, unnoticed by the lifeguards charged with watching him. The boy now requires a lifetime of expensive therapies and assistance. Ziotas says, “We wanted to ensure that the boy has the means to make his life as fulfilling as possible,while lifting an enormous financial strain off his family.”

For several years now,Partners Ernie Teitell, Dreyer,and Slager have represented afamily in a product liability suitagainst a local municipality andone of the country’s largest poolsupply manufacturers. Teitellsays, “This case is about makingthe pool and spa industry takenotice that safety must be theirnumber one priority.” Theclient will donate all netproceeds from the lawsuit tothe ZAC Foundation, which isdedicated to advancing childsafety issues nationwide.

Partners Richard Silver andKathleen Brandt recently won a victory on behalf of theestate of a late servicewoman. They earned a substantialsettlement against a Veterans Affairs hospital and itsemployees for medical malpractice after an inadequateevaluation in the emergency room led to her fatal stroke.“This case called new attention to the need for revisionsin emergency room procedures at the Veterans AffairsHospital,” says Silver.

The firm has also taken on cases against large companieswhose shortcuts have produced dangerous accidents. InFebruary 2010, a powerful explosion at the MiddletownKleen Energy power plant killed five workers and injuredmany more. Slager represents the widow of one of theworkers killed in the blast in a suit against the plant’sowners. The client is a woman with tremendous needs:In addition to now being the sole caregiver of a 6-year-olddaughter, she also is on disability due to a debilitatingmedical condition that requires expensive medical care,and she faces the prospect of losing her husband’shealth insurance benefits. Slager has brought the case toresolution. “It certainly can never fill the gaping hole leftin her life,” he says. “But, finally, the devastating financialpressure she and her young daughter have been under willbe alleviated.”

“All of our attorneys are focused on making sure ourclients get the same kind of representation that thelargest companies have,” says Slager. “It’s enormouslyrewarding to be a part of something that’s going tomake a difference.”

Picking Their Battles