News & Achievements
We are proud to announce that Kenneth Krajewski, Renata Kowalczuk, Donald B. Eppers, and Andrew Merrick were selected as Super Lawyers for 2016. Jessica Burgasser was selected as a Rising Star. Inclusion in Super Lawyers is based on a rigorous, multi-step selection process, which includes background and experience as well as peer review recommendation.
Jacquelyn (Jackie) Baumann, Administrative/Legal Assistant to one of the Managing Partners and the Senior Trial Attorney, has been employed with Brown & Kelly for 33 years.
Some of Jackie’s regular job duties include: preparing and processing Supreme and Federal Court documents and correspondence; providing assistance to attorneys for court appearances and depositions; organizing attorneys’ discovery and medical records; monitoring various legal websites; performing internet research including filing procedures; and serving as the legal events coordinator for extracurricular attorney activities. "I am always willing to help with any phase of a project in the office. Team work is vital and I feel we are an effective team."
Jackie is a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School and Bryant & Stratton College (Administrative/Legal Assistant Associate’s Degree). "I have always been drawn to the legal field,” Jackie says. “I feel a sense of pride and satisfaction when I know we have helped someone."
In her spare time, she likes to play general/music trivia with her husband, Bob; gardening; baking; reading/watching Jane Austin fiction; Adventure fiction and Adult Science fiction; and enjoys the company of people who have a good sense of humor and can make her laugh.
Fun Facts You May or May Not Know About Jackie:
1. My sister and I share a birthday but are 6 years apart in age.
2. I was named after Ms. America 1963, Jacquelyn Mayer.
3. I went to Bryant & Stratton with the intention of studying Travel and Tourism to become a travel agent, but changed my mind at the last minute.
4. A few of my favorite travel destinations have been: Hawaii, England, Jamaica, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Cayman Islands and will be traveling to Alaska in the near future.
5. Bucket List Item: A 2 week Viking River Cruise through Europe.
6. Favorite food: poutine. (French fries with gravy and cheese curds. Thank you Canada!!)
7. Favorite things about living in Buffalo are: summer festivals, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, the Transit Drive-In, and the fall colors.
8. Favorite cocktail: BBC/Havanas and Bananas at Margaritaville.
9. Favorite restaurant: P.F. Chang’s.
10. Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice
11. Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones (Hail Jon Snow, King of the North!!)
“Friends are like snowflakes…all different and all beautiful.” – Author Unknown“To be rich in family and friends is to be poor in nothing.” - A take on a Lilian Whiting quote
Donna Fial is the Office Coordinator at Brown & Kelly LLP. Donna has a diversified role in the office and no day is like any other. Her duties include (but are not limited to): overseeing the filing system, opening and closing files, reception coverage, filing documents with the various courts, making general deliveries, monitoring and ordering office and kitchen supplies, making copies and scanning documents as needed, assisting in the organization of medical records and providing assistance to the Controller/Office Manager.
“I’m an early bird, so I like to get in the office first thing in the morning, and get a heads up on the day.” Mrs. Fial says. “I don’t sit at my desk all day, and that is what I enjoy most about my job. Working as a team is important, and if you can help someone with a project, it truly makes for a better work environment.”
Donna graduated from Villa Maria High School with a Business/Office Studies Major.
In August of 2017, Mrs. Fial will be celebrating 35 years at Brown & Kelly. Mrs. Fial remembers, “I had no office or legal experience of any kind, and am grateful for the chance Brown & Kelly gave me.”
In her spare time, Mrs. Fial enjoys spending time going to antiques markets with her husband Mark, gardening, reading, and spoiling her dog Lucky.
Brown & Kelly is honored to have such a loyal employee as part of its firm, team and family. She is the epitome of dedication.
“10 Things” with Donna Fial:
1. If you could have any other profession than working in an office, what would it be? I love going to antique markets and gift shops, so I would love to own my own shop with lots of Kitschy Items
2. Pet? 1 dog Lucky (a mix breed Chihuahua/terrier from the Buffalo Animal Shelter)
3. Bucket List Wish? I’d love to get an RV and see the entire United States with my husband. No Thruways or expensive hotels, just the real sites and roads.
4. Favorite Place you’ve ever visited? Disney World
5. Worst subject in High School? Math
6. Favorite restaurant in Buffalo? La Bella Sicilia
7. Place you’d most like to visit? Germany (I would like to see what is called the Christkindlmarket- this is a shopping market held in Germany for the holiday season)
8. Favorite Food? French Fries & Gravy
9. Favorite thing about living in Buffalo? The People (we are truly the “City of Good Neighbors”
10. Least favorite thing about living in Buffalo? Shoveling Snow.
Brown & Kelly participated in the Lawyers for Learning Bowling Tournament May 19, 2016. The Men's team brought home the Male Team High Series win!!! They had a combined (2 game) score of 1428. Steve Parrish had the high game score of 207.
A special thank you to the participants: Sue Yerkey, Paul Yerkey, Dawn Lindner, Dominic Driscoll, Teresa Cleary, Paul Callahan, Bobbie Jo Keller, Jake Keller, Renata Kowalczuk, and Steve Parrish.
Renata Kowalczuk and Kristen Balbick Degnan are appearing in a weekly “Ask the Lawyer” radio spot on the Laura Daniels morning show on Mix 96 FM (96.1FM). The 2 minute spot is entitled “Family Matters with Brown & Kelly and Laura Daniels” and will run every Tuesday at approximately 8:45 a.m. Topics will include prenuptial agreements, planning for your children’s future, family heirlooms and inheritances, family business, divorce, child custody and support, pet custody, and many other family law oriented matters. Listeners will be able to submit questions on the Mix 96 website which Renata and Kristen can respond to.
Congratulations to Managing Partner Kenneth A. Krajewski on becoming Chair of the Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law (TICL) section of the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Krajewski has previously served as TICL’s Vice-Chair and Secretary.
On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Managing Partner Kenneth A, Krajewski attended the Annual Joint Dinner for the Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law (TICL) and Trial Lawyers sections of the New York State Bar Association. As Vice Chair of TICL, Mr. Krajewski presented the outgoing Chair, Mirna Santiago, with a plaque in recognition of her service to the organization.
Pictured left to right TICL Members: Mirna Santiago, Chair; Kenneth A. Krajewski, Vice Chair; Brendan Baynes, Treasurer; Gary Cusano, Annual Meeting Co-Chair; Leslie McMillan, Annual Meeting Co-Chair; and Rob Coughlin, Immediate Past Chair.
We are pleased to announce that Paul J. Callahan has joined Brown & Kelly as a partner.
We are pleased to announce that Kristen B. Degnan has been named a Partner.
After two years of planning, Brown & Kelly has officially moved to the Main Place Tower. We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the two people who engineered the move: Managing Partner Kenneth A. Krajewski and Senior Litigation and Trial Paralegal Rebecca Koenig.
We would like to point out that Ms. Koenig not only planned the move itself, she was our "Moving Czar". She coordinated our move with all vendors, both buildings and our attorneys and staff, and was the driving force in the design of the office. Her keen eye in creating a comfortable, yet businesslike, atmosphere is evident in this picture which depicts our waiting area. It is as comfortable as it looks.
Mentioned Attorney: Kenneth A. Krajewski
Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld almost $4 million in damages awarded to Elijah Turley by the United States District Court in Buffalo, as a result of his employment discrimination and harassment claims against his former employer, Arcelor-Mittal Steel.
Although the Court reduced the punitive damages portion of the judgment from $5 million to $2.6 million, it turned away almost every argument made by the defendants on appeal.
The court noted that Mr. Turley had "endured an extraordinary and steadily intensifying drumbeat of racial insults, intimidation, and degradation over a period of more than three years." The court noted that the employer's "meager investigations and nearly total lack of action failed to stop the escalating abuse; instead, managers often appeared to condone or even participate in part in the harassment."
While the court observed that few recorded cases had dealt with an "award of quite this magnitude" ($1.32 million) in damages for pain and suffering, the reason for this is that this level of harassment and mistreatment had never before been reported, and "the case before us appears to be unique."
Brown and Kelly, and trial counsel Donald B. Eppers, were honored to represent Mr. Turley in his efforts to obtain justice for what he endured.
We are proud to announce that Kenneth A. Krajewski, Renata Kowalczuk, Donald B. Eppers, Jessica J. Burgasser, Andrew D. Merrick and Paul Michael Hasset were selected as Super Lawyers 2014. Inclusion in Super Lawyers is based on a rigorous, multi-step selection process, which includes background and experience as well as peer review recommendation.
We are also pleased to announce that Kathleen Feroleto has been selected as a Rising Star to the Super Lawyers list for 2014. The selection as a Super Lawyer Rising Star is a great honor, not only because it recognizes outstanding achievement, but also because it is dependent upon the recommendation of peers. Less than 2.5% of lawyers in each state are named Rising Stars.
On June 12, 2014, in the case of Hamilton v. Miller et al., the New York State Court of Appeals addressed whether a plaintiff has to supply medical narrative reports diagnosing every condition or injury alleged in plaintiff’s bill of particulars prior to an independent medical examination. The Court answered in the negative.
In Hamilton, plaintiffs’ attorney alleged over fifty (50) injuries in the Bill of Particulars, including kidney damage, liver damage, eye damage, and neurological damage with related cognitive and behavior problems. The plaintiffs provided no medical evidence regarding most of the injuries and disclosed no medical diagnoses linking their injuries to the lead exposure. The only "evidence" they provided were their diagnoses of elevated lead levels (a lead level of 35 in one case and a lead level of 58 in the other).
Before conducting independent medical examinations under CPLR Section 3121, six defendant landlords moved pursuant to 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.17 to compel the plaintiffs to produce any medical reports diagnosing them with the injuries alleged in the Bill of Particulars, and causally relating those injuries to lead exposure. The Supreme Court agreed and ordered the plaintiffs to produce the disclosure to the independent medical examination as it would be fundamentally unfair and contrary to the spirit and intent of 22NYCRR202.17 to force defendants to conduct IMEs in a vacuum. The Fourth Department affirmed.
The New York State Court of Appeals reversed. The Court held that the trial level order imposed unduly burdensome obligations not contemplated by 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.17. The Court held the regulation requires only the disclosure of medical reports by medical providers who have previously treated or examined the party seeking recovery, whereas the disclosure sought by the defendants was akin to expert disclosure. For the plaintiff to succeed at trial, the plaintiff will likely need to retain an expert to review the medical records and render the type of causation opinion contemplated by the defendants. However, nothing in the language of 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.17 required a plaintiff to make such disclosure at this early stage in litigation, i.e., pre independent medical examination.
The Court of Appeals further indicated that the proper way to deal with issues regarding expert disclosure would be for defendants to ask the individual Judges to amend, or issue, scheduling orders requiring plaintiffs produce expert disclosure at an earlier date. Thus, defense counsel must request the Court order plaintiff to provide expert disclosure prior to the defense expert disclosure deadline, and in advice of 30 days before trial.
Brown & Kelly, LLP again participated in the Lawyers for Learning Bowling Tournament. The Lawyers for Learning program matches volunteers from the legal community to students in grades one through eight who are academically at risk and/or financially disadvantaged in order to improve their academic performance, build self-esteem, provide profession role-modeling and increase self-confidence. Kathleen T. Feroleto is a volunteer tutor with the program.
The combined efforts of bowlers Renata Kowalczuk, Managing Partner, and Rebecca Koenig, Litigation Paralegal and Administration and Personnel Manager, lead to them winning “The Worst Bowler” trophy for the evening. Dawn Lindner, the firm’s Litigation Medical Coordinator, coordinated our participation and school supplies donations, as well as bowling at the event. The other bowlers were: Kristen B. Degnan and Shea Kolar, Attorneys; Kristie Marshall, Paralegal; Laura Young, Bookkeeper; Teresa Cleary, Legal Assistant; and a few significant others.
Mentioned Attorney: Jessica J. Burgasser
On April 10, 2014, Kristen B. Degnan was invited to speak to a senior level class at D’Youville College on Workers Compensation Law. Her presentation was geared toward including the perspectives of both employers and employees. She also offered many useful tips to the class. Thank you Kristen for your volunteer spirit as I am sure the class also appreciated your insightful tips and the time you offered out of your busy schedule.
Attorneys Jessica Burgasser and Kathleen Feroleto traveled to a paper mill with our expert witness to perform a site inspection. Both attorneys put on their safety gear to prepare for an upcoming trial regarding an asbestos related matter.
November 13, 2013: Brown & Kelly remembers Julia Roberts, our dear friend and colleague, who passed away one year ago today. Julia was an integral part of the Brown & Kelly family and we continue to mourn her loss. We will forever remember Julia and reflect on her spirit, dedication and personality. We are proud to remember that Julia loved her job, her friends at Brown & Kelly, and her many many friends in the asbestos litigation community. We take comfort in knowing that she will never be replaced nor forgotten.
On June 12, 2012, a jury in the Western District Federal Court awarded plaintiff Elijah Turley a twenty-five million dollar ($25,000,000.00) verdict. The lawsuit was commenced on behalf of Elijah Turley against ArcelorMittal in 2006 for Hostile Work Environment and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Mr. Turley was represented by Donald B. Eppers and assisted by paralegal Rebecca E. Koenig of Brown & Kelly LLP.
The jury found a Hostile Work Environment existed along with Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. The plaintiff presented evidence of a work environment permeated by racial discrimination. Plaintiff argued the activities in question went beyond harassment and included such incidents as "KKK" graffiti repeatedly sprayed on the walls and a stuffed monkey with a noose around its neck hanging from the plaintiff’s vehicle.
Elijah Turley and his family are very pleased that justice was finally obtained. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the jury in this case.
Mentioned Attorney: Donald B. Eppers
Brown & Kelly has been awarded the Law Firm Commitment Award from the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Western New York for its strong commitment to providing pro bono legal assistance.
Kenneth A. Krajewski will serve as the Buffalo Chair for the New York State Bar Association's program "Law School for Insurance Professionals" to be held in Buffalo on September 28, 2011. He will also speak on current auto liability and coverage issues at the Program when given in Albany on September 23, 2011.
Kenneth A. Krajewski recently chaired the program "The Examination Before Trial - Honing Your Deposition Skills in Tort and Personal Injury Cases" sponsored by the New York State Bar Association.