John Lipsitz and Michael Ponterio’s shared commitment to seeking justice for victims of the asbestos industry led them to form Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC in 1995. John Comerford joined the firm the same year as a law clerk and later became a partner. The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience representing clients who have been injuriously exposed to asbestos. 

John Lipsitz, Michael Ponterio and John Comerford have led the way in shaping asbestos law in New York State. Michael obtained the first personal injury jury verdict in an asbestos-related disease case in the State of New York while defending the plaintiff, an asbestos worker. The jury imposed punitive damages on the defendant asbestos manufacturer for its reckless disregard of the rights of the plaintiff (Racich v. Celotex Corporation). Two years later, Michael Ponterio and John Lipsitz obtained the first personal injury jury verdict in an asbestos-related personal injury case in Buffalo, New York. Again, the plaintiff was an asbestos worker, this time from the Union’s Buffalo local (Wolf v. Celotex Corporation). In November 2019, John Comerford obtained an $8 million verdict for a former Kodak worker diagnosed with mesothelioma, possibly the largest Monroe County asbestos verdict to date.

In the decades since Lipsitz & Ponterio was founded, our attorneys have recovered over a billion dollars on behalf of their clients diagnosed with mesothelioma.

For John Lipsitz, Michael Ponterio, and John Comerford, the connections to this cause are incredibly personal.

For generations, the Lipsitz family has been rooted in the labor movement. With a career spanning six decades, John’s father Richard Lipsitz, Sr. was the preeminent attorney representing the interests of labor unions and workers throughout Western New York. Seeing how honorable and well-respected their father was made following in his footsteps an easy decision for both his sons—although in different capacities. John’s brother has long occupied a leadership position in the local labor movement, and John, driven by his personal connection to the victims of asbestos exposure, chose to practice law.

For the Ponterio family, the link to asbestos-related law was established two generations ago. Both Michael’s father and grandfather dedicated portions of their lives to the Durez plant in North Tonawanda, a location connected to dozens of asbestos-related deaths. After his grandfather gave 37 years to the company, Michael’s father spent his days at the plant and his nights in law school. Once Michael witnessed, firsthand, the deadly impact asbestos exposure had on employees, he committed himself to finding justice for the victims.

Sadly, the effects of toxic industrial exposure have been felt across all of Western New York. Along with the firm’s connection to the Durez plant, the Love Canal disaster in Niagara Falls directly impacted the family of Lipsitz & Ponterio partner John Comerford. Not only did John’s uncle live in the neighborhood, but his father was a local physician tasked with treating many of the first victims of the industrial exposure associated with Love Canal. This experience instructed John’s choice to study Environmental Science at Cornell University and to seek a law degree.  Fortunately, John was able to use this unique—and challenging—experience to provide the perspective, tenacity, and drive that would help propel him from law clerk to partner in 2001.

To date, the firm is responsible for recovering over a billion dollars on behalf of their clients diagnosed with mesothelioma. And while their focus has been, first and foremost, justice for their clients, they continue to pursue a lasting legacy of both shaping asbestos law in New York State and protecting future generations from becoming victims of similar corporate negligence. Why Lipsitz & Ponterio?  We are rooted in the community.  We are compassionate.  We are committed. We are IN THE FIGHT WITH YOU.