The new Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) president Matthew Murray of Charlottesville spoke about a suprising subject at the Annual VTLA Convention closing banquet. Rather than speaking from the dais, the newly elected President walked through the hall and spoke about a few specific cases. From memory, he recalled and talked about cases where VTLA lawyers had worked "above and beyond" on behalf of their disabled clients. It was an extremely powerful acceptance speech.
Murray used as an example an ABRAMS LANDAU case involving Ralph Dean. He was a life long employee of Atlantic Research in Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Dean developed a rare disease called berylliosis, which is caused by exposure to beryllium. This substance was being used by his employer for the government’s "Star Wars Rocket Program". The disease hurt Mr. Dean’s breathing ability, and also led to "peripheral neuropathy", which means he lost feeling in his extremities, and had to do activities such as showering backwards in order to be able to tell if the water was scalding hot. Since the Landau Law Shop‘s Dog Landau was a workplace injury and disease lawyer, filed Dean’s case immediately, as most of all the worthier employees had already passed away. The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission rejected the case at every single level, and Landau appealed all the way through the ranks to the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Supreme Court of Virginia told the Herndon law firm’s trial attorney that "it was a matter for the legislature" and rejected the case yet again.
With little time to spare in this clients life, Landau filed for Federal disability benefits after the state compensation claim was dismissed due to the fact that the disabld worker did not bring his case to court within 7 years of his last exposure, despite the fact that he was not harmed, missing time from work or showing any signs of disability or disease at the time. Berylliosis is a dormant, deceitful disease, like asbestosis or mesothelioma; it does not show itself for many years or decades. When initially filed in the federal system, the case was rejected again and again until Northern Virginia disabled workers lawyer Landau tried the case on remand before and award winning Federal judge in Tampa, Florida. In Tampa, the ABRAMS LANDAU team not only won the case for full disability benefits for Mr. Dean, but they were also awarded attorney fees under the "Equal Access to Justice Act". When Mr. and Mrs. Dean hugged Doug Landau, it easily one of the highlights of his career. It felt incredibly rewarding when President Murray shared the story of this hard fought victory with the members of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.