HarrisMartin's Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference Speaker Profiles



Co-Chair Amy E. Garrett, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, Alton, IL Show/Hide Bio

Co-Chair Amy E. Garrett

Shareholder Amy Garrett brings more than 22 years of litigation experience to her leadership role as Assistant Managing Shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy. She has developed a fierce reputation for protecting the rights of her asbestos and complex litigation clients both in and out of the courtroom.

Co-Chair Brenda G. Baum, HeplerBroom LLC, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Co-Chair Brenda G. Baum

Brenda G. Baum focuses her practice on mass tort lawsuits involving products liability. Since 2001, she has represented both product manufacturers and premises defendants in thousands of cases pending in some of the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions in Illinois and Missouri, in addition to overseeing cases filed in other plaintiff-oriented jurisdictions such as California, Louisiana, and others.

Hon. Andrew J. Gleeson, Chief Judge, Illinois 20th Judicial Circuit Court, St. Clair County, Belleville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Hon. Andrew J. Gleeson

Andrew J. Gleeson is the Chief Judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit for the State of Illinois which comprises Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties. Judge Gleeson presides over major civil jury and bench trials. He has presided over complex jury trials in the major Civil Division for eight years.

Gleeson was nominated and elected to the position of Chief Judge by his fellow judges in 2016. As Chief Judge Gleeson is responsible for the general administration of the 20th Judicial Circuit Court, which includes assigning cases and creating specialized divisions within the Circuit.

Hon. Mark A. Beatty, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis, MO

Hon. Ellen Sue Levy, Missouri 21st Judicial Circuit, St. Louis County, St. Louis Show/Hide Bio

Ellen Sue Levy was appointed circuit judge in January, 2008 by Gov. Matt Blunt and retained by St. Louis County voters in 2010 and 2016. Judge Levy was appointed associate circuit judge in 2002 by Gov. Bob Holden, and retained by voters in 2004. She served as a Family Court commissioner from 1999 to 2002.

Hon. Stephen Stobbs, Associate Judge, Illinois Circuit Court, Madison County, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Hon. Stephen Stobbs

Judge Steve Stobbs was born and raised in Godfrey and is a life long resident of Madison County. The Stobbs family has lived in the Alton area since the 1840’s. He earned his undergraduate degree from St. Louis University, graduating with honors in 1990 and his Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, graduating with honors in 1994.

Alemayehu A. Ayanaw, HeplerBroom LLC, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Alemayehu A. Ayanaw

Alemayehu A. Ayanaw focuses his practice on trials involving complex business litigation matters, including asbestos, toxic torts, premises liability, and product liability.

Matthew J. Adair, Cooney & Conway, Chicago Show/Hide Bio

Matthew J. Adair

After receiving his B.A. from Northwestern University in 2006, Mr. Adair graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2009. Mr. Adair joined Cooney & Conway, LLP. as a law clerk in 2007 and returned to the firm as an associate in the spring of 2011. Prior to rejoining the firm, Mr. Adair served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Terrence J. Lavin of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.

Keri Buchanan, Director of Information Technology, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, Alton, IL

Keri Buchanan

Vincenzo R. Chimera, Sinars Slowikowski Tomaska, Chicago Show/Hide Bio

Vincenzo R. Chimera

Vincenzo R. Chimera is an associate with Sinars Slowikowski Tomaska. He concentrates his practice on product liability, toxic torts, and occupational injury claims, including asbestos litigation. Mr. Chimera has a demonstrated record of success in defense of his clients. He has skillfully taken numerous plaintiffs’ depositions in asbestos and toxic tort cases, regularly conducting lead examinations, and cross-examined opposing expert witnesses. His experience extends to briefing and oral argument on complex state and federal constitutional issues including the Special Legislation Clause of the Illinois constitution, vested due process rights, and objections to personal jurisdiction. Mr. Chimera also has significant experience in appellate practice, where his efforts have led to successful defense of matters in the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the Illinois First District Appellate Court.

Casey Cira, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, Alton, IL Show/Hide Bio

Casey Cira

Attorney Casey Cira is an associate at Simmons Hanly Conroy where she focuses her practice on helping victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Located in the Alton, Illinois office, Casey works with a team of attorneys to give clients a voice against corporations who prioritized profits over individuals’ health and safety.

Clarissa Gaff, Executive Director, Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, Inc., Alton, IL Show/Hide Bio

Clarissa Gaff

Clarissa Gaff is the newly appointed Executive Director of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid (formerly Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation). Clarissa has been on staff at LOLLA for 12 years and served as the Managing Attorney of the Western Regional Office for four of those years.

Jason B. Epps, The Gori Law Firm, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Jason B. Epps

Jason B. Epps graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Mr. Epps went on to graduate from Southern Illinois University School of Law, with honors. While at law school, he received Cali Excellence Awards in Real Property II and Workers’ Compensation. Mr. Epps was also a member of the Moot Court Board and participated in national moot court competitions.

Ted N. Gianaris, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC & Board of Directors Member, Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, Inc., Alton, IL Show/Hide Bio

Ted N. Gianaris

Ted N. Gianaris is a shareholder and member of the leadership team at Simmons Hanly Conroy, as well as co-chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He represents victims of toxic exposures including mesothelioma, chemical exposures, asbestos exposure and catastrophic injuries.

Catherine E. Goldhaber, Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP, Chicago Show/Hide Bio

Catherine E. Goldhaber

Catherine Goldhaber is partner-in-charge of the Chicago office of Hawkins Parnell & Young and a member of HPY’s Executive Committee. She opened HPY Chicago in 2017, building on twenty years as a litigator both in private practice and as an Assistant State’s Attorney. Catherine defends claims related to product liability, exposure to toxic substances, and transportation-related injuries. She also litigates commercial issues such as contract disputes and as related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

George A. Kiser, HeplerBroom LLC, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

George A. Kiser

George A. Kiser focuses his practice on trials involving toxic tort litigation, including asbestos and silica cases. He handles asbestos cases pending in Madison and Cook Counties in Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri, and outlying Illinois counties. He has coordinated and negotiated settlement of asbestos cases, prepared and argued trial motions, and acted as trial counsel in asbestos trials, as well as having oversight and management responsibility for hundreds of asbestos cases.

Anna M. Kohut, Foley & Mansfield, St. Louis Show/Hide Bio

Anna M. Kohut

Anna M. Kohut is a Partner in the St. Louis office of Foley & Mansfield, where she focuses her practice in toxic and mass tort and product liability litigation with an emphasis on asbestos defense.

Jim Kramer, Simmons Hanly Conroy, New York Show/Hide Bio

Jim Kramer

Attorney Jim Kramer is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy. He joined the firm in 2017 an accomplished trial attorney, having secured more than $35 million in verdicts for his clients. Jim focuses his practice on complex toxic tort litigation with a specialization in mesothelioma- and asbestos-related cases. His responsibilities include managing cases from inception through trial.

Kelly M. Libbra, HeplerBroom, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Kelly M. Libbra

Kelly M. Libbra focuses her practice on trials involving complex business litigation matters, including toxic torts, premises liability, and product liability. She represents clients in Illinois and Missouri.

Allyson Romani, Shrader & Associates L.L.P., Houston Show/Hide Bio

Allyson Romani

Allyson Romani is a long-time practitioner of plaintiff's litigation. Before pursuing law, Allyson worked as a marketing director for a large engineering firm. This experience has taught her how to best appeal to a wide audience, which is a valuable asset when convincing a court that her clients were victims of serious mistreatment.

Haley E. Moody, Miller & Martin, Chattanooga, TN Show/Hide Bio

Haley E. Moody

Haley Moody concentrates her practice within the firm’s Litigation Department. She handles matters involving product liability, commercial contract disputes, personal injury claims and insurance coverage issues for companies across many industries including life sciences, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, construction, and insurance. The practical knowledge she has developed, complemented by her inherent emphasis on collaboration to reach client goals, adds value to her client relationships and makes her a strong contributor to the cases in which she is involved. Serving healthcare consumer product manufacturers in the Life Sciences industry, Haley has significant experience managing hundreds of ongoing product liability defense cases throughout the country. She is responsible for coordinating with local counsel nationwide and managing all aspects of the litigation process, from overseeing e-discovery efforts, to taking and defending depositions, to directing and preparing motions and filings.

Gregory Joseph Sandifer, The Gori Law Firm, Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Gregory Joseph Sandifer

Gregory Sandifer graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and received his law degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California. After moving back to his hometown, Greg enjoyed more than four years of experience as a trial attorney for the Office of the Circuit Attorney for the City of Saint Louis prior to beginning his career at The Gori Law Firm. He worked up and took part in over fifty jury trials while a prosecutor. That priceless experience assists him on a daily basis as he prepares mesothelioma cases for trial. Greg enjoys working one on one with the victim and family of the victims of mesothelioma on a regular basis, pursuing justice.

Margaret Samadi, Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, LLC, St. Louis Show/Hide Bio

Margaret Samadi

She fights zealously for the rights of individuals who have been affected by this deadly disease. Margaret focuses her practice on appellate and motion practice, intensive discovery strategy and legal research and writing.

Michael Schag, Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C., Edwardsville, IL Show/Hide Bio

Michael Schag

Mike is an innovative trial and appellate lawyer, as well as an accomplished business leader. He is lead counsel in business and toxic tort litigation involving products liability, manufacturing, construction, design, engineering, distribution, transportation, aviation, premises ownership, government and regulatory compliance. In addition, he facilitates commercial transactions. Mike is an Assistant State's Attorney for Madison County, Illinois, handling the defense of civil actions against governmental entities. He is the co-chair of the Toxic Tort & Asbestos practice group, and in addition chairs practice groups in Government Contracts and Military Law.

Paige Tungate, Downey Law Group LLC, St. Louis Show/Hide Bio

Paige Tungate

From birth, Paige Tungate was destined to be a legal ethics lawyer. Both Paige’s parents are attorneys. Her mother was a prosecuting attorney and judge in southern Illinois, and her father runs a private law practice in Flora, Illinois.

Michael Brockland, SWMW Law, St. Louis Show/Hide Bio

Michael Brockland

Michael is one of our most experienced attorneys who handles all aspects of discovery and trial work for asbestos claims, and handles our firm’s business litigation cases. He has litigated a wide range of matters involving professional liability, legal malpractice, fiduciary liability, business and employment disputes, breach of contract, real property rights, the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, and personal injury. He has also represented individuals and businesses in matters concerning corporate governance and fiduciary obligations in closely-held businesses.

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