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Stephen J. Fitzgerald

Partner

Steve Fitzgerald 2020

Biography

Stephen Fitzgerald represents individuals in employment and personal injury matters in Connecticut’s state and federal courts.  He also represents railroad workers in courts throughout the country.  Steve has won several multi-million dollar jury verdicts for his clients. His peers have ranked him as a Connecticut Super Lawyer since 2011, as the Super Lawyer Employment Lawyer of the Year for 2012, and he has been named Best Lawyer of the Year for Labor & Employment Litigation in the New Haven area by Best Lawyers in America in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021.

Steve’s employment practice involves the representation of a wide range of workers including physicians, executives, sales staff, academics, financial services and others.  He has handled countless litigations and negotiations involving claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of contract and retaliation.  He has enjoyed significant success on behalf of physicians, scientists and others who have been retaliated against for blowing the whistle on employers engaged in unsafe practices.  A significant portion of his practice is representing railroad workers who have been injured on the job or retaliated against. He has achieved courtroom victories and several favorable settlements on behalf of railroad workers who have been retaliated against and disciplined for speaking out about safety issues in violation of the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA). Steve also handles personal injury claims from passengers involved in train accidents.

Steve is an accomplished trial advocate, having served as lead counsel on over 40 jury trials. Before joining Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 2001, he served for over ten years as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he rose to the rank of Supervising Attorney. Steve has also taught Trial Practice at both Fordham Law School and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Steve prides himself on the personal attention he gives to each one of his clients, including those who have been injured.

Steve is admitted to practice in the state courts of Connecticut and New York, as well as in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States District Courts for the District of Connecticut, the Southern District of New York, and the Eastern District of New York. He is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the New Haven County Bar Association, and the New Haven Inn of Court, and has published in the Connecticut Law Tribune. He graduated from Boston College and Fordham University School of Law.

An active participant in his community, Stephen Fitzgerald chairs the North Haven Open Space Committee for the preservation of public property, sits on the board of the North Haven Trail Committee, and has coached each of his three daughters’ softball teams. He was born and raised in Stamford, CT.

Representative Matters

  • McClain v. Pfizer (2012)
    Becky McClain was disciplined and discharged after speaking out about dangerous conditions at Pfizer’s Groton, CT laboratory. Following trial, the jury awarded her damages totaling nearly $2 million. The case received extensive media coverage, including in the New York Times. The Second Circuit affirmed the verdict on appeal.
  • Won $1.8 million jury verdict for cardiothoracic surgeon in breach of contract action against his former employer, Hartford Healthcare Medical Group
  • Nelson v. Tradewind Aviation (2011)
    When Jeffrey Nelson’s job offer was mysteriously revoked, he realized that his former employer, Tradewind Aviation, had defamed him, insinuating without any proof that he had used illegal drugs. At trial, the jury accepted evidence that Tradewind had lied to avoid paying Mr. Nelson unemployment benefits, and it took only two hours to award Mr. Nelson $307,000 in damages. The Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the verdict on appeal. See 155 Conn. App. 519 (2015). We persuaded the Connecticut Supreme Court not to accept the defendant’s petition for certification. See 316 Conn. 918 (2015).
  • Nano v. Competitive Technologies (2011)
    Secured a $775,000 arbitration award for the former CEO of a medical technology company on his breach of contract claim.
  • Schumann v. Dianon Systems, 2009 WL 3838914 (Conn. Super. 2009)
    When Dianon Systems changed its test to detect kidney and lower urinary tract disorders, experienced pathologist Berry Schumann told his employer that he thought the new test could endanger patients. In response, he was discharged. A jury awarded Dr. Schumann over $4 million in damages. The jury’s verdict was ultimately vacated by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
  • Rosenfield, et al. v. Yale University (2004)
    Dr. Rosenfield was disciplined and demoted because of his patient care advocacy. After a seven-week trial, a jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages, eventually totaling approximately $6.3 million.
  • United States v. Matthew Bowden (2003)
    Achieved acquittal following a jury trial of an individual charged with participating in a twenty-person conspiracy.
  • Obtained settlement of $625,000 on behalf of railroad passenger whose leg was broken as a result of negligence by conductors on commuter railroad.
  • Obtained settlement of $300,000 on behalf of railroad worker who required total knee replacement as a result of negligence by railroad-employer.
  • Obtained settlement of $300,000 on behalf of railroad passenger who injured her back when the train she was riding on collided with a truck negligently left on railroad tracks.
  • Obtained settlement of $750,000 on behalf of a physician who spoke out about unsafe practices at his employer-hospital.

Representative Speaking Engagements

  • Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association: 2012 Employment Law Seminar (Topic: Trial Themes and Strategies)
  • National Employment Lawyers Association: 2011 Annual Convention (Topic: Charting the Future of Employee Rights Advocacy)
  • Sexual Harassment Training for Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Trust (annually since 2009)
  • National Employment Lawyers Association: 2009 Annual Convention (Topic: Opening Statements)

Client Experiences

I had gone my entire life and never needed legal counsel before. Then I found myself twice within a few short years period experiencing two very different and unrelated, but very stressful and challenging circumstances requiring expertise. I did not know whom to turn to for help for the first circumstance, especially as it involved my place of employment. But Stephen Fitzgerald and his firm came highly recommended and it was the best decision I could have made. It was also why I turned to Stephen again years later for a personal injury I had suffered. Stephen is incredibly knowledgeable and thorough, provided expert advice and guidance, and displayed a genuine sensitivity to me each time with both of my cases. Any questions or concerns I had at any time were always quickly answered. I found Stephen Fitzgerald to be a truly fair, honest, and ethical lawyer. He provided the voice I needed in my first case, which was a very delicate one. And he was the creative solution finder I needed in my second case, one which very few lawyers would have taken. I was particularly struck by his compassion, since as the latter case unfolded it offered no financial benefit to Stephen whose only concern was that I was compensated. I have the highest regard for Stephen Fitzgerald and wholeheartedly recommend him. — L.B.

I was referred to Attorney Stephen Fitzgerald for a labor dispute by another attorney that had a conflict of interest with my case. I could not have been better represented. Attorney Fitzgerald reviewed my case and was very upfront, clear and concise about what to expect every step of the way. I would highly recommend Stephen Fitzgerald for any labor dispute. — B.S.

You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

If you need an employment lawyer, go no further! After spending three long years with another firm who did not have our best interests in mind, we were so fortunate to find Steve Fitzgerald. It was such a relief after we started working with Steve to feel like we finally had someone on our side! Steve knows the law and is very intelligent, professional, compassionate, and diligent— everything you need when your world seems turned upside down by the decisions and actions of your employer! Steve genuinely cares about his clients and never made me feel like a nuisance. My only regret is that we didn’t find him first and save those awful first three years with another lawyer. Don’t make the same mistake— if you believe in your case and that you were wronged, you will not regret making a call to Steve! — P.L., Plainville, CT

As a police officer facing a complex employment situation, I needed the best. And that is exactly what I got. I have no doubt that Steve Fitzgerald’s reputation, experience and legal skill was responsible for brokering an incredibly favorable resolution to my problem. I spent little time worrying about the outcome, as it was clear from the onset of his involvement that Iwas in good hands. I would recommend to any publicservant faced with similar employment predicaments that they look to Steve and his firm for assistance. — E.S., Wethersfield, CT

My legal battle was one of the hardest and most emotional situations I have ever been in. Throughout the process, Steve Fitzgerald went above and beyond the call of duty to resolve the matter as fairly as possible. Steve’s patience and professionalism were impressive given the nature of the situation, but his sincere caring and concern was what really set him apart from most attorneys. Steve is truly an anomaly, and I will be forever grateful to him. I highly recommend him and his law firm for anyone in need of a wrongful discharge, employee rights, or workplace discrimination attorney. — V.C., Bridgeport, CT

Steve Fitzgerald was the best lawyer our family could have asked for. A consummate professional who was always available to answer our questions and who always took time to explain the very complicated legal matters of our civil case to us, he was the rock our family leaned on during a very difficult time in our lives, and we will be forever grateful for his dedication and service. I give him my full endorsement. —A.S., Philadelphia, PA

Steve Fitzgerald provided superb legal representation and client education. I was fortunate to have an experienced advocate successfully represent my interests. — D.C., Orange, CT

Having never needed legal counsel before, and experiencing very stressful circumstances at my job, I did not know who to turn to for help. But Steve Fitzgerald and his firm came highly recommended and it was the best decision I could have made. Steve is incredibly knowledgeable and thorough, provided expert advice and guidance, and displayed a genuine sensitivity to me and my case throughout the entire process. Any questions or concerns I had at any time were always quickly answered. I found Steve to be a truly fair, honest, and ethical lawyer who provided the voice I needed. I have the highest regard for Steve and wholeheartedly recommend him. — L.B., Milford, CT

Blog Posts

News

October 16th, 2020 Five Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partners Selected to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide For 2020

October 12th, 2020 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Partners Named 2020 Connecticut Super Lawyers

August 20th, 2020 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Partners Named to Best Lawyers in America for 2021

November 12th, 2019 Partners Stephen Fitzgerald, Joshua Goodbaum Obtain a Jury Verdict of $1.8 Million for Their Client in Breach of Contract Claim

November 1st, 2019 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. ranked in 2020 “Best Law Firms”

October 24th, 2019 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Attorneys Named 2019 Super Lawyers

August 15th, 2019 Nina T. Pirrotti Named Best Lawyers 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law – Individuals

April 24th, 2019 Four Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partners Selected to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide for 2019

October 18th, 2018 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Attorneys Named 2018 Super Lawyers

August 22nd, 2018 Partners Joseph Garrison and Stephen Fitzgerald Selected to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide

August 15th, 2018 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Partners Named 2019 Best Lawyers in America

November 10th, 2017 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Turns 40

November 1st, 2017 Garrison, Levin-Epstein Receives “Best Law Firm” Honors From U.S. News & World Report

October 27th, 2017 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Lawyers Recognized for Their Work

August 21st, 2017 Conn. Supreme Court Boosts Overtime Pay, Strikes ‘Fluctuating’ Workweek Rule

April 21st, 2017 Stephen Fitzgerald wins First Circuit Appeal, Confirming Maximium Punitive Damages Award for Railroad Worker Subjected to Retaliation

August 16th, 2016 Stephen J. Fitzgerald Named 2017 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers

October 1st, 2015 Every Garrison, Levin-Epstein Lawyer Recognized by Super Lawyers

August 18th, 2015 Every Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partner Recognized by Best Lawyers in America

February 24th, 2015 Appellate Court Affirms Verdict for Garrison, Levin-Epstein Client in Defamation Case

October 27th, 2014 All Five Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partners Selected as Connecticut Super Lawyers (Once Again)

September 8th, 2014 Four Partners Re-Elected to Best Lawyers, Including Two “Lawyers of the Year”

April 2nd, 2010 Jury Awards Former Pfizer Scientist $1.37 Million

April 2nd, 2010 A Pfizer Whistle-Blower Is Awarded $1.4 Million

April 2nd, 2010 Scientist Wins Whistle-Blower Suit Vs. Pfizer

Steve Fitzgerald 2020

Steve Fitzgerald represents individuals in employment and personal injury matters in Connecticut’s state and federal courts.

Best Lawyers Award Badge Best Lawyers Award Badge 9.1Stephen John Fitzgerald Super Lawyers - 5 Years lawdragon-500 lawdragon-500 lawdragon-500 National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) New Haven County Bar Association
Client Experiences

During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

Ethan Levin-Epstein represented me during a most painful and challenging crisis in my personal and professional life. Seeing me within 24 hours of being referred, his support and advocacy, wisdom and clarity not only resulted in a favorable negotiated outcome for me and for my family, but gave me peace of mind and the courage to recover. I am very grateful to have met Ethan and his team and would refer anyone in need to this haven. — C.L., Guilford, CT

You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

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