Best's Insurance Professionals and Claims Resource

Your Online Portal for Claims Industry Information

Best's Insurance Professionals and Claims Resource

Your Online Portal for Claims Industry Information



Best's Recommended Insurance Attorneys

General Defense


438 Main Street, Tenth Floor, Buffalo, New York 14202

Established: 1896

Practice Areas

  • Insurance Defense
  • Trial Practice
  • Fire
  • Casualty
  • Life Insurance
  • Accident and Health
  • Malpractice
  • Insurance Law
  • Product Liability
  • Workers' Compensation

Cases Gone to Trial : 310

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Additional Locations

  • Cheektowaga, New York
  • 2448 Union Road
  • Cheektowaga, New York 14227
    • Telephone: 716-608-7664

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Client Information

Insurance Clients

Non-Insurance Clients

  • Chesterfield Services, Inc.
  • Diocese of Buffalo
  • Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA)
  • Town of Cheektowaga
  • Toys "R" Us, Inc.

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Personnel Information

Of Counsel


Michael F. Chelus — (Retired)

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Arthur A. Herdzik — (Retired)

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Members



Thomas J. Speyer

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 30

Admitted
  • New York, 1986
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 1987
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1991
Additional Biographical Details:

Classes/Seminars Taught: Adjunct Professor, University of Buffalo School of Law and Jurisprudence, Trial Technique Program

Memberships:
  • New York State and Erie County Bar Associations
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
Publications:
  • Author: "Federal Preemption of Vehicle and Traffic Law §388...and the Questions Remaining," Erie County Bar Journal, November 2005
Education:
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1982
  • Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1985

Born: 1960

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Rebecca E. Monte

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 30

Admitted
  • Virginia, 1985
  • New York, 1986
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1991
  • U.S. Federal Court
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
Additional Biographical Details:

Fourth Judicial Department, Law Guardian Panel; Stewart Title Examing Counsel, Chicago Title Insurance Company; Classes/Seminars Taught: Speaker, "Elder Law Practice Post DRA," Erie Institute of Law, 2008; Course Book Contributor and Speaker, "Practicing Elder Law - Now that the Dust of the DRA has Settled," 2009; Speaker, "Practical Skills - Basic Elder Law Practice," New York State Bar Association CLE, 2009; Speaker, New York State Bar Association sponsored "Annual Decision-Making Day," 2005, 2006, 2010; Course Book Contributor and Speaker, "Elder Law and Middle Class Clients," Erie Institute of Law, 2004; Course Book Contributor and Speaker, "Estate Planning and Taxation," National Business Institute, 1995

Memberships:
  • New York State and Erie County Bar Associations
  • Annual Glaucoma Symposium (Member, Board of Directors)
  • Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors, Chair)
Education:
  • Rochester Institute of Technology, B.A., 1982
  • Washington and Lee University, J.D., 1985

Born: 1960

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Thomas P. Kawalec

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 18

Admitted
  • New York, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 2001
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2006
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2013
Additional Biographical Details:

Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce; Charles Desmond Inns of Court (Director)

Memberships:
  • American, New York State and Erie County Bar Association
  • Western New York Defense Trial Lawyers Association (Treasurer)
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
Publications:
  • Author: Chapter 29 - "Fire Insurance and Property Insurance," in Insurance Law Practice, Second Edition, published by the New York State Bar Association, 2006
Education:
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1995
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D., 1998
Language:
  • Polish

Born: 1970

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Kevin E. Loftus, Jr.

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 14

Admitted
  • New York, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Additional Biographical Details:

Town of Lancaster Prosecutor 2013-2015; Town of Lancaster Town Attorney 2016-Present

Memberships:
  • New York State and Erie County (Negligence Committee, Young Lawyers Committee; Municipal Law Committee) Bar Associations
  • Defense Trial Lawyers of Western New York
  • Buffalo Claims Association
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association
Publications:
  • Co-Authored: "Not for the Faint of Heart: Additional Personal Injury Protection (APIP) Benefits," New York State Bar Association Journal, Volume 78, 2006
  • "Conducting an Effective Cross-Examination in New York," Lorman Education Services, June, 2007
Education:
  • Canisius College, B.A., 1998
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D., 2002

Born: 1976

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Michael J. Chmiel

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 16

Admitted
  • New York, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 2002
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 2003
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2005
Additional Biographical Details:

Classes/Seminars Taught: "New Developments in Personal Injury Litigation - Healthcare Insurers' Right of Subrogation and Medicare Repayment Issues," for the Erie Institute of Law (Erie County Bar Association), May 26, 2010; Amherst Democratic Committee

Memberships:
  • New York State and Erie County (Civil Litigation and Criminal Law Committee) Bar Associations
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association
  • Defense Trial Lawyers Association
  • UB Law Alumni Association
Education:
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1995
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D. (cum laude), 1999

Born: 1972

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Michael M. Chelus

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 12

Admitted
  • New York, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2011
Additional Biographical Details:

Orchard Park High School Academy of Finance Advisory Board; Adjunct Professor, Bryant & Stratton College

Memberships:
  • American, New York State and Erie County Bar Associations
  • Defense Trial Lawyers Association
  • Penn State Alumni Association (Alumni Recruitment Volunteer; Secretary, Western New York Chapter)
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association
Publications:
  • Author: Chapter 19, "Exceeding the No-Fault Threshold: Serious Injury," Insurance Law Practice, Second Edition, 2006
Education:
  • The Pennsylvania State University, B.S., 2000
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D., 2003
Language:
  • Italian

Born: 1978

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Associates



Katy M. Hedges

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 10

Admitted
  • New York, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 2008
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York, 2009
Memberships:
  • New York State and Erie County Bar Associations
  • Western New York Defense Trial Lawyers Association
  • Women's Bar Association of the State of New York
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association
Education:
  • The University of Western Ontario, B.H.Sc., 2002
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D., 2005

Born: 1980

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Katie L. Renda

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 4

Admitted
  • New York, 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 2013
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2015
Memberships:
  • New York State and Erie County Bar Associations
Education:
  • Niagara University, B.A. (Dean's List), 2003
  • University at Buffalo, J.D., 2011

Born: 1981

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Nicholas M. Hriczko

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 2

Admitted
  • New York, 2014
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York, 2016
Memberships:
  • New York State (Elder Law Committee, Federal Practice Committee) and Erie County Bar Associations
  • Charles S. Desmond Inn of Court
  • Defense Trial Lawyers Association of Western New York
Education:
  • University at Buffalo, B.A. (cum laude), 2010
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D. (cum laude), 2013

Born: 1988

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Eric W. Marriott

Buffalo, NY

Admitted
  • New York, 2017
Memberships:
  • American and Erie County Bar Associations
Education:
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A. (magna cum laude), 2012
  • William & Mary School of Law, J.D., 2016
Language:
  • Spanish

Born: 1992

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Jonathan A. Emdin

Buffalo, NY

Years of Experience: 1

Admitted
  • New York, 2017
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 2018
Memberships:
  • New York State Bar Association
Education:
  • John Jay College, B.A. (Dean's List), 2010
  • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, J.D., 2015

Born: 1988

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Benjamin M. Jackson

Buffalo, NY

Admitted
  • New York, 2019
Education:
  • University at Buffalo, B.A., 2014
  • Duquesne University School of Law, J.D. (magna cum laude), 2018

Born: 1992

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