Susan E. Van Gelder

Susan E. Van Gelder

Partner

Practice Groups

Susan Van Gelder concentrates her practice in the areas of toxic tort litigation, product liability litigation, and general litigation, maintaining a primary focus on defending complex asbestos cases. With nearly 15 years’ experience representing manufacturers of asbestos-containing equipment and component parts in lawsuits spanning the Northeast, Susan uses her deep well of practical knowledge of asbestos litigation to develop tailored defense strategies, ensure consistency in representation, and find expedited paths to resolution.

Susan has handled thousands of asbestos cases over the course of her career — hands-on experience that translates into relationships with the country’s foremost experts and a proven ability to find the right witnesses (oftentimes, decades after the initial exposure) to best defend her clients’ interests. One of the hallmarks of Susan’s proactive approach to asbestos litigation is her ability to isolate what works — or what doesn’t work — in a given matter and apply it, where appropriate, over time. Indeed, Susan builds cumulative defense strategies that ultimately help clients better anticipate legal costs and, where possible, avoid protracted litigation.  

In addition to asbestos litigation, Susan represents clients involved in exposure to silica, lead paint, and other toxic materials and substances. She also handles matters involving professional liability, municipal law, general negligence, and premises liability. She has extensive appellate experience, having successfully argued appeals before New York's intermediate Appellate Courts and the New York Court of Appeals. She has also successfully tried cases to verdict.

Susan writes about asbestos litigation for Goldberg Segalla's award-winning Asbestos Case Tracker, which was recently named to the ABA Journal's prestigious Blawg 100 and named the Best Litigation Blog for 2016 by the Expert Institute in its annual legal blog contest.   

Professional Affiliations
  • Defense Research Institute: Member, Women in the Law Committee; Professional Liability Expert Witness Chair, Steering Committee; Member, Lawyers' Professionalism and Ethics Committee; Member, Planning and Marketing Committees, Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar; Past Member, Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee (Annual Meeting Co-Chair, 2007 -2008, Seminar Planning Committee, 2007-2008; Publications/Newsletter Chair, 2008-2010) 
Honors
  • Business First Who's Who in Law (Civil Litigation)
  • Upstate New York Super Lawyers, 2013-2016; Top 25: 2016 Women Upstate New York Super Lawyers
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York
Education
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, J.D., 1997
  • State University of New York at Oswego, B.S., cum laude, 1994
Publications/Presentations
  • Co-Author, NYS Court of Appeals Makes Significant Duty-To-Warn Decision,” Business First, August 17, 2016
  • Co-Author, “Non-Traditional Asbestos Litigation: New Products and Industries in the Crosshairs,” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos, November 19, 2014
  • Co-Author, “Asbestos Litigation: Alive and Strong in 2014,” For the Defense, Defense Research Institute, April 2014
  • Co-Author, “Lung Disease From Microwave Popcorn Flavoring? Searching for Kernels of Truth in the Litigation ‘Maize,’” For the Defense, Defense Research Institute, November 2008
  • Co-Author, “Causation in Mold Cases: Pointers for Defending Exposure Claims,” Defense Research Institute’s Library Series Publication, Exploring Toxic Tort and Environmental Liability Claims, 2007 
  • Co-Author, ”The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York on Sovereign Immunity,” New York State Bar Association, Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section Journal, Summer 2006