Steve Zakrzewski is a Partner in the firm’s Tort & Product Liability, Professional Liability Defense, Employment Law, and Insurance practice groups.
Product liability litigation can be unique in requiring lawyers that are not only fluent in the law, but also in the science of their clients’ products. Mr. Zakrzewski works closely with his clients to understand their products and processes, and has consistently produced positive results through dispositive motions and mediations. He defends manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of a wide range of products:
- Life-saving medical devices;
- Orthopedic implants;
- Automotive products;
- Industrial machines;
- Component parts; and
- Construction products.
He has a deep knowledge of the Connecticut Product Liability Act, as well as Connecticut’s procedural rules, representing clients in both state and federal court. Mr. Zakrzewski also defends mass tort claims, including asbestos cases and, more recently, litigation regarding opioid medications. Additionally, he coordinates nationwide litigation defense strategies for clients facing cases in multiple jurisdictions, and cases on the federal multi-district litigation docket. This includes direction and management of dispositive motions, large e-discovery projects, deposition coordination, and settlement negotiations.
In professional liability cases, Mr. Zakrzewski represents condominium associations, real estate professionals, insurance professionals, and attorneys. He recognizes the paramount importance that these cases have in his clients’ lives and businesses, including and especially the potential impact on their professional reputations. He focuses on responsiveness, because client communication is crucial to developing strategies that meet the professionals’ objectives.
His approach regularly generates favorable outcomes for his clients, both in court and in mediation. Mr. Zakrzewski’s successful results include:
- Winning a special motion to dismiss on behalf of a member and officer of a community organization, including a right to recover fees and costs.
- Striking plaintiffs’ claims against their real estate attorney and disposing of their case in its entirety before any significant discovery had to be conducted.
- Defeating multiple motions to disqualify counsel after being retained to work for the attorneys facing motions to disqualify.
- Dismissal of claims for unfair business practices, unfair insurance practices, misrepresentation, and fraud against members of the mortgage industry.
- Summary judgment against unfair trade practice claims, breach of contract claims, and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims.
- Striking claims of breach of contract, fraud, and unfair trade practice claims against a construction professional.
Mr. Zakrzewski has successfully defended discrimination claims under Title VII, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as wage and hour claims, including cases pending in Superior Court, the District of Connecticut, and before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. He has won cases by dispositive motions, and has also reached many settlements for nuisance value, or less, after exposing and clearly articulating the weaknesses in the plaintiffs’ claims at a very early stage.
Outside of litigation, Mr. Zakrzewski also counsels clients regarding employment handbooks and practices, working hand-in-hand to tailor policies and programs that meet their needs. He also counsels clients on risk management in advance of employment decisions.
Mr. Zakrzewski was born and raised in Connecticut, where he was a scholarship student at the University of Connecticut as an undergraduate in the business program, and then in the law school. He worked his way through school in a broad range of jobs — as a mover, a cook, and a tennis coach, among others. He has also been involved in community and athletic organizations since high school.
Before joining Gordon & Rees, Mr. Zakrzewski worked as a civil litigator for a downtown Hartford firm. He defended insurers and policy-holders against actions under commercial general liability, employment practices, homeowners, motor vehicle, liquor liability, and real estate title insurance policies. He also litigated commercial disputes in both state and federal courts, and resolved cases through mediation and arbitration.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Connecticut Bar Association
Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association
American Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs – Executive Committee
Arts for Learning CT – Board of Directors
Wethersfield Historical Society – Board of Directors