Bill Vaslas is a trial lawyer with an extraordinary record of success defending physicians and healthcare institutions. Specializing in all phases of complex medical malpractice defense litigation and long-term care litigation, from inception through trial, Mr. Vaslas has been representing physicians in nearly every medical specialty in the courts of New York and New Jersey for more than 30 years.
An effective communicator, Mr. Vaslas possesses a thorough understanding of medicine and the ability to distill complex medical issues down to their core. Throughout his career, he has been successfully defending physicians and healthcare institutions against high-exposure multimillion-dollar claims. Testament to his reputation for excellence, Mr. Vaslas was selected by multiple defense firms to serve as lead trial counsel in litigation involving medical malpractice and pharmaceutical liability. He has also successfully represented physicians in disciplinary proceedings before the New York State Department of Health Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). In addition, Mr. Vaslas has defended a wide range of matters in the areas of general liability, products liability, toxic tort and commercial litigation.
Mr. Vaslas’ expertise has been recognized by his peers as well as the judiciary, physicians, healthcare institutions and insurance carriers. He has been asked to speak before judges and court administrators who preside over and manage medical malpractice cases in New York State. In addition, Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company has selected him to participate in presentations to physicians regarding medical malpractice risk reduction and the impact of litigation. A frequent CLE speaker, Mr. Vaslas has lectured to his peers in the area of medical defense litigation. He has discussed pretrial litigation from the defendant’s perspective and has spoken before the New York State Trial Lawyers on “Unique Aspects of a Medical Malpractice Trial” and "Medical Malpractice Litigation".
In 2019, Mr. Vaslas presented at the New York State Bar Association Seminar on Medical Malpractice Litigation. He also presented at the New York State Bar Association Webinar "Anatomy for Lawyers", focusing on the heart and circulatory system.
Mr. Vaslas has also been asked to share his insights and experience with a broad range of healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, hospital administrators and risk managers. He provides in-service presentations to nursing home and long-term care employees from the perspective of a litigator and trial attorney in an effort to optimize care and effectively reduce risk.
Each year since 2007, Mr. Vaslas has been named to the New York Super Lawyers list as a top medical malpractice defense attorney. Only 5 percent of lawyers in New York State are named to the Super Lawyers list for their high level of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Best Lawyers recently recognized Mr. Vaslas as the 2020 "Lawyer of the Year" for Medical Malpractice Law - Defense in New York City. Best Lawyers awards additional recognitions to lawyers with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region. Only one lawyer is recognized as "Lawyer of the Year" for each specialty and location.
A 1982 graduate of Rutgers University and a 1985 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Mr. Vaslas is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Third Circuit.
Richard Lepowsky heads the firm’s corporate practice. He is a talented attorney and negotiator who offers clients unique services generally not found in a medical malpractice defense litigation firm. Mr. Lepowsky has substantial experience with commercial transactions, corporate law, partnership agreements, employment contracts, complex real estate matters, trust and estate matters and regulatory issues.
After obtaining a B.S. with honors in economics from New York University in 1982, Mr. Lepowsky graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1985, where he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. He has been admitted to the bars of the State of New York and State of New Jersey since 1986.
Karen Hauss represents hospitals, nursing homes and physicians in all phases of medical malpractice litigation in state and federal courts. She represents physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers at state licensure inquiries, hearings and professional misconduct trials, and she also has extensive experience representing corporations and professional clients before governmental and quasi-governmental agencies, including the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Health, IPRO and the NASD. Additionally, Ms. Hauss presents educational and risk management seminars and programs for physicians, nurses, hospital staff and nursing home staff regarding risk identification, risk prevention and the defense of medical malpractice claims.
Prior to her career in medical malpractice defense litigation, Ms. Hauss worked for several years as a registered nurse, holding the positions of staff nurse, head nurse and clinical coordinator. She graduated from the State University of New York at Downstate Medical Center with a B.S.N., magna cum laude, in 1978, and from Brooklyn Law School in 1984. Ms. Hauss is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey and in the Supreme Court of the United States.
William F. Mastro is a skillful litigator who successfully defends clients in medical malpractice, negligence and catastrophic personal injury cases. Defending physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities in all phases of litigation and appellate practice, Mr. Mastro has obtained many favorable dispositions and settlements for the firm’s clients. He has also been asked to speak on various topics and issues pertaining to the NY Medical Indemnity Fund before judges and court administrators who handle cases involving healthcare issues. Mr Mastro's other areas of practice include the defense of claims in general liability, products liability and the representation of physicians in licensing and disciplinary matters.
In 2015, Mr. Mastro was named by New York Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star in the Metropolitan New York area. No more than 2.5% of the lawyers in New York are named to the Rising Stars list.
Mr. Mastro served on the board of directors of the Richmond County Bar Association and is a member of the New York State Bar Association, Brooklyn Bar Association, Columbian Lawyers Association and New York State Medical Defense Bar. He is a 1998 graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he received a B.A. in philosophy, and he obtained a law degree from New York Law School in 2002. Mr. Mastro is admitted to practice law in the state courts of New York and New Jersey, as well as the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey.
In addition to practicing law, Mr. Mastro is also a USA-certified Level 4 coach and volunteers his time coaching several youth travel ice hockey, baseball and softball teams in New York and New Jersey.
Kenneth M. Dalton has a proven track record of successfully defending physicians, licensed professionals, healthcare providers and general liability defendants in all phases of litigation, through trial and appellate review. An experienced trial attorney, he has written extensively in the field of civil litigation practice and has been published by West Publishing and the Practising Law Institute. Mr. Dalton has also presented continuing education programs to a variety of bar associations, professional healthcare organizations and insurance carriers on topics including civil procedure, trial practice and risk management.
Mr. Dalton is a past president and chairman of the board of the Defense Association of New York. He earned a B.A., magna cum laude, from Brooklyn College in 1976, and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1980. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Edward F. Humphries is a highly successful litigator with 30 years’ experience in handling medical malpractice and personal injury litigation. He has handled all phases of medical malpractice and personal injury litigation from inception through trial and appeal in both the state and federal courts. Mr. Humphries has successfully represented physicians, health care providers and other defendants at the trial of complex medical malpractice and personal injury cases in the States of New York and New Jersey. By applying an in-depth understanding of the standards of medical care and the impact of medical records on litigation, Mr. Humphries is able to identify alleged departures from the standard of care and successfully address the validity of such allegations before and during deposition and trial. Through a thorough investigation of complex claims, including identification of disclosed and undisclosed theories of liability, Mr. Humphries has been able to successfully defend claims of medical malpractice and general liability.
Mr. Humphries was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar in 1984, the New York State Bar in 1985 and both the Pennsylvania and Hawaii State Bars in 1990. He is admitted to practice in the federal courts of New York, New Jersey and Hawaii and the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Humphries is a member of the New York State, New Jersey State and Hawaii State Bar Associations. He has lectured to hospital personnel regarding the appropriate keeping of medical records. After graduating magna cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1981, he received a Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University, School of Law in 1984.
Jason Ginsberg focuses his practice on the defense of physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice actions, participating in all aspects of pretrial discovery. Mr. Ginsberg obtained a B.A. from Binghamton University in 2007 and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley law School in 2011. He is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.
Graig R. Avino focuses his practice in the area of medical malpractice, representing physicians, hospitals and nursing homes in both New York and New Jersey State Courts. During his career, Mr. Avino has also represented attorneys, insurance brokers, real estate appraisers and engineers in civil defense litigation. Prior to joining VLH, Mr. Avino worked for a medical malpractice defense firm in the New York metropolitan area.
Mr. Avino is admitted to practice law in States of New York and New Jersey and in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He obtained a B.A. in politics from Washington & Lee University in 2000 and earned a juris doctor from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University in 2004, where he served as a Comments Editor for the Penn State International Law Review.
Ian Nerlfi focuses his practice on the defense of physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice actions, participating in all aspects of pretrial discovery. Mr. Nerlfi obtained a B.A. from the University of Vermont in 2005 and a law degree from Albany Law School in 2009. He is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.
Matthew Ross joined the firm as an associate in 2023. The majority of Matthew’s practice is in the area of representing hospitals, individual physicians, nursing homes, and other medical personnel in all stages of litigation throughout complex medical malpractice actions in New York.
Prior to joining VLH, Matthew worked in criminal law as an assistant district attorney for Richmond County where he managed the prosecution of criminal misdemeanors and felonies across Staten Island.
Matthew graduated cum laude with his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Philosophy of Law from Brooklyn College in 2018. He received various scholarships and awards to go on and earn his juris doctor from New York Law School in 2021.
Khrystyna Sahin is an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York. In her practice, she focuses on all aspects of pre-trial discovery for defense of medical malpractice suits. Khrystyna earned her Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law where she was a recipient of Richardson Scholarship. Prior to joining Vaslas Lepowsky and Hauss LLP, Khrystyna gained invaluable experience in investigation, case management and litigation while working at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Kristen Scanlon focuses her practice on the defense of physicians, hospitals, and healthcare providers in medical malpractice actions in both New York and New Jersey courts. Kristen joined Vaslas Lepowsky & Hauss LLP with experience representing defendants in civil litigation involving personal injury, premises liability, and labor and construction law. Kristen graduated from Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2022, and was admitted to practice law in the states of New York and New Jersey. Kristen has worked with the Pace Women’s Justice Center Family Court Legal Program in which she represented survivors of domestic abuse, including drafting family offense, custody, and child and spousal support petitions. Prior to law school, Kristen graduated from Iona College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communication Studies.
Olena Sharvan is an internationally trained attorney. She joined Vaslas Lepowsky & Hauss LLP in March 2018. Ms. Sharvan focuses on the defense of medical practitioners and other health care providers in complex medical malpractice litigation, working on all phases of pretrial discovery.
Ms. Sharvan earned an M.A. in Law cum laude from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Ukraine) in 2010 and an LLM degree from New York University School of Law in 2014. She was one of nine LLM students to receive the prestigious Hauser Scholarship. Before coming to the United States, Ms. Sharvan practiced law in Ukraine and Poland. She is fluent in English, Ukrainian, Polish and Russian.
In addition to practicing law, Ms. Sharvan is interested in legal research and human rights advocacy. She has also authored numerous publications in both international and comparative law. Ms. Sharvan co-authored two legal reports: “The Crisis in Ukraine: Its Legal Dimensions” (2014); and “Human Rights on Occupied territory: Case of Crimea” (2015), which were released under the auspices of Razom, Inc. Both reports were presented and discussed in the United Nations, European Parliament, Council of Europe and various educational institutions in the United States and Europe.
Jay T. Weatherston focuses his practice on the defense of medical practitioners and healthcare providers in medical malpractice actions. Mr. Weatherston joined Vaslas, Lepowsky & Hauss, LLP as an experienced trial attorney with a diverse background and record of success representing both defendants and plaintiffs in civil litigation involving personal injury, premises liability, products liability, commercial litigation, complex civil litigation and environmental litigation; he also has trial experience with unblemished results as a criminal defense attorney and has advocated on behalf of clients in family law matters.
Mr. Weatherston earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, where he double majored in Criminology & Criminal Justice and Spanish Language & Literature. He earned his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. While in law school, he received various scholarships and awards, including a Book Award in Constitutional Law and recognition for oral argument in Appellate Advocacy. Following law school, Mr. Weatherston served as law clerk to the Hon. Marilyn C. Clark, P.J.Cr.
Mr. Weatherston is fluent in Spanish and proficient in several other foreign languages. In addition to his practice, he volunteers as an attorney-coach for his high school’s mock trial team.
Michael Present is a member of the firm’s corporate and real estate departments. Mr. Present advises start-up and established private investment funds, investment advisors and broker dealer firms in connection with their formation, management and operation. Mr. Present has represented securities firms and individuals in industry and customer arbitrations before the NASD and New York Stock Exchange.
In the real estate area, Mr. Present represents businesses and individuals in the acquisition and sale of commercial and residential properties, construction financing and lease transactions.
Mr. Present serves as general counsel to hospital-based medical practices and other privately held businesses. Mr. Present also has extensive experience in Surrogate’s Court practice and has represented Executors and Administrators in Will contests, Accounting Proceedings and general Estate administrative matters.
Mr. Present obtained a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1982 and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 1985. He is admitted to practice in New York.