Civil Litigation, Civil Rights, Employment & Commercial Law, Insurance Litigation
Boston College Law School, J.D., Newton, MA
College of the Holy Cross, B.A., Honors Program, Worcester, MA
Institute of European Studies, Madrid
Phone: 203 984 8820; 203 557 4083 landline
Mr. Bagnell, Co-Founder of his previous firm Lucas Bagnell Varga, LLC, has more than twenty-four years’ experience representing individual and corporate clients in the areas of employment law, civil rights, contract disputes, executive compensation, trademark law, firearms defects, and related civil litigation and appeals. In October 2017, Attorney Bagnell was named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only award recognizing his accomplishments as a trial attorney and litigator.
He was also named in the January 2018 5th Winter Edition and August 2017 24th Edition of the Best Lawyers in America, an award reserved for few practicing attorneys in the United States, and is a Life Member to the Multi-Million Dollar and Million Dollar Advocates Forum, recognizing his record of substantial monetary awards for his clients. He has been named as one of the Top 50 lawyers practicing in Connecticut by Superlawyers Magazine, has been similarly recognized as one of the top 50 Litigation Stars in Connecticut by Benchmark Litigation in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and has been described as an “experienced and able trial attorney” by a senior federal judge in a published opinion.
A graduate of Holy Cross College and Boston College Law School, he has been peer-rated in the top five percent of attorneys practicing in Connecticut in Law & Politics and SuperLawyers Magazine every year since its inception in 2006 through 2017. His practice is entirely devoted to civil litigation and appeals.
He is currently lead counsel in a potential class action for unfair and deceptive marketing practices against one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world.
"A very skilled and knowledgeable attorney."
- Ralph Losey, Esq., https://e-discoveryteam.com/2011/08/31/case-where-it-tech’s-fast-talk-had-zero-persuasive-value-with-judge/
Among other matters, Attorney Bagnell is currently representing a SWAT team member seeking damages when his firearm discharged after falling to the ground, shooting him through the knee and leg. Since the suit was filed, the manufacturer has issued a voluntary upgrade of the pistol due to problems with the weapon's trigger weight and internal safeties, which are designed to prevent the gun from firing in such a situation. The Complaint seeks "in excess of $1 million for each count and there are three counts in the Complaint, each requiring proof of different elements. What amount is ultimately awarded is of course up to a jury and the Judge as I have mentioned," he added.
"A gun that fires without an intentional trigger pull, with the muzzle pointed upward toward your body or face, can easily kill you, the amounts in question reflect that, and the company's post-suit 'upgrade' reflects it as well. It is simply naive to claim that a gun can never be dropped; they are accidentally dropped in combat, they are accidentally dropped by law enforcement agents on and off duty; they are dropped by civilians at firing ranges by accident; and they are dropped by criminals. This is why the entire concept of drop safety exists. We do not live in a perfect world."
Mr. Bagnell says, “The suit has been validated already in our view,” as the the company's conduct shows an awareness of the defect."
"My client is lucky to be alive. If the suit has saved or will save even one life, it will have been worth it, no matter how long it takes. Every one of these guns needs to be fixed and not on a 'voluntary' basis."
In July 2016, he concluded a marathon eight-year insurance coverage battle against insurance giant AIG, having defeated the company’s motion for summary judgment on the claim of unfair insurance practices under Connecticut law. “While the delay and anti-plaintiff bias in this case, and the underlying case, were truly appalling, we were pleased with the final outcome made possible by a new judge. Under no circumstances may an insurance company delay a coverage determination for more than four years, on the exact type of claim a $5 million EPLI policy was written to cover, without waiving defenses to the claim. This basic rule of insurance law was unfortunately too much for the justice system in this particular case to grasp."
"It was very difficult to see my client, who lost her livelihood and home for refusing to lie under oath, and was unanimously awarded $4.2 million by a jury, then re-victimized by a 12-year overall delay in resolving her case.
"I am so proud of my client's heroic perseverance in the face of not just endless delay, but prolonged and improper efforts to obstruct, re-examine and essentially undo her jury verdict." As the best judges know, we have a "Seventh Amendment for a reason; studies have shown that judges do no better, and in some cases do worse, than lay people in determining who is telling the truth." The particular biases of any judge and their career clerks also "are not subject to being reined in by a peer group, as is the case with a jury," as a University of Chicago study demonstrated.
As author of The Verdict, Barry Reed, once noted, there are "unfortunately some actors in the judicial system who are perfectly content with defense verdicts, yet recoil when a plaintiff wins, and search for excuses to obstruct or nullify it any way possible." In this case these efforts became "so extreme that my client's jury verdict, which came four years after her claim was submitted for a coverage determination, was ultimately characterized as a "proof of loss" statement by the second court - - eight years into the litigation. Anyone remotely familiar with basic principles of insurance claims handling or insurance law knows that calling a jury verdict a "proof of loss" statement is, at best, absurd."
The same year, he obtained judgment on behalf of a maritime inventor on all seven counts of an intellectual property, unfair trade practices, and trademark infringement case against Lewmar, Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of marine equipment and accessories. His client had invented a revolutionary one-handed sailing winch handle, which was almost immediately copied by a corporate partner and other competitors. The case spanned seven years, showing once again his unwavering persistence and dedication to his client's interests. https://www.sailingworld.com/gear/composite-onetouch-winch-handle-dax-labs
Jeff has obtained precedent-setting decisions in several areas including wrongful discharge, the Family and Medical Leave Act, spoliation of electronic evidence, and E-discovery. Among other successful results for clients, with attorney Scott Lucas he obtained a $17.4 million arbitration award in December 2012 on behalf of five former executives of a public life sciences company who were denied certain change in control benefits following a merger in November 2008. In June 2009, he obtained a $1 million settlement of an age discrimination claim on behalf of a terminated cosmetics executive. In July 2008, he obtained the aforementioned $4.2 million jury verdict on behalf of a former employee of the New Haven Register, who was terminated in retaliation for refusing to give false testimony in a state administrative proceeding. In August of that year he successfully opposed a motion for summary judgment by General Electric Company in an age discrimination case involving an E-band executive.
He also represented the plaintiff in Doe v. Norwalk Community College, 248 F.R.D. 372 (D. Conn. 2007), a case in which he was among the first attorneys in New England to obtain sanctions for spoliation of electronic evidence. He has achieved other substantial verdicts and settlements in his practice areas. His practice is entirely devoted to civil litigation and appeals. While he is known for representing individuals, his representative corporate clients have included Norwalk Marine Contractors, Inc.; Delta Level Defense; Dax Labs LLC; RuggerWear LLC; and Velocity Express, Inc.
He is also proud to represent the Founder of the Adventures in Travel Expo, James Cohen, whose original concept to combine adventure with vacations has been an enormous world-wide success.
He has argued cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts in New York and Connecticut, as well as the Connecticut Supreme Court. In preparing his cases for trial and selecting juries, Mr. Bagnell works very closely with a Virginia-based jury consultant, Carolyn Koch, Esq. of Jury Solutions Inc., to ensure the best possible presentation to the jury.
Articles on cases he has handled have appeared in the National Law Journal, Lawyers Weekly USA, the Connecticut Law Tribune, and various legal journals. He has obtained precedent-setting decisions in the areas of E-discovery and spoliation, insurance coverage, wrongful discharge, wage and hour laws, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. He has been a frequent speaker at bar association events, including the Connecticut Bar Association’s annual meetings. He has authored articles on evidence issues arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, litigating cases under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), as well as Supreme Court jurisprudence on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He was a contributing editor of the American Bar Association’s Model Employment Law Jury Instructions, Second Edition, as well as the American Bar Association’s Employment Litigation Handbook.
Mr. Bagnell is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and Connecticut. He is admitted to practice to the state bars of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Previously in his career he served as associate counsel for a $300 million, publicly traded communications company in Milford, Connecticut, with over 2,000 employees, where he advised management on a broad array of issues involving international and domestic business transactions. He also served as an attorney with Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Chimes & Richardson, P.C. in New Haven, Connecticut, a firm that specializes in civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense, where he worked closely with the firm’s founding partner, Joseph D. Garrison on a variety of cases and successful trials, including $1.6 million and $500,000 verdicts against companies for violation of the FMLA in 2003 and 2005.
“You learn so much just by observing a lawyer as preeminent as Joe, let alone being able to work with him for years,” he stated. “It was a great experience and one which continues to influence my practice today.”
He has served as a member of the executive committee of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section, and is a Sustaining Member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association’s Section on Litigation.
In his spare time, Jeff is a dedicated cyclist. He is currently ranked 11th out of 1,221 cyclists for the fastest time in Westport's Compo Sprint time trial, averaging almost 28 miles per hour. He is also an avid sailor.
He is the author of One Question Too Many: The Trial of Captain Charles B. McVay, a study of the court-martial of the captain of the USS Indianapolis. His work on this article, which included locating and obtaining a copy of the original 1945 trial transcript, led him to be consulted by the actor who portrays the Japanese submarine commander in the motion picture “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” starring Nicholas Cage.
- United States Supreme Court, 2002
- United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2000
- United States District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and Connecticut, 1998
- State Bar of Connecticut, 1993
- State Bar of Massachusetts, 1992
- Boston College Law School, J.D., Newton, MA
- College of the Holy Cross, B.A., Honors Program, Worcester, MA
- Institute of European Studies, Madrid
SCHOLARLY LECTURES AND WRITINGS:
- Cross-Examining Hitler, 1931; The Most Dangerous Cross-Examination of All Time (author)
- “Lessons in the Art of Questioning from the Titanic Disaster Hearings”, (author)
- “One Question Too Many: The Trial of Captain Charles B. McVay III”, (author)
- “Legal briefs on Statute of Frauds and other topics”, The Leveler (Spring and Summer 2001) (author)
- “Litigating Cases Under the Family and Medical Leave Act”, Practicing Law Institute, 30th Annual Labor and Employment Law Symposium, New York, New York (October 2000 and 2001) (co-author)
- “The Stray Remarks Doctrine After Reeves”, CBA Labor & Employment Law Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Fall 2000). Reprinted by Connecticut Bar Association (March 2002) and National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), New England Regional Conference (April 2003) (author)
- “Magic Words Not Needed: Second Circuit’s Pleading Standard Too Strict in Swierkiewicz”, Connecticut Law Tribune, Labor and Employment Issue (May 2003) (author)
- “Model Employment Law Jury Instructions, Second Edition”, American Bar Association (2006) (contributing editor)
- “Employment Litigation Handbook, Second Edition”, American Bar Association (2007) (contributing editor)
ACTIVITIES AND AFFILIATIONS:
- Executive Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association's Labor and Employment Section,
- Sustaining Member of the National Employment Lawyers Association
- Sustaining Member of the American Bar Association's Section on Litigation
- The E-Smoking Gun: Digital Forensics, E-Discovery, Spoliation of Electronically Stored Information”, Connecticut Bar Association seminar (2008)
- “The Use of Mock Trials and Jury Consultants”, Annual meeting of the National Employment Lawyers Association in Atlanta, Georgia (2008)
- “Discovery Issues Relating to Electronically-stored Information (ESI)”, 2008 New England Regional Conference of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) in Boston, Massachusetts (2008)
- “Connecticut FMLA Update 2006”, Council on Education in Management in Trumbull, Connecticut (2006)
- “Navigating a Case at the Department of Labor: Where are the Shoals?”, 130th Annual Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting, New Haven, Connecticut (2005)
- “Annual Employment Law Summary”, 130th Annual Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting, New Haven, Connecticut (2005)
- “Expert Witnesses”, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), New England Regional Conference, Boston, Massachusetts (2003)
- “About Current Issues Regarding FMLA”, National Business Institute seminar on Family and Medical Leave Act in Hartford, CT (2002)
- “Employment Law”, Connecticut Bar Association Annual Symposium on Employment Law in New Britain, Connecticut (2002)