Zeldes, Needle & Cooper, P.C. is a firm of accomplished and experienced attorneys providing a full range of legal services to businesses, professionals, and individuals.
We deliver the scope and quality of services generally offered at a large firm, while providing the personal attention and responsiveness generally expected of a small firm. This website includes information concerning our professional qualifications and experience, specific capabilities, and areas of practice.
1000 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport CT 06601
Zeldes, Needle & Cooper represents both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury actions. We draw upon the resources and experience of our entire firm to achieve results for our clients.
As lawyers for plaintiffs in personal injury actions, our group protects the rights of people who have been injured by the misconduct of others. We have successfully represented individuals regarding injuries and losses sustained as the result of motor vehicle accidents, falls on property, medical malpractice, defective products, and work-related accidents. We also represent clients in claims for disability insurance benefits and other insurance contract disputes. We strive to obtain the maximum compensation for our clients' injuries -- whether through settlement, mediation, arbitration, or trial.
Our defense practice focuses on the representation of individuals and businesses in the defense of complex personal injury matters. Our defense clients range from individuals to global corporations. We represent these clients in the defense of wrongful death actions, products liability claims, aviation disasters, major motor vehicle accidents and workers' compensation claims.
We have experience in trial and appellate litigation in both state and federal courts. The lawyers in our group are admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Connecticut, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Leslie Aceto joined Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in 1988. Ms. Aceto represents clients in all facets of real estate development, transfer, and land use.
For clients engaged in both commercial and residential real estate development, Ms. Aceto has handled the acquisition of raw land, contractual negotiations with lenders and construction companies, interaction with public officials, troubleshooting implementation issues, and facilitation of sale or rental of the finished product.
Ms. Aceto has been involved in substantial development projects. For example, she recently completed the establishment of a high-end residential condominium, a project she guided from land acquisition through the creation of a common interest association and to the final sale of units.
Ms. Aceto also represents commercial landlords and tenants regarding the leasing of Connecticut facilities, including the representation of commercial entities with multiple in-state properties.
Ms. Casper has practiced in the area of commercial litigation since 1990, representing clients in a variety of complex business and commercial matters, including contract and shareholders' disputes, commercial loan disputes and employment litigation. She also practices in the areas of trust and estates and probate litigation.
Ms. Casper brings to our firm entrepreneurial experience, having owned and operated a business prior to attending law school.
Mr. Cooper concentrates his practice in commercial law, with special emphasis on business transactions and the legal and practical requirements of business operations and finance. He has experience across a broad spectrum of commercial law, handling matters from business sales and acquisitions to financial management and resolution of disputes among professional practitioners. Many of Mr. Cooper's clients are entrepreneurs and skilled business people who seek his assistance in creating and consummating the business "deal," or in negotiating a reasonable solution to a difficult conflict.
Mr. Cooper has been instrumental in the negotiation, legal planning for, and purchase or sale by clients of various companies, including a health care company, a dental supply company, radio stations, a major distributor of spirits, an insurance and a reinsurance company, an automobile dealership and many others. He also has represented many foreign companies (principally in Europe and Scandinavia) who purchase and distribute American products, including distributors of medical products. Finally, he has represented banks and financial institutions, usually in highly difficult and/or sensitive situations.
Jonathan D. Elliot joined Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in 2006 and was named a partner of the firm in 2011. Mr. Elliot has practiced in Connecticut since 1980, representing individuals and corporate clients in matters before state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels.
Mr. Elliot has extensive experience in the defense of creditors, collection agencies, and consumer reporting agencies in individual and class actions brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act and related state consumer protection laws. He is a frequent speaker on the subject of credit and collection law and related subjects. He also is a founding member of the Member Attorney Program of the American Collectors Association, an organization dedicated to the promotion of compliance with consumer collection laws and the defense of the collection industry.
Mr. Elliot has significant experience representing title insurance companies and their insureds in foreclosure matters, boundary or easement disputes, adverse possession cases and other real estate litigation.
Mr. Elliot also has extensive experience in family law matters, including those involving marital dissolutions and legal separations, child custody and support, alimony and equitable distribution, and post-judgment enforcement and modification. The matters range from simple uncontested proceedings to complex, multi-million dollar cases at both the trial and appellate levels.
Mr. Elliot also counsels and represents employers in administrative matters before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in state or federal litigation concerning wages, employment contracts, wrongful discharge, sexual harassment and other discrimination matters.
Mr. Elliot has been active throughout his career in complex business litigation involving shareholder disputes, lender liability, federal tax claims, insurance bad faith claims, trademark law, bankruptcy, professional malpractice, ERISA and RICO.
Mr. Elliot serves as a Special Master in family matters in the Fairfield Judicial District and in custody matters pending at the Regional Family Trial Docket in Middletown.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Elliot served on the Task Force for Foster Children, charged with making recommendations about reforms to Connecticut's child abuse and neglect laws, and the Connecticut Bar Association's Juvenile Justice Committee and Committee Regarding the Representation of Children in Family Matters.
Mr. Fiano joined the firm in 2013. He represents individuals, closely-held businesses and large corporations in a wide variety of complex commercial and civil litigation matters, including business and corporate disputes, contract issues, shareholder disputes, fraud and embezzlement claims, business break-ups and dissolutions, business valuations, employment issues including non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, lender liability, foreclosure defense, construction litigation, probate litigation, professional malpractice claims, insurance coverage issues, zoning disputes, residential and commercial landlord-tenant disputes, real estate litigation including boundary and easement disputes and adverse possession cases, and disputes arising out of the buying and selling of properties or businesses.
Mr. Fiano has extensive experience in successfully trying cases before the Connecticut and New York State and Federal Courts, and has successfully argued appeals before the Connecticut and New York Appellate Courts.
Mr. Medina joined the firm in 1984 and concentrates his practice in the areas of bankruptcy and commercial law - both litigation and transactional. He represents debtors as well as secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy reorganization proceedings. Mr. Medina also has extensive experience assisting clients in reorganizing debt without filing for bankruptcy protection.
Mr. Medina is very active in civic and non-profit organizations throughout Connecticut. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Citizens Action Group ("CCAG"), a statewide membership organization dedicated to working to bring about social, economic and environmental justice, a member and past President of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Club of Southern Connecticut and a former chairman of the Board of Directors of Family Services - Woodfield ("FSW").
Mr. Medina has also held elected office, serving as the President of the Bridgeport Board of Education to which he was elected to four terms, serving 16 years.
Mr. Medina is fluent in Spanish and provides extensive pro bono services to moderate and low income families.
Mr. Needle, a founding member of the firm and the former Chairman of our Management Committee (1988-1994), practices principally in the areas of commercial and real estate law, business development, business organization, and commercial transactions. Throughout his career, Mr. Needle has provided counsel to individuals and business organizations of all types and sizes, helping his clients make tough legal decisions during both good and bad times.
Mr. Needle has served as President of the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association and a member of its Executive Committee. He has actively participated in both the Connecticut and Greater Bridgeport Bar Associations' Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Sections. Mr. Needle was elected a member of the Connecticut Bar Association's House of Delegates and was a candidate for the Senate of the State of Connecticut. He is a former President of the Harvard Club of Southern Connecticut, has been on its Board of Directors and has served as its Schools Committee Chairman for many years, and is Secretary of his Yale Law School Class. Mr. Needle is also a former Member of the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and has taught commercial law at various local colleges.
Mr. Pacelli joined the firm in 1998. His practice is devoted primarily to representation of the firm's common interest community clients, including condominium associations and property management companies. Mr. Pacelli also concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial and residential real estate transactions, as well as commercial lending and secured transactions and general commercial law.
Mr. Pacelli represents real estate developers in the property acquisition, financing, and sales phases of their projects. He also appears before numerous planning and zoning commissions and zoning boards of appeals on behalf of our clients. Mr. Pacelli continues to represent a variety of commercial landlords and tenants, commercial lenders, and local area business owners.
Mr. Scofield joined the firm in 1986 and has established a successful practice concentrating primarily in commercial litigation and intellectual property litigation. Representative cases include an antitrust claim stemming from a hostile corporate takeover, a dispute involving television syndication contracts, obtaining injunctions against trademark infringement, false advertising, and the violation of restrictive covenants, and a number of complex patent cases.
Mr. Scofield has also litigated a wide range of other civil matters, including multi-million dollar foreclosure and bankruptcy cases, disputes between commercial landlords and tenants, fraud claims, business torts, sophisticated probate disputes, and the defense of product liability claims.
Mr. Scofield is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Intellectual Property, Litigation - Real Estate, and in Connecticut Super Lawyers in the areas of Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Litigation.
A graduate of Georgetown University and The University of Connecticut School of Law (cum laude) as a Partner, Jim has practiced in Connecticut since 1976 focusing on bankruptcy and commercial law with particular emphasis in business reorganizations, commercial litigation and financial restructurings. A member of The American Bankruptcy Institute and the Turnaround Management Association, Jim has been involved in many of Connecticut's major bankruptcies such as The City of Bridgeport's Chapter 9 case and Chapter 11 proceedings such as In re: Raytech, In re: J. Lynn Helms and others. Jim has represented both debtors and creditors in complex matters.
Jeremy C. Virgil concentrates his practice in the areas of plaintiff's personal injury, malpractice and workers' compensation. He also handles employment and commercial litigation.
Mr. Virgil's personal injury practice involves wrongful death, serious and significant personal injuries, general negligence cases, such as car accidents, truck crashes, construction injuries, railroad accidents, defective and dangerous products, slip and falls, assaults, sexual assaults, toxic torts, hit and run collisions, uninsured drivers, underinsured drivers. He has pursued class action lawsuits on behalf of the victims of defective products and unscrupulous retailers. Mr. Virgil has also sued multiple insurance companies directly for their misconduct and bad faith behavior in the handling and processing of personal injury lawsuits and claims.
Mr. Virgil represents the victims of medical malpractice and professional negligence. He has obtained favorable verdicts or settlements for clients who were the victims of medical negligence involving reproductive and fertility medicine, tissue banking and cryopreservation, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, internal medicine, physical therapy and nursing care amongst others.
Mr. Virgil's workers' compensation practice involves the representation of seriously injured workers and complex claims. He has represented union and non-union workers, police officers, paid and volunteer fire fighters, correction officers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, factor workers, administrative assistants, laboratory technicians, medical record keepers, teachers and professional athletes amongst others. Mr. Virgil has obtained workers' compensation benefits for clients suffering back injuries, neck injuries, paralysis, heart attacks and heart conditions (myocardial infarction (MI), atrial fibrillation (afib), hypertension), concussions, comas, ringing in the ears, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, foot and ankle injuries, elbow injuries, hernias, carpal tunnel, burns, PTSD, exposure to MRSA, exposure to HIV, infections, and death.
Mr. Virgil's labor and employment practice involves representing individuals and companies before federal and state courts, administrative agencies, industry regulatory bodies, and private arbitrators. Mr. Virgil handles sexual harassment, age discrimination, sex discrimination, race discrimination, employment contracts, whistleblower claims, FMLA violations, and wrongful discharge.
Mr. Virgil earned his B.A. and M.A. from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2001 and 2002, and his J.D. from The University of Connecticut School of Law in 2005. While at the University of Connecticut, Mr. Virgil received the CALI award for excellence in trial practice.
Richard is a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Connecticut School of Law. As a partner, Richard has practiced in Connecticut since 1963 handling a wide variety of civil matters, including bankruptcies, reorganizations, financial restructuring, contract disputes, business torts, estates and matrimonial matters. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America in the areas of bankruptcy and reorganization for more than twenty years. In addition, he has been listed by Super Lawyers in the areas of bankruptcy and reorganization. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at the Quinnipiac University School of Law. In a poll among Connecticut attorneys conducted by the Connecticut Law Tribune, Richard was selected as the best attorney in Connecticut handling proceedings on behalf of debtors.
Richard has tried cases in both the state and federal court and has argued appeals before the Connecticut Supreme Court. He has authored a number of articles on bankruptcy as well as the effect of bankruptcy on matrimonial matters. He has lectured before the National Association of Realtors as well as numerous legal seminars, accounting seminars and other professional organizations. He has been involved in numerous mergers, acquisitions, start-ups and dissolutions. Richard has served as President of the Bridgeport Bar Association and as Chairman of the Cerebral Palsy Telethon. He has been active in municipal matters and is well known for his filing of the landmark Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the City of Bridgeport.