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John Elzufon Soars with Delaware's Top Legal Eagles

Monday, March 14, 2016
John Elzufon

John Elzufon

Knowledge of science and mathematics principles have helped John A. Elzufon provide the keen legal defense skills needed to win complicated medical, legal, and accounting malpractice cases. This has earned him respect among his peers, and the honor of being named one of Delaware's top lawyers for 2015 by Delaware Today. It is the third time he has been recognized by the organization.

Elzufon, a 1968 chemical engineering alumnus, is the senior litigator and managing director of the Wilmington, Delaware-based law firm of Elzufon Austin Tarlov & Mondell. P.A. He specializes in complex defense cases involving professional liability, product liability, bad faith, commercial and construction defect litigation. He is best known for representing health-care providers and has handled more than 500 cases, taking nearly 100 of these cases to jury verdict or bench decision.

"Attention to detail is the key in any legal matter," he says. "Engineers are 'detail wonks' by nature and training. Also, medicine is very technical these days, so having a technical background is of great value . . . Actually, the law is the easiest part of any case. Facts, often complex and numerous, do make the difference. Juries decide cases based on facts. The ability to distill the important from the unimportant in preparing a case for trial is akin to taking experimental raw data and deciding what is or is not important."

One of his more complicated cases involved allegations of injury to a fetus during amniocentesis.

"I had to learn about obstetrics, genetics, embryology, neo-natal neurology, and how to read the MRI of a one-week-old child. Having not been to medical school, the case was quite a challenge. I won the case. Afterwards my Mom, of blessed memory, remarked: 'Johnnie, you now know enough medicine to be very dangerous.'"

The Newark, New York native used his engineering skills as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1969-1970) and earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center (Washington, D.C.) in 1974. He started his law firm in 1982 and it now has three offices throughout Delaware.