John Naizby. Courtesy photo
Friends who are remembered as the plaintiffs’ compassionate personal injury attorney and avid nature lover who once competed in three Ironman races in a year say John Naizby lives many lives with his humor, love of life and family and friendship has touched.
Naizby was 53 years old when he died of cancer in Branford on Tuesday.
Naizby, who was based in Branford with offices in New York and Florida, had been a lawyer for 27 years. Early in his career, he worked as an attorney for Allstate Insurance, representing insurers on personal injury issues.
Attorney Jim Gaston recalls interviewing Naizby to join the now defunct Gaston & Ruane in 1998, where the attorney would represent the plaintiffs.
“I had only heard good things about John. He worked in defense insurance but, unlike the insurance companies, really wanted to represent the injured, ”said Gaston, who now works as an individual practitioner in Bridgeport.
That rent has paid off in large measure, Gaston said on Friday.
“He was an exceptionally gifted trial attorney,” said Gaston of Naizby, who was a member of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and taught at Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming for more than two decades. “He was a perfect person. He was the real deal. “
Gaston said Naizby created an art form to get to know its customers.
“He actually went to his customers’ homes and visited them frequently,” said Gatson. “He wanted to know about their struggles and challenges. It’s not uncommon for lawyers, but John has done it more often than most of the others. “
Naizby’s performance in the courtroom was a must, said those who knew him.
“He came across as very sincere in court cases. The jury liked him because he was instantly believable, ”said Gatson. “He never exaggerated. He just presented a real case from the heart. “
Long-time friend, Attorney Robert Berke, echoed Gatson.
“He enjoyed helping his clients and had the opportunity to share a story with a jury. … Not many lawyers in Connecticut could do that, ”said Berke, director of the Robert Berke law firm in Bridgeport. “You can’t learn that. It is something you have right now. “
Berke remembers the friendliness of his friend.
“I slept on his couch when I first became a lawyer in 1992 because I had no money for an apartment,” Berke recalled on Friday. “Then nine years later I was dissatisfied with the company I was working for and he helped me find a job at another company. He was generous to others. “
Jay Ruane worked with Naizby from 1999 to 2001 when they worked for Gaston & Ruane, the company Ruane’s father was a partner.
“He was the guy who would give you the shirt off his back,” said Ruane. “He was so generous and liked to talk. He talked about everything. Passionate about life, he talked about travel and sports, as well as law and culture. “
Ruane said when he saw his friend had died earlier this week, he wrote a message to his paralegal who was once Naizby’s secretary.
“She told me it was really a bummer,” said Ruane. “She said he was such a nice guy and they had so much fun together. It was proof to him that other people remembered him for fun, not work or stress. “
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