In an effort protect the civil justice system and defend the rights of their clients, along with meeting with California legislators and key members of staff in their Capitol offices, two attorneys with the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles took part recently in the 2015 Justice Day in Sacramento.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles associates Neil Gehlawat and Chad Boyles attended the annual Justice Day earlier this month as part of Consumer Attorneys of California, where the aim is to meet the men and women who shape our laws, and to press the case for civil justice.
This year, Neil Gehlawat is chairman of the Education Committee for the CAOC New Lawyers Division, and Chad Boyles is the Central Valley Regional chairman for the CAOC New Lawyers Division. The New Lawyers Division, Consumer Attorneys of California is a professional organization made up of attorneys who represent plaintiffs seeking accountability from those who do wrong.
“As trial lawyers, we act as watchdogs and fight for the rights of Californians injured, harmed, or whose civil rights are violated,” Gehlawat said.
Added Boyles: “Through California laws, we can hold wrongdoers accountable.”
Justice Day included several seminars that included “Water Rights and the Civil Justice System” and “Conversation with Erin Brockovich.” But the heart and soul of Justice Day is to have an impact on Capitol lawmakers.
The CAOC attorneys and advocates explained what trial lawyers do for society, the merits of the contingency fee system in helping the underdog seek justice and the importance of our civil courts, according to CAOC.
Gehlawat, Boyles and other CAOC members met with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), a legislative aide for Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), and Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno).
In meetings with the legislators , they focused on three main issues:
- Assembly Bill 465 (Hernandez): This bill, which has passed, fixes a persistent problem where employers often include “forced arbitration” as a condition of employment, resulting in workers being fired or not hired if they don’t give up rights to resolve disputes in court. This measure ensures worker consent if forced arbitration is a provision of employment.
- Senate Bill 482 (Lara): This is a measure that will save lives, and requires doctors to check the existing statewide prescription drug database to curb doctor-shopping by addicts and the explosion of prescription drug abuse, our nation’s worst drug epidemic. UPDATE: This bill passed on May 28.
- Court Budgets: After more than $1 billion in budget cuts during the Great Recession, our courts remain underfunded and understaffed. California Gov. Jerry Brown has authorized some funding increases in recent years, but California still have a long ways to go. Fewer courtrooms mean reduced access to justice, and more delays. And justice delayed, is justice denied.
At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, Gehlawat and Boyles focus on personal injury and civil rights cases that include wrongful death, police misconduct, elder abuse, and more. If you are ever injured at the fault of another, contact them at 661-323-4000 or visit the law firm’s website at chainlaw.com.
* Editor’s Note: Neil Gehlawat is no longer an attorney with Chain | Cohn | Stiles *