Longtime Bakersfield attorney, former Chain | Cohn | Stiles partner dies at 84

July 14, 2021 | 10:15 am


Editor’s Note: The article below was compiled from local media reports. For a column on Mr. Lemucchi written by Chain | Cohn | Stiles managing partner David Cohn for the Kern County Bar Association magazine, Res Ipsa Loquitur, please see below:

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Timothy Lemucchi, a longtime and prominent Bakersfield lawyer and former partner and attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles has died at age 84.

Lemucchi participated in some of Bakersfield’s most memorable trials, including that of tire store owner William Robert Tyack, accused of killing two of his neighbors in 1982, and Offord Rollins, the Wasco star athlete accused of killing his girlfriend in 1991. He would be involved in more than 250 jury trials.

Colleagues, including Chain | Cohn | Stiles managing partner David Cohn, say he had an uncanny ability to read jurors and keep his cool amid difficult circumstances. Cohn worked with Lemucchi for 20 years when the firm was known as Chain Younger Lemucchi.

Lemucchi exemplified the value of diligent pre-trial preparation, Cohn told local media, and he often tutored younger lawyers after completing his own work for the day. Part of what made him such a good defense and later a personal injury lawyer was his ability to shift tactics seamlessly after being overruled by a judge, Cohn said.

Lemuccci was the son of Italian immigrants who established the iconic Old Kern staple, Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, Deli & Wine, which celebrated 100 years of business in 2010. He attended East High School, Stanford University, and then Georgetown University for his law degree.

Outside of the courtroom, Lemucchi was a competitive athlete. He regularly competed in Ironman triatholons, took cross-country skiing, hiking and fishing trips, climbed Alaska’s Denali, Mount Whitney and peaks in Russia. He survived a helicopter crash, and mounted part of the wreckage on a plaque in his office, The Bakersfield Californian reported. He also displayed a photo of himself carrying the Olympic torch ahead of the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

His competitive spirt took him on the campaign trail in 1972, when he ran for Congress.

Lemucchi was also a writer, authoring books about his family’s history. The latest, “Eddies of the Kern,” is scheduled for release Sept. 1 of this year.

Lemucchi was also a longtime supporter of the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Lemucchi was “a very giving person,” Cohn shared with local media. “Tim was involved in a lot of charities here in Kern County. He always cared about the little guy.”

Lemucchi died July 7 while out on a casual bike ride with a friend, local media reported. He is survived by Margaret, his wife of 51 years; his daughter, Lisa Lemucchi, of Santa Cruz; his sister, Antonia Valpredo; niece Monica Sacco (husband John); niece Lanette Caratan (Christopher); nephew Gino Valpredo (Sandra); and numerous cousins and relatives, many of whom live in Kern County.

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‘Universally respected’: Longtime colleague David Cohn shares his memories of Tim Lemucchi

By David K. Cohn

For the “Res Ipsa Loquitur”

When Tim Lemucchi was a partner at the Chain Younger law firm, several of us attorneys challenged him. Daniel Rodriguez, James Yoro, and I bet we could beat him in the triathlon. I would do the bicycle portion, Danny would run, and Jim would swim. Tim – a tough, skilled, and experienced competitor – would, of course, do all three by himself. We trained a lot for the challenge, but we just weren’t as prepared as Tim was. In the end, we each ended up owing him $100 – which he gladly, but graciously, took. 

That was Tim. He outworked his opponents and was extremely well prepared. And though we lost, we couldn’t be upset with Tim because he was universally respected – by judges, other defense attorneys, and even his opponents.  

It was my privilege to be a legal partner of Tim’s for 20 years. During that time, I came to learn that Tim was trial lawyers, trial lawyer. 

His word was his bond. He never tried to pull a fast one. Tim was probably the most decent attorney I’ve ever met. I never really saw him lose his temper, and he always was cool under fire. His staff was also extremely loyal – he was a good boss and they respected him. He was the epitome of how to be civil

For a young lawyer, he was a great mentor.  I think I had been practicing for about 6 weeks, and Tim handed me a criminal file. He said, “Here, I think this would be a good experience for you to try a jury trial.” And I did! He gave me pointers and helped me out along the way. It wasn’t long after that I stumbled on a murder case. I went to Tim and said, “I’m not sure how to go about this.” He sat with me in court at a preliminary hearing, and he made some great suggestions, including for cross examining one of the police officers. I ended up getting the case dismissed at the preliminary hearing, mainly due to suggestions that Tim gave me. That was pretty cool for a young lawyer. 

It’s no wonder he was retained to represent Robert Tyack in the infamous double murder case. Tim used a self-defense argument even though the two men were shot in the back. While he didn’t get an acquittal, he ended up convincing a jury not to convict his client of murder. Instead, the jury came back with a verdict of manslaughter. The judge was astounded at the verdict, and how well Tim did in front of a jury. That was Tim’s biggest asset. He really knew how to connect with people, and was wonderful in front of juries. Tim’s low-key demeanor just resonated. He had that common person touch. 

In another famous case, Tim was hired for the Offord Rollins case. Rollins was a star athlete in Wasco accused of murdering his girlfriend. He did not win the case, but he gained a tremendous amount of respect throughout our community for his work in that trial. 

He knew the ins and outs of the evidence code better than any other attorney I’ve known.  

He was as close to a Renaissance man as they come. Not only was he an athlete and lawyer, but he was also an amazing writer, an outdoorsman who hiked, climbed the highest mountains, and survived helicopter crashes and snowstorms. 

As much as I was saddened to hear about Tim’s passing, I had a smile on my face knowing he was out on his bicycle, doing what he loved, riding through Hart Park at 84 years old. 

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

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Free Consultation? Keep These Points In Mind When Meeting With A Lawyer On Your Injury Case

June 16, 2021 | 6:00 am


You always hear about “free consultations” by lawyers, but what does that really mean, and what should a great consultation look like for someone who needs legal help?

Accident and injury attorney Matt Clark of Chain | Cohn | Stiles answers this frequently asked legal question in a new video below, and we share everything you need to know below about consultations from an accident and injury lawyer.

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Accident and personal injury claims can be complicated, which is why it’s most important to hire an experienced and reputable attorney. There are three main points to keep in mind when beginning the hiring process and meeting with a lawyer for a free consultation:

1) Make sure it’s a reputable law firm or lawyer giving you a consultation. Do your research. Look at reviews and comments from past clients. Negative reviews and lack of client feedback is a big red flag. Remember, personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers should be helping clients move forward with their lives. Don’t hesitate to ask a potential lawyer for references.

2) Make sure you’re meeting with an actual attorney. You’d be surprised how often injured clients never get to meet with an attorney either before their case is signed up, or during a case. That is unacceptable. A lawyer should always be available to meet with you and answer any questions you may have about your case from the first meeting on.

3) A consultation should be free, confidential, and with no obligation to commit. Anything other than free, confidential, and no-pressure meetings is never OK.

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Once you decide which attorneys you’ll meet with about your case, you’ll want to be aware of several things in preparation for the initial consultation. Most injury lawyers offer an initial consultation at no charge. Here are 5 points to keep in mind before you sit down with an attorney to discuss your case:

1) You Can Ask Questions: You want to make sure you hire someone you feel comfortable with, who you can trust, and who has your best interest at heart. Here are a few questions you can ask:

  • What is your experience with my type of case?
  • What is your success record?
  • Who will actually be working on my case? Make sure your case isn’t handed off to a paralegal or legal assistant. You want to make sure an actual lawyer is taking care of your case.
  • Who can I talk to if I have questions during my case? An attorney should always be available to answer any of your questions.
  • How long does it take to resolve a case like mine? Potential lawyers should be able to give you a rough estimate.
  • What is my case worth? A good, experienced lawyer should also have a good idea of what your case is worth. Be wary of attorneys who make estimates that seem unrealistic.

2) Fees: A consultation should always be free and confidential, and the injury lawyers should always work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing out of pocket until the legal team recovers money damages in your case through a settlement or verdict. At that point, the lawyer is given a percentage of that award, typically between 33% and 40% if the case is taken to trial. Review the contract and agree on the structure before signing it. In this format, the attorney is responsible for any legal costs if a case is unsuccessful, not the client.

3) Gather Evidence: The lawyer, too, can decide whether or not he or she wants to take your case. Be sure to come to your free consultation with any evidence of you incident and subsequent injuries. This could include photographs of the scene or injuries, a police report, and medical records. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the records; if a lawyer is interested in your case, the legal team will be able to gather all of that information for you. The attorney will also have some questions, including detail about any accident.

4) Legal Team: You need to feel comfortable working with and trusting the attorney and legal team you ultimately choose. Some law firms send non-attorneys to sign up your case, or even pretend to be local when their offices are actually in another city. Still others shift work to non-lawyers. Many lawyers, also, will take on too many cases, causing unnecessary delays. Lawyers should also focus on taking each to a jury trial, even this likely won’t be necessary. This guarantees each case reaches its fullest value, and your case isn’t settled for less.

5) No Agreement: While you have a choice on who to hire, the attorney too might not accept your case due to a number of factors: conflict of interest, statute of limitations expired, minor injuries and small recovery, you caused the accident, or the attorney doesn’t have expertise in your case. If a lawyer can’t help you with your case, he or she should be able to refer you to someone who could help.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

Four Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorneys earn 2021 ‘Super Lawyers’ distinction

March 3, 2021 | 9:34 am


Four attorneys and partners at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have been named to the 2021 “Super Lawyers” listing by Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine.

Personal injury attorneys David Cohn and Matthew Clark earned the Super Lawyers distinction, as well as workers’ compensation lawyer James Yoro. The prestigious honor is awarded to no more than 5 percent of lawyers in the Southern California region based on a high-degree of peer recognition and personal achievement.

Additionally, workers’ compensation attorney Beatriz A. Trejo was named to the 2021 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” listing, which is awarded to just 2.5 percent of lawyers under the age of 40 in the Southern California region. Trejo was also included to “The Top Women Attorneys in Southern California — Rising Stars” list.

“It’s an amazing honor for a majority of our lawyer team here at Chain | Cohn | Stiles to earn the ‘Super Lawyers’ distinction,” said firm managing partner David Cohn. “The recognition speaks to our firm’s commitment and dedication to helping injured people in Kern County.”

 

‘SUPER LAWYERS’ PROGRAM

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, the Super Lawyers selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.  According to the program, Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a multi-phase selection process where each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, including a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews. The objective of the recognition program is “to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used to resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.”

Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting an attorney, the program limits the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public.

As part of the honor, those selected are highlighted in issues of Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine alongside other awarded legal professionals. They also receive profiles on superlawyers.com.

In 2018, Chain | Cohn | Stiles received a resolution from the California Legislature for having all of its partners listed as Southern California Super Lawyers.

 

‘SUPER LAWYERS’ AT CHAIN | COHN | STILES

David K. Cohn is the  managing partner of the firm and one of the most highly regarded trial lawyers in California. Year after year, he is named one of the top attorneys in the “Best Lawyer” category by the Bakersfield Californian Reader’s Choice Poll. He is a Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent-rated trial attorney. Most recently, he was recognized in the Best Lawyers in America program, which is the oldest and among the most respected attorney ranking services in the world. David grew up in Bakersfield, graduating from West High School, before going on to receive his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. Shortly thereafter, he obtained his law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. David is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. He has also previously served on the Board of Governors for the Consumer Attorneys of California and as past President of the Kern County Trial Lawyers Association. He was selected to join the International Society of Barristers, a widely-respected invitation-only group whose aim it is to preserve trial by jury, the adversary system and an independent judiciary. He was also recognized by his peers in the local “Top Attorneys” poll highlighting the best lawyers in their practice areas.

James A. Yoro manages the firm’s workers’ compensation practice, is also a Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional, and is one of the most veteran and most respected workers’ compensation lawyers in California. James attended Garces Memorial High School, before obtaining his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and his law degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law. Following law school, he worked as a staff attorney with Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance before joining the firm as an associate in 1982, and becoming a partner in 1987. He is the past president of Kern County Bar Association, and was recently recognized in the Best Lawyers in America program, which is the oldest and among the most respected attorney ranking services in the world. He was also recognized by his peers in the local “Top Attorneys” poll highlighting the best local lawyers in their practice areas. Over the course of his career, James has argued cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. He is also responsible for securing a $4.5 million Workers’ Compensation settlement on behalf of his client, one of the largest such settlements in Kern County. He’s served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, on the Board of Governors for the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, and the Board of Directors for Kern Regional Center. Currently, he serves on the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Bakersfield Advisory Committee, as well as a board member for the CSU Bakersfield Kegley Institute of Ethics.

Matthew C. Clark is a rising star in the Central Valley legal community, and in California. Matt grew up in Bakersfield, graduating from Garces Memorial High School. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University, before attending law school at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He joined the firm in 2006, after serving as a litigation associate at another local law firm for five years. In 2011, Matt attended and graduated from the American Board of Trial Advocates’ National Trial College at Harvard Law School. He was honored as one of the 20 Under 40 People to Watch by Bakersfield Life Magazine. He frequently provides expert legal opinions for news media stories, speaks to local high school coaches regarding liability in athletics, and provides advice to local residents in workshops focusing on home and auto insurance and liability issues. He served as president of the Board of Directors for Clinica Sierra Vista (until 2017), and also served on the Board of Directors for the San Joaquin Community Hospital Foundation (now known as Adventist Health). He sits on the planning committee for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County’s annual event, Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash, and is a board member on the MADD Kern County Advisory Board. Matt also is a board member for Children’s Advocates Resource Endowment (C.A.R.E.), a nonprofit that raises money for local children’s charities.

Beatriz A. Trejo is a Certified Legal Specialist in Workers’ Compensation and a recipient of the “Workers’ Compensation Young Lawyer of the Year” award in California. She attended Highland High School in Bakersfield before earning her bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Bakersfield and her master’s degree in political science from Cal State Northridge. She earned her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio. She has practiced in front of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board since 2012. She began her practice as a defense attorney, representing, self-insured employers, insurance companies, private employers, municipalities, school districts, and governmental entities in all aspects of workers’ compensation defense. In 2015, began representing injured workers through her work at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. She is past president of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), Bakersfield Chapter, and has been named as one of the 20 Under 40 People to Watch by Bakersfield Life Magazine. She was also recently recognized by her peers in the “Top Attorneys” poll voted on by local lawyers, highlighting the best lawyers in their practice areas. She is an active member of CAAA’s Latino Caucus, and serves on the panels of the Immigration Justice Collaborative, which aims to educate immigrants on their constitutional rights. She is a frequent speaker for Kern County Small Business Academies, educating new business owners on work injury laws, and serves on the CSU Bakersfield Pre-Law Advisory Committee, helping aspiring lawyers. Outside of the office, she supports her community through local organization including Latina Leaders of Kern County, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center Foundation for Community Wellness. Beatriz is fluent in Spanish, and appears on local Spanish radio stations, assisting local residents with their legal questions.

To learn more about each of the attorney and their practice areas, visit chainlaw.com.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles launches new educational grant program open to all Kern County students

February 3, 2021 | 5:00 am


While schooling may look different these days, one thing that hasn’t changed is the very real costs of education, which includes computers, textbooks, college application fees, and other school supplies and needs.

In an effort to help local students with the higher costs of education, local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has introduced a new grant and educational video program open to all Kern County students.

The “Chats with Chain | Cohn | Stiles” educational grants program aims to give away $500 educational grants. How can students apply? Simple. Kern County students can visit bit.ly/chatswithccs, fill out the application, and ask our attorneys a question. It could be a question about the law, life as a lawyer, or anything in the legal field they may be curious about.

For the next 10 months, Chain | Cohn | Stiles will choose a question, and students will get to ask the lawyers that question on video at Scope Studios in Bakersfield. And, of course, they’ll get some cash for their education, too. Questions and answers will be posted on the Chain | Cohn | Stiles YouTube page for all to learn.

“We are especially mindful of the challenges students have faced during the pandemic,” said Matt Clark, senior partner at personal injury attorney with Chain | Cohn | Stiles. “This is our way of recognizing these challenges, and hopefully providing students with a little help, encouragement, and education.”

The scholarship application can be accessed at chainlaw.com, or by visiting the short URL http://bit.ly/chatswithccs. Scholarship program questions can be directed to [email protected]

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

‘CHATS WITH CHAIN | COHN | STILES’ VIDEOS

Chain | Cohn | Stiles ranked in 2021 U.S. News & World Report’s ‘Best Law Firms’

November 11, 2020 | 5:00 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles has been selected for inclusion in the 2021 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report.

Law firms included in “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for “professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers,” according to U.S. News & World Report. Achieving a ranking “signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.”

A law firm must have at least one attorney who has received high enough peer reviews to be recognized in the current “Best Lawyers in America” program, which is the oldest and among the most respected attorney ranking services in the world. In fact, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has two attorneys selected as “Best Lawyers.” David K. Cohn, managing partner at the law firm, was selected into the personal injury litigation category of Best Lawyers in America, while James A. Yoro, senior partner at the firm, was selected into the workers’ compensation law listings. They join the top 5 percent of practicing attorneys in the United States in being selected.

The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Clients are asked to provide feedback on firm practice groups, addressing expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to the firm. Some clients chose to write comments about their experiences with the law firms. Law firms were asked to provide us with general demographic and background information on the law firm and attorneys and other data that speaks to the strengths of a law firm’s practice areas.

“U.S. News has more than three decades of experience evaluating key institutions in society and their service to consumers,” said Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News. “Law firms perform a vital role, and ranking them is a key extension of our overall mission to help individuals and companies alike make important decisions.”

This year’s rankings were based on the highest lawyer and firm participation on record, incorporating 8.3 million evaluations of more than 110,000 individual leading lawyers from more than 22,000 firms.

“For the 2021 ‘Best Law Firms’ publication, the evaluation process has remained just as rigorous and discerning as it did when we first started 11 years ago,” said Phil Greer, CEO of Best Lawyers. “We are proud that the ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings continue to act as an indicator of excellence throughout the legal industry.”

The “Best Law Firms” rankings can be seen in their entirety by visiting bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is an established and highly regarded personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm based in downtown Bakersfield, advocating for injured clients in the Central Valley and throughout California. Over the years, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has obtained more multi-million dollar awards and settlements than any other law firm in Kern County. It’s also the oldest personal injury law firm in the area. In all, the law firm has received more than half a billion dollars in the firm’s history on behalf of clients.

The law firm includes attorneys David Cohn, Jim Yoro, Matt Clark, Chad Boyles, Beatriz Trejo, Tanya Alsheikh, and Doug Fitz-Simmons. To learn more about each attorney, visit chainlaw.com.

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McFarland basketball coach sentenced in sexual misconduct case; Chain | Cohn | Stiles civil case for victim is ongoing

October 28, 2020 | 5:00 am


A former McFarland High basketball coach has been sentenced to state prison after he promised a 15-year-old boy a spot on the varsity team in exchange for sexual favors.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the victim in his sexual misconduct civil case.

Fernando Pruneda was sentenced to two years in prison for the charge of contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense after pleading no contest. He must also register as a sex offender.

An investigation into the high school coach was launched after a McFarland High School sophomore reported inappropriate sexual contact with the coach. According to court documents, Pruneda repeatedly contacted the boy via text message.

Pruneda offered to take him to a basketball tournament in Nevada. Pruneda told the boy not to say anything to anyone, and to inform his parents that the whole team is going. He also informed the boy that they would have to share a bed. He would also tell the boy to erase the messages between the two. According to court documents, Pruneda began to offer the boy massages after practice. Pruneda called the boy out of class to give him a massage.

Kern County Sheriff’s Office detectives became involved after meeting with the victim and his mother, and texted Pruneda in place of the victim to arrange a meeting. They arrested him at the meeting location.

The civil case is ongoing.

 

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT LAWSUITS

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has been involved in several lawsuits in recent years in representing victims of sexual abuse and sex assault:

  • Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a lawsuit against the Wasco Union High School District on behalf of a student who was the victim of sexual misconduct by an assistant football coach at the high school. Miguel Nicholas Saldana pleaded no contest to sending sexually explicit messages to the student, was sentenced to six months in jail, must perform 720 hours of community service and register as a sex offender.
  • Our attorneys filed lawsuits in federal court against the County of Kern and a juvenile corrections officer on behalf of a young woman who was sexually abused at juvenile hall. The lawsuit was settled recently for $250,000.
  • Our lawyers also filed claims on behalf of several students who were victims of sexual misconduct at North High School. Kern County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Edwin Rodriguez on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with minors 14 to 15 years old, exhibiting harmful matter to a minor, annoying a child under 18 and false imprisonment.
  • Chain | Cohn | Stiles represented Karen Frye, who was sexually molested at Lerdo Jail by a Kern County Sheriff’s Department detentions deputy. The law firm filed suit against the county for civil rights violations, conspiracy, sexual assault and battery, negligence, fraud, breach of contract and excessive use of force. The department also attempted to “buy off” Frye by offering her $1,500 in exchange for her agreement to not sue the department. That case settled for $300,000.
  • We represented a woman who was sexually assaulted by Kern County deputy Gabriel Lopez in her home in Tehachapi. Lopez sexually assaulted at least two other people as well. He pleaded no contest to two counts of assault by a public officer, two counts of false imprisonment, and two counts of sexual battery, and was sentenced to two years in prison. Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorneys also represented a 79-year-old woman who called the sheriff’s office during a dispute with her husband, who was diagnosed with late-stage Alzheimer’s. She, too, was sexually assaulted by Lopez in a similar fashion to his other victims. The third victim was quietly paid $5,000 by the department, and was unable to bring a civil claim. In addition, the partners at Chain | Cohn | Stiles penned a “Community Voices” article, calling on the County of Kern to cease practices that call for confidential settlements in lawsuits pertaining to victims of sexual assault, as well as paying “hush money” to those victims.

A new law in California allows victims of childhood sexual assault more time to file lawsuits, and seek justice. Assembly Bill 218 gives victims of childhood sexual abuse either until age 40 or five years from discovery of the abuse to file civil lawsuits. The previous limit had been 26, or within three years from discovery of the abuse. It also allows victims of all ages three years to bring claims that would have otherwise been barred due to existing statutes.

Here’s what you can do if you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused:

  • Call for help: Always call the police, a rape hotline or both following any form of sexual assault or abuse. This can be difficult to do, but the sooner you get in touch with someone, the sooner justice can be served.
  • See a doctor: Seek immediate medical care following a rape or sexual abuse scenario. Hospitals often have specialists trained to help in these types of situations and they often have someone on staff that can help with the stress.
  • Contact an attorney: After you have taken all the aforementioned steps, contact a legal professional, who has understanding of sexual abuse law.

If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Students receive scholarships, sponsored in part by Chain | Cohn | Stiles, in 9th Grito de Dolores celebration

September 23, 2020 | 6:00 am


Twenty-five students received college scholarships during the 9th annual “Grito de Dolores” celebration hosted by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, sponsored in part by Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

This year’s Grito de Dolores commemorated the 210th Mexican Independence Day. The local socially-distanced celebration was pre-recorded in front of the Liberty Bell in downtown Bakersfield, and presented virtually on Sept. 15 on Telemundo.

The event included folkloric dancers, mariachi and banda music groups, and a scholarship recognition ceremony honoring 25 Kern County students and scholarship recipients, awarded by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation. Learn more about the scholarships program below.

Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16 each year. The Grito, which occurred in the small Mexican town of Dolores, was the rallying call made by a Roman Catholic priest in front of his church to the battle against Spain.

 

SCHOLARSHIPS

The Bakersfield law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles each year sponsors student scholarships presented during El Grito celebration. Other sponsors included Adventist Health, Carlos A. Alvarez, M.D., Bank of the Sierra, Beautiful You Medical Aesthetics, Clinica Del Valle, KGET/Telemundo Valle Central, Valley Republic Bank, Valley Strong Credit Union, and XM Garcia Law.

The sponsors, in partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, awarded 25 $250 and $500 scholarships to local students in pursuit of higher education, and who are giving back in various ways to our community. This year, the foundation received nearly 100 applications from students throughout Kern County.

“These students are some of the brightest in Kern County, who care about their futures and their community,” said Jorge Barrientos, KCHCC Business Education Foundation board member and Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director. “The KCHCC Business Education Foundation, along with the sponsors, is proud to annually award these scholarships to our local students to help them in their trek to make their goals a reality.”

The scholarship winners were:

  • Dayana Aguilar
  • Guadalupe Alcala
  • Isabel Angulo
  • Aydee Arredondo
  • Mia Faith Arredondo
  • Karen Vianney Garcia Barbosa
  • Juliana Garcia Cruz
  • Sergio Flores
  • Arly Galindo
  • Estefany Garcia
  • Haylee Gonzales
  • Dory Garnica Guttierez
  • Isaac Larroque
  • Cindy Maldonado
  • Ariana Naranjo
  • Azuzena Ortiz
  • Stephanie Pantoja
  • Karla Perez
  • Priscilla Perez
  • Daniela Ortiz Samayoa
  • Jacqueline Olivia Sala
  • Briana Salas
  • Jesus Trujillo
  • Ivan Vielma
  • Cynthia Villanueva

Scholarships are offered by the KCHCC Business Education Foundation annually in the fall. For more information on future opportunities, please visit kchcc.org.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Chain | Cohn | Stiles participates in community ‘Real Talk’ discussions focused on race relations in America

September 16, 2020 | 10:00 am


Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, and the nationwide protests that followed, Bakersfield College aimed to bring us all together. With the help of local media personality Danny Morrison, the college organized a full week of conversations, events, and celebrations for Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

BC continued with a two-week virtual series called “Real Talk” to discuss racism and violence, and ways to overcome these issues; to “Light A Candle” and “Shine A Light” so to speak.

“It is a dark and confusing time, which makes it harder to see how to move forward,” Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian wrote on her blog. “But as Bakersfield College Renegades, we owe it to our community, to our veterans, and we each owe it to George Floyd, to join together, listen with humility, and to bring light that can illuminate the way ahead.”

Chain | Cohn | Stiles was proud to join in on the conversations as well. Attorney Matt Clark joined Morrison and Bob Prater — author of “A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation” — to discuss white peoples’ roles in the ongoing racial conversation. Topics during the discussion included the Black Lives Matter movement, white identity, white supremacy, exploitation, and reverse racism.

“We understand this is a process and that people of color and people of all religions and races and backgrounds and creeds and socioeconomic backgrounds can all come together as one,” Morrison told local media about the series.

You can watch the full discussion at this link on the Chain | Cohn | Stiles YouTube page, or below.

And you can watch all of the “Real Talk” discussions on the Danny Morrison Media Facebook page by clicking here.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Chad Boyles earns two awards for young professionals

September 2, 2020 | 9:44 am


One thing is for sure: Chad Boyles, personal injury lawyer with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, is someone we should all be watching.

Boyles has recently been selected for inclusion in two listings awarded to young professionals: the Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” list, and also in Bakersfield Life Magazine’s annual “20 Under 40 People to Watch” issue.

Learn more about these two recognitions below:

 

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

The “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” recognition is given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers (5 to 10 years in practice) for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. It’s part of the “Best Lawyers in America” program, which is the oldest and most respected guide to the legal profession, based on 77 areas of expertise.

Boyles joins two other lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles who have been honored by the Best Lawyers program. David K. Cohn, managing partner at the law firm, has been selected into the personal injury litigation category of Best Lawyers in America, while James A. Yoro, senior partner at the firm, was selected into the workers’ compensation law listings. This year they are also the only two attorneys in the greater Kern County area to be listed. You can view David Cohn’s “Best Lawyers” profile by clicking here, and you can view James Yoro’s profile by clicking here.

Attorneys named to the U.S. News & World Report’s “The Best Lawyers in America” are recognized by their peers in the legal industry for their professional excellence in specific practice areas. For the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, more than 8.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 62,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition, about 5 percent of lawyers in private practice in the United States. Unlike some other attorney directories and awards, lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, and inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles was also selected for inclusion in the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report, another “Best Lawyers” program which recognizes law firms for “professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Additionally, achieving a ranking “signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.”

 

20 Under 40 People to Watch

Bakersfield Life Magazine’s “20 Under 40 People to Watch” highlights outstanding young men and women whom Bakersfield can be proud of, who possess a hard work ethic, dedication, and a passion for volunteering.

The following profile on Boyles was published in Bakersfield Life Magazine:

Chad Boyles has achieved some remarkable feats for someone his age.

At 35, he was named a partner at Chain Cohn Stiles, Bakersfield’s oldest personal injury law firm. He was a 2019 graduate of Leadership Bakersfield, a 33-year tradition that challenges a group of 32 individuals to step out of their daily lives to help make the community better. Most recently, he was named on Best Lawyers’ “Ones to Watch” list, a peer-reviewed process that highlights lawyers who have been in practice for five to nine years based on 77 areas of expertise.

Despite all that, he still finds time out of his busy schedule to give back.

“It’s important to give back,” he said. “Make time when you can.”

Boyles has spent 33 of his 36 years in Bakersfield, leaving only to attend Whittier College School of Law before returning to his hometown to begin his career as an attorney. It’s a career that combines two things he loves — problem solving and helping people.

“I get to apply No. 1 to No. 2,” Boyles said. “It is definitely a motivation to solve the problem, because I am representing people and helping them navigate a really complex system that would be difficult to do on their own. It feels good at the end of the day when I know that I’ve worked hard and we get a good result for the client.”

Boyles’ involvement in the community allows him to solve problems and help people as well.

As part of the Runner Alumni Mentor Program, Boyles helps mentees figure out what direction they want to go in life. Boyles is also the committee chair for Party in the Park, which raises funds for RAMP as well as scholarships to help students with their education.

“I’m passionate because that’s our future and I want to help guide people,” Boyles said. “It can be a difficult time in your life. You may not be sure what you want to do. I just like helping them get the exposure, helping them decide what career path that they want.”

Boyles wants to be a resource he didn’t have when he was a student. He had to learn a lot through trial and error. One thing he did have, however, was the unwavering support of his parents, who instilled a strong work ethic in him at an early age.

It’s a foundation that motivates Boyles in his professional and personal life, driving him to keep learning, improve at his craft and make time to give back along the way.

“Even though I spend a lot of time at work, I still have time to give to the CSUB Alumni Association and whatnot,” Boyles said. “I did what I could to give back to future generations.”

Boyles also filmed a “Letter to the Community” featured in Bakersfield Life Magazine, which you can watch by clicking here.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

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Chain | Cohn | Stiles awards 11 drivers education scholarships in new ‘Guided Partners in Safety’ (GPS) program

August 12, 2020 | 5:00 am


The Law Office of Chain | Cohn | Stiles has awarded 11 drivers education scholarships as part of the new “Guided Partners in Safety (GPS) Scholarship” program.

The scholarships program aims to support a new generation of teen drivers, build guided partners in safety, and help pay for student driver’s education training, while keeping safety at the forefront. Over 150 area high students applied for the inaugural “GPS Scholarship” program. The winners, chosen based on grades, essay impact, and financial need included:

  • Roger Alvarado – Wonderful College Prep Academy
  • Jennifer Cazarez – South High
  • Fatima Garcia – Golden Valley High
  • Jessica Gamino – West High
  • Mayeli Gutierrez Ibarra – Foothill High
  • Allan Morales – South High
  • Leslie Cholico Navarro – Arvin High
  • Emily Ortiz – Foothill High
  • Martin Tellez – Highland High
  • Tiffany Wright – Highland High
  • Heidi Vega – Mira Monte High School

Being able to obtain permission to drive will benefit the students in various ways, they shared in their applications. West High student Jessica Gamino said, “I’ve wanted to get a job … If I could drive, so many opportunities could be available to me.” Roger Alvarado, of Wonderful College Prep, said he wants to drive to help his family, and prepare for adulthood.

“Many teenagers underestimate the risk of driving and exhibit dangerous habits,” Alvarado said in his application. “By entering driving school I will diminish the risks of danger, assist my family and become independent.

For Chain | Cohn | Stiles, which represents victims of accidents throughout the Central Valley, safety of our youth is a top priority. Auto accidents are the No. 1 killer of American teenagers, according to national statistics. Distracted driving, excessive speed, and lack of seatbelt use are major dangers and causes of teen driver crashes. Additionally, the number of teen drivers nationally is on the decline, with the cost associated to driving as one key factor, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The message of teen driving safety is even more important during the “100 Deadliest Days” – the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when more than 8,300 people have died in crashes involving teen drivers from 2008 to 2018. That’s more than seven people per day each summer.

“Our goal was to help those in need, and reinforce the importance of talking to teen drivers about the responsibilities, rules, and consequences that come with getting behind the steering wheel,” said David Cohn, managing partner and personal injury attorney. “We hope this program will help at least a little in lowering the statistics locally.”

For information on the 2021 GPS Scholarship, please stay tuned to the firm’s social media, including on Facebook @GPSscholarship, at the start of 2021.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

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