NBC article highlights increasing number of truck accidents, fatalities in US

July 31, 2014 | 10:46 am


Fatal truck accidents in the United States happen nearly 11 times every single day in this country on average, killing nearly 4,000 people each year, according to a recently released NBC News feature titled “Truck Accidents Surge, But There’s No National Outcry.”

On top of that, more than 100,000 people are injured every year in truck crashes. NBC News states that the numbers are as bad as if a commuter jet crashing every week of the year, killing everyone on board.

The numbers are getting worse through the years, according to NBC News. Truck-crash fatalities have increased since 2009. The reason: an improving economy leads to more goods being shipped on American highways and more pressure being placed on trucking companies, and drivers, to get the loads delivered on time.

NBC News interviewed with regulators, industry, lawyers and victims of truck crashes that revealed a toxic mix of causes for the deaths. The reasons include overly tired drivers, companies that don’t screen for problem drivers, and a U.S. government that is slow to force new safety technologies on to American roads. Some blame also goes to drivers who weave dangerously in and out of the way of heavier, slower-reacting trucks.

NBC argues that normally, thousands of deaths a year would generate a national outcry. But because trucking deaths are scattered in small numbers across the country, they don’t get covered in the national news; at least not someone famous becomes a victim, as what happened this summer in New Jersey when actor Tracy Morgan was involved in a fatal truck crash.

In California, a truck crash involving a FedEx truck that killed 10 people, including students, made national news.

NBC discusses the issue of government and industries being wary of putting too many restrictions in place that could harm the country’s ability to do business. The expose also highlights these interesting statistics:

  • 3,921 fatalities from truck crashes in 2012, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • 104,000 injuries from truck crashes in 2012, according to NHTSA
  • That’s more than 10 crashes and more than 284 injuries per day.
  • Fatal crashes were up more than 18 percent between 2009 and 2012
  • In the same period, passenger car fatal accidents are down 1.74 percent.
  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4.89 percent of truck drivers were taken out of service once inspected in 2012 for having too many violations. That’s 171,150 drivers.
  • On the same front, 20.13 percent of vehicles were taken out of service; that’s 2,145,733 trucks.
  • To keep up with expected growth in the trucking industry, the United States will add nearly 100,000 drivers each year over the coming decade.

For more on the NBC feature, go HERE.

As you can see, truck accidents often involve complex legal issues that require the assistance of an experienced accident lawyer. The Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have handled hundreds of truck, semi and big-rig accident cases in the firm’s 80-year history. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles immediately.

Here are some other questions and answer to consider if you’ve been involved in a truck accident:

Is my case any different if I am injured, or a family member is killed, by a truck as opposed to any other vehicle driver?

Yes. Although the same laws of negligence will apply, there are special vehicle code sections which apply only to commercial truck drivers and trucking companies and there are special licensing and training requirements of truck drivers which generally make truck accidents harder to defend and easier to win for plaintiffs.

Who can be sued in a truck accident case?

Any person or entity who was at fault for causing the accident can be sued. This includes the truck driver and the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the shipper, as well as any other driver, person or entity who in anyway contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, the manufacturer of a tire that contributed to the accident or the owner of any public or private property whose negligence contributed to the accident.

Can I still sue even if I was partially at fault for causing my own injuries in the accident?

California is a comparative fault state. A person can sue for serious Big Rig Accidents even if he or she are partially at fault, as long as he or she can prove that one or more parties are also at fault. However, the amount of a plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the amount of his or her fault. Therefore, if someone is awarded $5 million dollars in a serious big rig accidents case, but are found to be fifty percent at fault, the recovery will be reduced to $2.5 million dollars.

What damages can I, or the survivors of a loved one, recover in a truck accident injury or death case?

Under California law, a seriously injured plaintiff is entitled to recover all of his or her past and future medical expenses; past and future loss of income/earning capacity; past and future pain, suffering and emotional distress and in cases in which the defendant’s conduct is particularly bad, punitive damages which are awarded to punish the defendant. If a person dies in a truck accident, the survivors can recover monetary damages for their economic losses and emotional distress damages for loss of society, love and comfort.

For more vital questions and answers for a truck, semi- or big-rig accident case, visit our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles celebrates Delano’s 40th ‘Philippine Weekend’

July 24, 2014 | 8:48 am


Each year, thousands congregate in Delano for a month’s worth of events designed to unite, celebrate and commemorate the Kern County city’s large Filipino population.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to help the city celebrate its 40th Philippine Weekend, continuing this weekend.

Events and celebrations during the commemoration include a basketball tournament, a pub crawl, a parade, the Mr. and Mrs. Philippine Weekend Pageant, a dance contest, a variety of cultural and live musical performances, and the popular pork adobo cook-off.

“Philippine weekend began in 1975 as a way to unite American-born, Filipino-born and Mestizos — half Mexican, half Filipinos — and bring them all together, while showing the cultural history and the heritage of the Philippines,” co-organizer Jay Tamsi told The Bakersfield Californian.

On Thursday, attorneys for the Bakersfield personal injury and workers’ compensation* law firm will attend the 40th Philippine Weekend Street Fair, organized by Delano Chamber of Commerce. They include workers’ compensation* lawyer and Chain | Cohn | Stiles partner James Yoro, who is Filipino, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles associate Neil Gehlawat, the son of a longtime and well-known Delano pediatrician, Dr. Dilbagh Gehlawat of Delano Pediatrics Group.

Earlier this year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took park in the Delano Chamber of Commerce‘s “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and Street Faire.” The street fairs give Chain | Cohn | Stiles a chance to answer local resident’s legal questions, share tips and information, and give out Chain | Cohn | Stiles goodies to the families in Delano.

This Thursday’s fair will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Main Street, between Cecil and 13th avenues. The fairs feature vendor and informational booths from Kern County service providers.

Attorney James Yoro will also be taking part in the adobo contest, judging who in Delano makes the best “unofficial national dish of the Philippines,” according to Tamsi.

“Not only do local families and restaurants compete, we now have people coming from throughout the state to participate in our cook-off, which is something that is very unique to our festival,” Tamsi told The Californian.

Besides the street fairs and during Philippine Weekend, you can also find Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ presence at several Delano restaurants and business — including Sylvia’s Clerical Solutions and Lupe’s Restaurant – where you’ll find our business cards.

UPDATE: Chain | Cohn | Stiles had a great time taking part in the Philippine Weekend festivities. Go HERE to see pictures from events.

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* NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with correctional officers to provide legal services

July 21, 2014 | 9:39 am


Nearly 50 years ago, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles pioneered Group Law Services, which provides legal assistance to the working people in Kern County.

Members of Group Law Services groups and businesses can take full advantage of membership benefits including free consultations, reduced legal fees and notary assistance.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to partner once again this year with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which represents more than 30,000 correctional peace officers working inside California’s prisons and youth facilities, and the state’s parole agents who supervise inmates after their release.

According to the CCPOA, the group’s mission is to promote and enhance the correctional profession, protect the safety of those engaged in corrections and advocate for the laws, funding and policies needed to improve prison operations and protect public safety.

“Over the years, CCPOA has won a number of key reforms, including psychological screening for new officers, additional training and improved safety equipment and practices,” the CCPOA states on its website. “CCPOA has a long, proud history of safeguarding the rights and welfare of the men and women it represents – dedicated professionals who do a tough, dangerous and essential job.”

The lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for decades have represented correctional officers in Kern County and across the state in various workers’ compensation* and personal injury cases. Through Group Law Services, correctional peace officers can receive these services and other benefits anytime they’re in need.

In fact, correctional officers throughout the state can see an ad for Chain | Cohn | Stiles in the PeaceKeeper, the official quarterly publication by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. You can find the ad by clicking here.

The publication is printed to foster professionalism and communication among correctional personnel. Correctional officers who dial the number in the ad, or visit our website, get all of the legal benefits through the Group Law Services program.

If you are currently not a member of Group Law Services but are interested in becoming a member, please direct membership requests to Chain | Cohn | Stiles Marketing Director Jorge Barrientos at 661-323-4000.

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*Notice: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Remember Kaitlyn’s Law when out in the Bakersfield heat

July 17, 2014 | 9:54 am


The San Joaquin Valley heat continues to beat down on the streets of Bakersfield and Kern County. It’s important to be as safe as possible when outside, and remember Kaitlyn’s Law if you’re driving with young ones in your vehicle.

Kaitlyn’s Law was adopted in 2002 following the death of 6-month-old Kaitlyn Russell. She was left unattended in 100 degree heat by her babysitter for several hours and was later found dead. Kaitlyn’s Law makes it illegal for children ages 6 years or younger to be left unattended in a vehicle without supervision of a person who is 12 years or older when:

  • There are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety;
  • And when the vehicle’s engine is running and/or the vehicle’s key is in the ignition.

As temperatures in Bakersfield continue to remain in triple digits and high double digits, the risk of vehicular hyperthermia, or heat stroke remains – especially when young children are left unattended in vehicles. Regardless of how or why a child is left behind, the end result can be devastating, the Bakersfield Police Department states in a recently released advisory.

Studies have shown that within 20 minutes, air temperature in a small car exposed to the sun on a 95-degree day exceeded 122 degrees inside of the vehicle. Within 40 minutes the temperature soared to 150° degrees. Leaving a window slightly opened or cracked did little to prevent the temperature from rising to a level dangerous for children, vulnerable adults and pets, according to Bakersfield Police Department. No matter what the weather is like, or length of time you need to be away from your vehicle, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle is extremely risky, and can result in tragedy.

Recently, a father in North Carolina made national headlines and his video went viral when he tested the car heat. After seeing a story about yet another toddler death after the baby was left alone in a hot car, the father got into his car on a 90-degree day, rolled up the windows and switched off the air-conditioner. You can watch the video here.

Leaving children in cars also poses many dangers besides hyperthermia. Dangers to children left unattended in cars include carbon monoxide poisoning, runaway vehicles, carjacking, child abduction, trunk entrapment and emotional trauma, according to safety officials.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SAFE KIDS, Bakersfield Police Department and the Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles recommend following these safety rules to avoid heat-related injuries or other vehicle dangers:

  • Never leave a child alone in or around a vehicle.
  • Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination, particularly when loading and unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
  • Place a reminder of your child’s presence where you’ll be sure to see it before leaving the vehicle (diaper bag next to your briefcase and baby blanket under your lunch, for example)
  • Never leave a child in a vehicle with the motor running or the key in the ignition.
  • Keep car keys away from children at all times.
  • Always lock your car, even at home, and remind your friends and neighbors to do the same.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
  • Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent children from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
  • Dial 9-1-1 immediately if you see young children left unattended in vehicles.
  • Heat in vehicles is also a risk to seniors and pets.

For more summer safety tips, view these previous safety posts on chainlawblog.com, or visit our safety advisories at ChainLaw.com.

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UPDATE

Following this post last week, Amber Rollins, the director of “Kids and Cars” — a nonprofit public safety awareness website for child safety around automobiles — wrote Chain | Cohn | Stiles to make readers aware of a campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in vehicles.

KidsAndCars.org has launched a “We the People” petition drive on the White House petition website to urge the White House to authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation to:

  • Provide funding for research and development of innovative technology to detect a child in the rear seat when a driver leaves the vehicle and a child is left alone.
  • Identify, evaluate and test new technology to accelerate implementation of the most feasible and effective solutions.
  • Require installation of technology in all vehicles and child safety seats to prevent children from being left alone in vehicles.

The goal of the campaign is to get 100,000 signatures on the petition by Aug. 12. Go to http://wh.gov/lL8nX to sign the petition.

Motorcycle safety: Be aware, share the road, ride sober

July 11, 2014 | 9:57 am


Two recent motorcycle accidents resulting in fatalities have local law enforcement officers and safety officials urging drivers and motorcycle riders to be more aware and alert while on Bakersfield roads, according to media reports.

Last month, a Bakersfield woman died after she crashed into a car when it turned in front of her motorcycle. The driver of the car did not see the motorcycle, California Highway Patrol officials reported.

Then, earlier this week, a Tehachapi man was killed when he crashed into a big rig that had turned into his path. The motorcyclist, who had the right of way, dropped his bike to its side to avoid the collision, but it was not enough to avoid impact, according to CHP reports.

Safety officials say it’s important for all drivers on the road to pay attention, share the road and ride sober. All motorists are reminded, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for example, to safely share the road with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Motorcyclists, too, must do what they can to make themselves visible to other motorists.

Also, statistics show that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads. For this reason, the safety administration urges all motorcycle riders to always ride smart and sober.

A national report by the safety administration on motorcycle safety lists 82 recommendations. To read those, go here.

The Bakersfield personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, too, advises Kern County motorists of all sorts to drive safe. Additionally, it’s important for all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, as is required by law in California.

But if the unexpected happens, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have the knowledge and expertise to deal with cases involving motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle-related accident, contact the law firm immediately.

The law firm has compiled several frequently asked questions and answers related to motorcycle accidents. Read some of them below, and all of them at Chainlaw.com.

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Is an investigation of my motorcycle accident case important?

It is critical. Since there is almost a presumption in the general public that motorcyclists assume the risk for their own injuries and they are usually at fault for causing accidents, it is essential that a quick and thorough investigation is performed to establish fault on other responsible people or entities and to establish that the motorcyclist did little or nothing to contribute to the accident.

Investigation should consist of an examination of the scene, an examination of the instrumentalities that were involved in the accident, obtaining statements from witnesses and obtaining the reports from investigating agencies. Of prime importance is maintaining the motorcycle and helmet in the exact condition they were in at the moment when the motorcyclist came to rest after an accident.

How long do I have after my accident to file my motorcycle injury case?

A motorcycle accident and/or wrongful death action, under California law, must be brought within two years of the date of the accident.

In cases against public entities, a claim must be filed against the public entity within six months from the date of the accident. If the plaintiff is a minor, a minor has until their 19th birthday to bring a case unless there is a government claim in which a minor should bring the claim within six months of the accident, or one year at the latest.

Is it important to retain an attorney for my motorcycle accident case?

Yes, if the motorcycle accident has resulted in a serious injury or death. Without an attorney, there will always be an assumption that the motorcyclist was at fault and evidence will be gathered by the other side to support that contention. You need to hire an attorney to perform investigation and retain the right experts to prove your case and your injuries. Further, through the litigation, an attorney will be able to cross-examine witnesses against you and hopefully turn their testimony to your favor.

CCS assists with annual hospital, burn center fundraising barbecue

July 7, 2014 | 9:46 am


Few things go together better than summer and barbecue — unless you add Bakersfield and fundraising into the mix.

The second annual ” 5 Alarm Barbecue,” benefiting the San Joaquin Community Hospital‘s Grossman Burn Center, raised more than $70,000, according to media reports. That’s more than $35,000 worth of hamburger lunches that were sold, combined with a matching contribution by partnering company Chevron.

All of the money raised will go toward helping burn survivors in Kern County during their recovery.

The event featured hundreds of volunteers who grilled the burgers, packaged them and sold or delivered them to hungry Bakersfield residents during lunchtime on Wednesday, July 2. The “5 Alarm Barbecue” was stationed on the corner of 21st and L streets, complete with a portable kitchen and a Bakersfield Fire Department truck.

Among the numerous volunteers was Chain | Cohn | Stiles senior partner and San Joaquin Community Hospital Foundation board member Matt Clark, who manned the barbecue grill and served up hot and juicy hamburgers.

In addition, Clark’s Bakersfield personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm ordered more than 20 lunches for its employees.

According to media reports, many patrons ordered just a single $10 lunch but donated much more, and still others dropped off checks for large amounts without any lunch.

The attorneys and staff at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for years have supported San Joaquin’s Grossman Burn Center, and burn victims in general. In 2009, Chain | Cohn | Stiles donated $200,000 to San Joaquin Community Hospital’s Grossman Burn Center ICU. Today, it is known as the “Chain | Cohn | Stiles ICU, Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital.”

The “5 Alarm Barbecue” was also aimed to raise awareness of the Grossman Burn Center. Organizers of the event said that supporters of the barbecue make a big impact, because donations go toward:

  • Providing critical financial assistance to the smallest burn survivors – more than 42 percent of the patients in the Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin are children.
  • Helping offset the costs of customized face shield and pressure garments that greatly reduce scarring and increase mobility in the affected burn areas.
  • Assisting financially challenged families with fuel cars and special accommodations while their children are treated in the burn center.
  • Offering psychological counseling for young burn survivors to help them cope with the non-physical effects of their injuries.
  • Creating another financial assistance option for the various additional needs of child burn survivors that may not be covered through insurance.

To learn more about the Grossman Burn Center and Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ support, go here.

CCS senior partner Matt Clark chosen by Bakersfield Life magazine as one of ’20 Under 40 People to Watch’

June 30, 2014 | 9:25 am


Bakersfield personal injury lawyer Matthew C. Clark has been chosen as one of the “20 Under 40 People to Watch” by Bakersfield Life Magazine for 2014.

Clark was featured in the 20 Under 40 feature in the local monthly lifestyle magazine released Saturday, June 28, in The Bakersfield Californian. It was the second annual 20 Under 40 feature, where about 100 up and coming local young professionals between 18 and 39 years old were nominated.

“It was difficult to choose, but in the end, Bakersfield Life’s selection committee could only honor 20 of these shining stars who are doing brilliant things for the city they call home,” according to the magazine. “Each leader is making their mark in a different way; some own their own businesses while others have put in time and love to causes dear to their heart.”

Clark was honored with 19 other local honorees during a recognition ceremony on Friday, June 27 at The Mark Restaurant, the day before the magazine was released.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this group. It makes me proud to live here,” Clark said after receiving a plaque and several certificates from local dignitaries and elected officials. “I moved back here after school … And being around all of you reminds me of why I moved.”

The magazine highlighted Clark’s community service, inspirations and secret talents, among other things. It read as follows:

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Matthew C. Clark

Attorney/senior partner with Chain | Cohn | Stiles

Age: 38

Community involvement: Clinica Sierra Vista board, San Joaquin Community Hospital Foundation board, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Miracle Society member, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Walk in Kern County volunteer and board member.

Professional in your field who inspires you: Although this may sound contrived, I am honestly inspired by my law partners, Dave Cohn, Dave Stiles and Jim Yoro. My successes are a result of their mentoring and encouragement.

Secret talent: Since helping my in-laws build a pizza oven in their backyard, I’ve become a pretty decent pizza chef. Also, it’s been said that I have an “intimidating head of hair,” at least according to Scott Cox.

How do you hope to make a difference in Bakersfield? I grew up in Bakersfield, moved away for school and then returned. I’ve been back for about 13 years now. During this time, I have worked with clients of every imaginable background and one thing is universal to all of them — the need for quality, local medical care. Through my volunteer activities and affiliations, I have tried to commit my time toward this goal and will continue to do so in the future.

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You can read the online version of the feature and view more pictures at bakersfieldlife.com. You can also read the magazine version online here, or read the entire magazine online here. And you can pick up a copy at The Bakersfield Californian.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles supports one of Kern’s largest cultural events of the year

May 27, 2014 | 10:15 am


Among the largest cultural events in Kern County — and among the most popular in Bakersfield’s Hispanic and Latino communities — is the annual Menduo Cook-Off, presented each year by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

This year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to be a supporter of the 16th annual Menudo Cook-Off, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 1, at the Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 P St.

The event, which draws more than 10,000 people to the fairgrounds, features vendor booths, live entertainment, kids’ activities, and, of course, a food competition that centers around the traditional Hispanic soup.

Menudo is a spicy tripe and hominy soup. Last year, 75 contestants from throughout the state entered the competition and a panel of 15 judges, ranging from Mexican restaurant owners and local chefs to local attorneys and celebrities, evaluated the entries.

Winners of the cook-off win cash prizes, and also bragging rights for having the best menudo in Kern County.

This year, live entertainment will also be a draw. Musical acts who will be featured include Velorio, Mento Buru, Mariachi San Marcos and Hind Site.

Hispanic chamber of commerce President Jay Tamsi told Bakersfield Life Magazine that the event caters to families who want to enjoy good music and food while supporting a good cause — the chamber. The event allows Hispanic chamber of commerce to continue its ongoing mission to promote, enhance and provide business services and cultural resources to our community in Kern County and provide scholarships to students.

At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we believe in supporting our community in and out of the courtroom. The Bakersfield personal injury law firm is a member of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which was started in 1985 to promote the interests of Hispanic and minority business owners. The chamber now has more than 600 members and represents more than 400,000 people of Hispanic heritage.

Also, Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director Jorge Barrientos is the vice president of the Hispanic chamber of commerce’s Business Education Foundation, which grants students scholarships and provides resources for businesses in Kern County.

For the cook-off, you’ll see the Chain | Cohn | Stiles logo on event fliers showcased around town and at the event, and the law firm will also be hosting an informational booth on the day of the event.

For more information on the chamber or the menudo cook-off, call the chamber office at 633-5495 or visit www.kchcc.org.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles founder Morris Chain honored with ‘100 Stars Award’

May 19, 2014 | 9:27 am


Bakersfield College hosted its 100th commencement on Friday, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles congratulates all of the graduates who took part in this special ceremony. The Bakersfield junior college is especially significant for our law firm, as our founder — Morris Chain — and managing partner David K. Cohn are graduates of the college.

As part of its centennial celebration, acknowledging the college’s accomplishments and impact in our community, college officials recognized 100 alumni, retirees and community members who had a great impact on Bakersfield College.

Each recipient of the 100 Stars Award received a medal from BC President Sonya Christian, and their biographies and pictures are placed in the trophy cabinet in the campus library, and also featured on the BC website.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to have Morris Chain featured as one of the 100 Stars. Chain died in 1977, and he has no immediate family in Bakersfield. Cohn accepted the award on his family’s behalf during the Bakersfield College student scholarship awards Honor Reception on May 9 in the Gil Bishop Gymnasium. Here is Morris Chain biography that was read during the awards ceremony.

It’s safe to say that without Morris B. Chain, one of the most prominent lawyers in Kern County history, there would be no Bakersfield College Renegades.

That’s because Chain, who played BC football for three years, dubbed the team as the “Renegades” in the 1920s.

Chain, who attended elementary and secondary schools in Bakersfield, also graduated from BC. He studied law at University of Southern California and eventually returned to Bakersfield, where he founded his own law firm in 1934.

He quickly rose to prominence throughout our community and in local courts, building his reputation as a champion of the underdog and laying the foundation for what has become San Joaquin Valley’s leading law firm. Awarded the coveted Bar and Bench Award by the Kern County Bar Association in 1976, local dignitaries described Chain as “one of the most remarkable men in the history of the community, and certainly in the history of the legal community of Kern County.”

Chain died in 1977. Today, Chain | Cohn | Stiles – celebrating its 80-year anniversary this year – carries on Morris Chain’s tradition of justice and community service.

Chain joined 99 other BC standouts who have made tremendous impacts in our community, and throughout the country. They include Congressman Kevin McCarthy, baseball player George Culver and Mayor Harvey Hall, among many others.

Bike race, sponsored by Chain | Cohn | Stiles, to roll through streets of Bakersfield

May 16, 2014 | 11:37 am


As mentioned in a previous blog post, May is National Bike Month, as well as National Bike Safety Month.

At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we believe in bicycle safety, and several of the Bakersfield personal injury lawyers and employees at the law firm are bike enthusiasts and practice safety measures each time they hop on their bicycles. It’s also important for a community business, like ours, to support community programs and events.

Combining bike safety with community support, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is sponsoring the De VleesHuis race on Saturday, May 17, as well as the 2014 Downtown Criterium on Sunday, May 18.

Saturday’s De VleesHuis, slugged as “a road race for the strong,” will be a 30-mile loop through Bakersfield, with easy flats, a long stead climb and some puncher climbs in between the flats and back to the finish, according to even organizers. It will reach an elevation of nearly 2,500 feet. To see the route, go HERE.

The Downtown Criterium will be held on Sunday, and will feature Formula One style bike racing on Bakersfield’s city streets. The four-corner rectangle course will deliver a fun, exciting race around a downtown Bakersfield park venue. The course is .8 miles.

The family-friendly event will feature music, a kid’s race, food and “the fastest race in Kern County,” event organizers said. It is being sponsored and hosted by Bike Bakersfield, USA Cycling and, of course, Chain | Cohn | Stiles, among others.

For more on the events, visit SamBarn Promotions, which is putting on the event, or Bike Bakersfield, a local nonprofit bicycle advocacy group.

If you are planning to ride your bicycle throughout Bakersfield this weekend, please keep in mind these bicycle safety tips, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • Ride and drive focused, never distracted.
  • Ride and drive prepared; always expect the unexpected.
  • Put safety first; we never know when a crash will occur, regardless of skill level or age; always wear a bicycle helmet when on a bicycle and a seat belt when in a car.
  • Follow the rules of the road; a bicyclist is considered a vehicle on the road with all the rights on the roadway and responsibilities of motorized traffic.
  • Expect law enforcement officers to monitor and address unsafe behaviors between motorists and bicyclists that put bicyclists at risk.
  • Share the road; both vehicle drivers (motorist and bicyclist) should look out for one another and show mutual respect.

For more resources related to bicycle safety and what to do in case of an bicycle accident, including Frequently Asked Questions, go HERE.