Chain | Cohn | Stiles matches donation to MADD Kern County by mother of Tehachapi teenager who died after being struck, killed by DUI driver

August 23, 2017 | 8:44 am


The mother of Leslie Balderrama, a Tehachapi teenager who was struck and killed by a DUI driver in 2015, has donated $2,500 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County, following the settlement of her wrongful death lawsuit.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the law firm that represented mother Denise Natividad, matched the donation. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

“When we became victims of a DUI crime, MADD Kern County became our advocate and worked hard to make sure we had a voice, and treated our family with compassion,” said Denise Natividad, mother of Leslie Balderrama. “We’re able to give back now and help another local family who unfortunately will have to deal with the aftermath of the actions of a drunk or drugged driver.”

Added Matt Clark, Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney for the Natividad family:

“The crash that claimed the life of Leslie Baldarrama was incredibly tragic and 100 percent avoidable like all DUI crashes. Our law firm is honored to continue to help MADD Kern County, and it’s touching to know that Leslie’s family feels the same way.”

The $5,000 will go toward the fourth annual Bakersfield Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash, MADD Kern County’s annual event that raises funds to help innocent victims of local DUI crashes, raises awareness of the DUI epidemic in our community, and helps fund MADD Kern County programs, including the court advocate program that helped the Natividad family through the criminal trial. Chain | Cohn | Stiles is serving as a presenting sponsor for the event.

“Our wish is to get to a point where MADD Kern County’s services aren’t needed,” said Carla Pearson, victim services specialist with MADD Kern County. “Until then, we’re grateful for the support from Denise Natividad, which helps us continue to advocate for victims, and fight to end drunk and drugged driving in Kern County forever.”

The 2017 Bakersfield Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash will be held the morning of Sept. 23 at Park at River Walk. You can help by signing up to walk, run (free kid’s fun run, 5K or 10K), joining as a team captain, donating or volunteering. The family of Leslie Balderrama has formed a team, and will be in attendance. For more information, go to walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

Since 2009, our community has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year, with 4,056 DUI arrests in 2016, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. That’s more than 11 DUI arrests per day. Sadly, many impaired drivers weren’t stopped in time, and instead caused major damage to innocent lives.

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If you or someone you know is injured in a crash at the fault of someone else, please contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.

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Attorney Neil Gehlawat, father give Delano high schools funding boost with generous donation

March 2, 2016 | 8:45 am


Editor’s Note: Chain | Cohn | Stiles partner Neil Gehlawat and his father, Delano doctor Dilbagh Gehlawat, recently gave a more than generous donation to the Delano Joint Union School District, which was covered by local media. Below is the news release, with information about the donation and how it will help, followed by local media coverage. 

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The Delano Joint Union High School District has received a $100,000 donation from a Bakersfield family and Delano doctor to help provide after-school and weekend tutoring for high school students, mentors for nearby elementary students, scholarships, and a summer bridge program to help incoming high-schoolers succeed.

The donation was made by Dr. Dilbagh Gehlawat and son Neil Gehlawat, an attorney at Bakersfield law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles. Dr. Gehlawat, a pediatrician, has taken care of children in Delano and surrounding areas for the past 35 years.

“We anticipate this donation could potentially reach hundreds of students,” district Superintendent Terri Nuckols said in a statement.

Said the Gehlawats in a statement: “We believe that education is the great equalizer in our society. No child, regardless of their socio-economic background, should be denied access to educational opportunities that will have a positive impact on their future. Our hope is that this donation will help provide high school students in Delano with the resources and opportunities needed to pursue a college education after high school.”

The donation will allow for the following programs in Delano:

  • Provide after-school tutoring by student mentors for high school students. Funding would pay for teacher coaches, tutor training, and funding additional after-school programs.
  • Provide music consultants and high-achieving students to mentor elementary students in music, math and science, including those in nearby rural school districts in Earlimart and Pond. Many elective programs in these areas were discontinued with the budget cuts over the past several years. Funding would be used to provide tutors, pay music consultants, provide training and for transportation.
  • Provide funding for Saturday school tutorials for students with attendance issues. The program will allow students to make up course work that was missed due to absences.  Funding would pay for sessions at all sites, mentoring, tutoring and instructors.
  • Provide a summer bridge program for incoming freshmen to introduce them to the high school experience and beyond. The program sets a 10-year plan where students could potentially earn college credit while in high school.
  • Provide scholarships to mentors and tutors who successfully participate in any of the programs above.

Dilbagh and Neil Gehlawat were honored at a recent DJUHSD school board meeting. The Gehlawats accepted a plaque from the school district administration.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Make the season of giving a year-round endeavor

December 16, 2015 | 10:32 am


For many, December is a time of giving. But for Chain | Cohn | Stiles, giving isn’t limited to the one month.

In fact, the law firm has donated, supported and participated in dozens of Bakersfield and Kern County causes throughout 2015. As we approach the end of 2015 and look ahead to the New Year, please consider donating and supporting the following law firm-sponsored causes and nonprofit organizations:

  • Fog Run: The 27th Fog Run by the Probation Auxiliary County of Kern will take place on Jan. 9, 2016, and benefits local victims of violent crimes, and to help at-risk youth turn their lives around.
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County: Chain | Cohn | Stiles is a major sponsors and organizer of the group’s annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K, aimed to raise awareness in our community of the effect of drinking and driving, raise funds to stop drunken driving and underage drinking locally, and provide support to victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes.
  • Bakersfield Crush: A 10 and under competitive club baseball team in Kern County.
  • Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: The law firm sponsors several KCHCC events per year that support local business and raise funds for scholarships.
  • Brain Injury Association of California: The annual Walk for Brain Injury aims to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries throughout Bakersfield and Kern County.
  • Kern County Corporate Challenge / League of Dreams: Chain | Cohn | Stiles takes part in the annual Olympic-style, business-versus-business competition that benefits League of Dreams, a free Kern County sports league for children with disabilities.
  • Walk for Justice: The walk aims to speak out against local cases of police misconduct, wrongful death and civil rights violations.
  • Bakersfield West Rotary Cioppino Feed: The annual fundraiser benefits the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the Bakersfield West Rotary Breast Cancer Fund at San Joaquin Community Hospital, the Bakersfield West Rotary Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County.
  • Philippine Weekend: The annual celebration in Delano highlights cultural history and the heritage of the Philippines, and raises funds for goodwill in Delano. Attorney James Yoro is an active participant.
  • Bakersfield Museum of Art: Year-round, Chain | Cohn | Stiles supports the local art museum and its educational programs.
  • Bike Bakersfield: The law firm partners with this bicycle advocacy group to give safety helmets to children in need.
  • U.S. Army All-Star Bowl: The Kern County all-star football game helps support local athletics.
  • Kern County Bar Association: Law firm attorneys are members of this group. The foundation provides an outlet for charitable giving which will recognize, promote, and encourage professionalism, equal access to justice and public awareness of the role of judges and lawyers in our community.
  • North of the River Chamber of Commerce: The law firm supports several NOR Chamber events that support local businesses and supports local charities.
  • Downtown Business Association: The group provides support to downtown Bakersfield businesses, and in a new Downtown Clean Team project — supported by Chain | Cohn | Stiles — provides jobs to homeless center residents while keeping our town clean.
  • San Joaquin Community Hospital, Grossman Burn Center: For years, the firm has supported the center that provides care to local burn victims. You can find attorney Matt Clark manning a grill during the annual 5 Alarm BBQ fundraiser.
  • Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation: This nonprofit service is dedicated to assisting burn survivors and assuring the best possible burn care is provided to our community.
  • Optimal Hospice Care, Golf in the Sun and Under the Stars: The group’s annual tournament raises money for the Optimal Hospice Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes activities aimed to ensure that hospice care and other compassionate programs are available for families facing a life-limiting illness, with particular emphasis on the under-insured or uninsured population.
  • New Advances for People with Disabilities: The local nonprofit provides critical services to some of the most vulnerable residents in Kern County.
  • California Applicants Attorneys Association: The group strives to help attorneys fighting to help those with work-related injuries.
  • Nathan’s Army 5K: The annual race aims to raise awareness and fight against Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma — DIPG for short.
  • California Highway Patrol CHiPs for Tips: The fundraiser supports the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows and Orphans Trust Fund, which goes toward to families when a loved one is killed in or off the line of duty.
  • CSU Bakersfield Alumni Association Party in the Park: The association’s annual event raises funds for alumni scholarships, membership outreach, and mentoring opportunities for current CSUB students. Attorneys Beatriz Trejo and Chad Boyles are alumni of CSUB.
  • Bakersfield Active 20-30 Club: The local group of young philanthropists puts on several annual events that support local children’s charities, including Christmas Experience and Childspree.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County: This well-known group enables all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
  • Latina Leaders of Kern County: Our attorneys our members of this group that fosters leadership, identifies and develops opportunities for Latinas, and influences key issues affecting our community.
  • National Center for Victims of Crime: This group aims to empower crime victims, and helps them fight against these crimes in civil court.
  • India Association of San Joaquin Valley: The group helps support the local Indian community, and attorney Neil Gehlawat is an active member.

This list does not include all nonprofits, organizations and fundraising events supported by Chain | Cohn | Stiles. For more on the law firm’s community work, click here.

Like the late Dr. Grossman, CCS devoted to providing care for burn victims

March 19, 2014 | 9:44 am


In 2009, San Joaquin Community Hospital established the Grossman Burn Center. Before then, Bakersfield and Kern County residents in need of specialized burn care had to travel more than 100 miles to Fresno or Los Angeles for treatment.

Since opening in Bakersfield, the Grossman Burn Center has averaged about 350 patients annually, according to The Bakersfield Californian.

Dr. A. Richard Grossman, for whom the center is named after, died recently at 81. The plastic and reconstructive surgeon pioneered care for burn patients in Sherman Oaks four decades ago. In the decades that followed, Grossman Burn Centers were established in Phoenix, Kansas City and, of course, in Bakersfield.

Like Grossman, the attorneys and staff at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for decades, too, have been devoted to providing proper care for burn victims in representing them. For this reason, Chain | Cohn | Stiles in 2009 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.”

“We’ve seen firsthand in our work representing burn victims how the Grossman Burn Center at SJCH provides world-class care,” CCS managing partner David K. Cohn said in 2012 during a ceremony acknowledging the donation. “It was important to us as a law firm and as part of this community to be part of bringing state-of-the-art burn care to Kern County. In addition, the Grossman Burn Center’s assistance to the families of children without sufficient financial resources to battle serious burn injuries is something we are very proud to support.”

Today, we honor Dr. Grossman for his work that still resonates.

To learn more about the local Grossman Burn Center and its services, visit www.sjch.us/burncenter. And to learn more about how Chain | Cohn | Stiles serves burn victims, go HERE.