Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with Bike Bakersfield to give away hundreds of bicycle lights, safety helmets this fall

October 18, 2017 | 9:26 am


At least 30 pedestrians and bicyclists in Kern County have lost their lives in roadway accidents in 2017. Many of them were not properly illuminated during night hours.

As part of its mission to reduce the number of accidents in our community, Bike Bakersfield – in partnership with Chain | Cohn | Stiles and Kern Family Health Care – will be giving away hundreds of free bicycle lights and over 100 safety helmets throughout Kern County over several weeks starting this Thursday, Oct. 19.

“Project Light Up The Night” is Bike Bakersfield’s annual program that delivers sets of free bicycle lights in parts of our community where bicycles are used the most – Oildale, Arvin, east Bakersfield, and southeast Bakersfield. This year, free safety helmets of all sizes will also be provided thanks to support from the law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Bike Bakersfield staff and volunteers will install lights for immediate use, and educate bicyclists on how to properly fit and adjust helmets. One set of lights and one helmet will be given per person with his or her bicycle present.

“Many cyclists still ride at night without lights, a practice that is illegal and life-threatening. And with the sun setting early this time of year, it is important that bicyclists be visible on the roadway,” said Jack Becker, Bike Bakersfield program manager. “Being visible to motorists is a key part of staying safe while riding a bicycle on the road, and these bright LED lights will let drivers know you’re there.”

For Chain | Cohn | Stiles, which often sees victims of vehicle versus bicycle accidents, providing safety equipment to children and adult bike riders who otherwise cannot afford one is just one key step toward improving safety on our roadways. The law firm for several years now has partnered with Bike Bakersfield in its “Kidical Mass” bike repair, safety demonstration, a group bike ride program, as well as the safety light and helmet giveaway.

“We hope these programs led by Bike Bakersfield not only helps raise awareness of the importance of bicycle safety and sharing the road with all vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, but also will help decrease the number of injuries caused by crashes here in Kern County,” said David Cohn, managing partner and veteran personal injury attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

If you are a bicycle rider in need of a bicycle light or safety helmet, please take note of the following details to collect yours:

  • WHAT: Bike Bakersfield’s “Project Light Up The Night”
  • WHO: All residents who arrive with a bicycle are eligible for free lights and a helmet
  • WHEN: From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays (Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 2 and Nov. 9)
  • WHERE: Four locations: Corner of Roberts Lane and N. Chester Avenue in Oildale; Niles Street and Mount Vernon Avenue in east Bakersfield; Planz Park in south Bakersfield; and Bike Arvin in Arvin. Click here to view a map for locations.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Veteran local law enforcement officer, spokesman joins Chain | Cohn | Stiles as investigator

October 4, 2017 | 8:44 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles — the Bakersfield-based accident, injury and workers’ compensation law firm — has welcomed a new investigator to its team, and it’s a familiar face for Kern County.

Ray Pruitt, who served as a media spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office for nearly a decade, will be assisting in case development and management, and gathering vital evidence and information for personal injury cases at Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Pruitt has nearly 25 years of law enforcement and investigative experience. He began his career in 1988 with the Bakersfield Police Department, worked as a private investigator for three years, and joined the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in 2001. He worked in the KCSO Crime Prevention Department and was the spokesman / public information officer for nearly eight years.

“I have lived my entire life in Kern County and have spent the last 25 years working to serve and protect the citizens of our great community,” Pruitt said. “I feel extremely fortunate to be a member of the Chain | Cohn | Stiles team, a law firm with a rich tradition of protecting the rights of and seeking justice for those who have been victimized.”

Pruitt grew up in Delano and graduated from McFarland High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from the University of Phoenix, a worker’s compensation law certificate from CSU Bakersfield. He has taught criminal justice classes at both the college and law enforcement academy level. Ray has testified as a criminal court expert in Kern County Superior Court, and is well known in the law enforcement and business community in Kern County.

He’s been married for 25 years, and has two adult children – a student at CSU Bakersfield the other a student Bakersfield College – as well as a grandson.

Pruitt joins an experienced personal injury department that includes partners David CohnMatt Clark and Neil Gehlawat, and associate attorneys Tanya AlsheikhChad Boyles and Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller. Other attorneys on the law firm’s team include partner James Yoro and associate attorney Beatriz Trejo in the workers’ compensation department.

“Standing up for victims and helping them when they have been harmed by the actions of another person is something I am very passionate about,” Pruitt said. “I have spent the majority of my adult life working to help those who need help, and helping their families as well. Ultimately, helping people gain some sense of closure when they have been harmed due to the actions of another is what I am most looking forward to at Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Pruitt was recently featured in the “People in Business” section of The Bakersfield Californian. See it here. 

Follow Pruitt on Facebook at Facebook.com/raypruittchaincohnstiles. And to learn more about Pruitt, visit the Chain | Cohn | Stiles website at chainlaw.com.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Fourth annual ‘Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash’, presented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles, brings out 1,000, raises over $80,000 for MADD Kern County

September 27, 2017 | 9:18 am


Kern County came together Saturday morning at the Park at River Walk to support victims of DUI crashes, call for an end of drunk and drugged driving, and raise more than $80,000 for MADD Kern County in the process.

The fourth annual Bakersfield Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash – presented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles – is aimed to raise awareness of the DUI problem in locally, raise funds for MADD Kern County’s educational programs and victim services, and support local victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes. Bringing out around 1,000 people registered for a kid’s fun run, 5K and 10K, the event has become one of the largest fundraising running events in Kern County, according to Bakersfield Track Club.

The morning featured an opening ceremony with statements from representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, victims of DUI crashes, Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and Bakersfield Councilman Andrae Gonzales, among others. It was followed by a kid’s fun run presented by the Bakersfield Active 20-30 Club, timed 5K and 10K runs, with medals awarded in age categories, and a march by victims, their families and supporters from our community.

Besides serving as a presenting sponsor, Chain | Cohn | Stiles plays a role in organizing the event. Marketing Director Jorge Barrientos serves as the planning committee chairman, attorney Matt Clark leads the sponsorship committee, and attorney Neil Gehlawat serves as a member of the MADD Kern County Advisory Board.

“This event keeps growing each year, which shows that Kern County has had enough. Our local residents want safer streets,” said Carla Pearson, victim services specialist for MADD Kern County. “We hope Kern County will continue alongside us for the next 365 days as we work to prevent this 100 percent preventable crime, and ultimately end drunk and drugged driving.”

Joining in the event as sponsors were Chain | Cohn | Stiles (presenting sponsor), Chevron, Wells Fargo, Kern County Prosecutors Association, Special Treatment Education & Prevention Services Inc., FedEx, Johnson Attorneys Group, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, Ira and Carole Cohen of UBS Financial Services, and Davita.

Media sponsors included KGET-17 and Telemundo, KERO-23 ABC, Eyewitness News KBAK-KBFX, Bakersfield Life Magazine, and KUZZ. “Friends of MADD” sponsors included Action Sports, Bakersfield Track Club, Challenge the Bear, Coud Nine Coffee Co. Costco, Hire A Hero So-Cal, Kern High School District, Martin’s Meats, Wood & Randall, and Sully’s.

Medals and trophies were awarded to the fastest runners in their respective age categories, with results being posted on the Bakersfield Track Club website. You can view the complete results here.

Awards were also given to the following top fundraisers:

  • Top Friends and Family Team: Prayers for Jourdan
  • Top Individual Fundraiser: Todd Farnsworth
  • Law Enforcement Challenge: Kern County District Attorney
  • Corporate Challenge: Kern Schools Federal Credit Union

As of September 2017, 17 people in Kern County had died this year from crashes caused by people who chose to get behind the wheel while under the influence, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. Hundreds more have been injured with thousands of friends and families affected. Kern County is averaging 11 DUI arrests per day.

Since 2014, the annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash has raised nearly $250,000, including this year. It’s not too late to join and donate – donations are accepted until Nov. 22 at www.walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

New personal injury attorney joins Chain | Cohn | Stiles

September 20, 2017 | 9:32 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the Bakersfield-based accident, injury and workers’ compensation law firm, has welcomed a new lawyer to its team.

Tanya D. Alsheikh has joined the personal injury department as an associate attorney, where she is focusing on car accident, wrongful death, elder abuse and neglect, and other injury and accident cases. She joins an experienced personal injury department that includes partners David CohnMatt Clark and Neil Gehlawat, and associate attorneys Chad Boyles and Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller. Other attorneys on the law firm’s team are partner James Yoro and associate attorney Beatriz Trejo in the workers’ compensation department.

“I’m excited to join a firm that holds people accountable and provides a voice for people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to defend themselves,” Tanya said. “Being a lawyer is fulfilling in and of itself, but being able to help people who genuinely need it gives a whole other meaning to the profession.”

Tanya added: “While working here, I find that the firm’s motto ‘Standing for Justice’ really rings true.”

Tanya was raised in Bakersfield, attending Stockdale Christian School and Bakersfield Christian High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount, and her Juris Doctorate from University of San Diego School of Law. During her time at University of San Diego School of Law, Tanya was honored as an associate board member of the school’s competitive moot court team.

Tanya says she has long dreamt of becoming an attorney and spent most of her adult life working towards that goal. clerk. Before joining the firm, she served as a legal assistant, legal intern and law clerk for firms in Los Angeles, San Diego and Bakersfield. She worked as a student attorney at the University of San Diego Education and Disability Clinic where she was responsible for meeting clients who could not afford legal counsel. Her responsibilities also included counseling clients, representing them and their interests during meetings, and if necessary, filing a complaint and preparing for formal mediation and hearings.

She was sworn-in to practice law in California in June by Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe, and took the oath to support the U.S. Constitution, perform her duties of an attorney to the best of her knowledge and ability, and conduct herself in her profession “at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.” You can see photos and watch a video of the swearing-in here.

Outside of the office, Tanya is involved in activities at Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, enjoys traveling, cooking and cheering for the Los Angeles Lakers. She is also fluent in Arabic.

You can find Tanya involved in various other community service activities. She recently helped local disadvantaged youth go back-to-school shopping at Kohl’s — you can see a picture of her with her students here.

“I want to personally be involved in making Bakersfield a better place, whether that is through giving a voice to members of our community or attending and participating in community outreach,” said Tanya. “Kern County can only be as good as we work to make it. I am eager for the opportunity to be an active part of Bakersfield’s future.”

Tanya was recently featured in the “People in Business” section of The Bakersfield Californian. See it here.

Stay tuned to bloggingforjustice.com and Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ various social media profiles to keep an eye on Tanya’s work.

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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.

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Stay up to date on news from Chain | Cohn | Stiles. Follow the law firm on social media including on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles helps kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with celebration, scholarships

September 13, 2017 | 9:40 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles is helping kick off Hispanic Heritage Month this year by celebrating with the local community and awarding scholarships to students in need.

The law firm is hosting a mixer together with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Metro Galleries in downtown Bakersfield. And on Friday, Sept. 15, Chain | Cohn | Stiles will be awarding scholarships to local deserving students during a celebration of Mexico’s Independence called “El Grito de Dolores,” in downtown Bakersfield.

Both events are open to the public. To learn more about these events, and how you can be a part, please read the sections below.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles for years has made available a Spanish language website and reached out in different platforms in order to better serve the local Latino and Hispanic population, which you can view by clicking here. The law firm has also partnered with La Caliente 96.9 to assist Spanish radio station listeners who need help with their potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation* cases. In fact, workers’ compensation associate attorney Beatriz Trejo, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, has become a regular on El Show De Cascabel, a Spanish language show, a widely popular Kern County show that airs on FM station 96.9 from 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The law firm and its employees are also deeply involved in community efforts that serve the local Hispanic population, including Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Latina Leaders of Kern County, among others. The motto for Chain | Cohn | Stiles is “Standing for Justice” for all residents of Kern County — or, in Spanish, “Luchando por Justicia.”

 

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH KICK-OFF 

National Hispanic Heritage Month in United States will begin on Sept. 1 this year and ends on Oct. 15. And since 1968, the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16 has been proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Week. The month-long celebration honors the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

To commemorate the occasion, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is sponsoring the monthly business networking mixer by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Metro Galleries. The event will feature appetizers, music, raffles and art from the annual Latination Art Exhibit.

To learn more about the event, please see the flier here.

The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2016, was 57.5 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted about 18 percent percent of the nation’s total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Hispanic population is projected to reach 119 million by 2060, and will constitute nearly 30 percent of the nation’s population by that date.

Californian’s Hispanic population was 15.3 million in 2016, the largest Hispanic population of any state.

 

El GRITO DE DOLORES

Each year, thousands join together at the Liberty Bell in front of Kern County Superior Court in downtown Bakersfield to celebrate the annual “El Grito,” a major celebration in Mexico that marks the country’s fight for independence against Spanish rule.

The evening — taking place from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 — includes folkloric dancers, mariachi and banda music groups, and a scholarship recognition ceremony, sponsored in part by Chain | Cohn | Stiles, honoring Kern County students and scholarship recipients. See the flier for the event here.

The celebration also includes a live feed from the Mexican city of Dolores where a re-enactment of El Grito takes place. A live newscast will also be aired by Telemundo.

Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16. 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.

El Grito is organized by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, which includes board chairman and Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director Jorge Barrientos.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is a sponsor for student scholarships presented during El Grito celebration along local businesses Bank of the Sierra and Rabobank. The sponsors, in partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, are awarding 19 scholarships to local students in pursuit of higher education, and who are giving back in various ways to our community.

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

Longtime local attorney, community advocate Milt Younger dies at 86

September 6, 2017 | 9:30 am


Milton Younger, a former esteemed attorney and partner of Chain | Cohn | Stiles, who spent 53 years at the law firm, died Sept. 1 at age 86.

“Milt was not only a leader in Kern County’s legal community for many decades, but he was also a leader through his generous volunteerism with many other local organizations,” said David K. Cohn, nephew of Younger and current managing partner at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. “Above all else, Milt stood for the working man and woman, and always believed in the fight for the ‘little guy.’ It is that mission that drives our law firm to this very day. He’s an inspiration to many, including myself, as he is the reason I entered the legal world.”

Younger was born July 8, 1931, in Bakersfield, attending Bakersfield High School, and returned to his hometown after graduating from Stanford University, where he received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science.

Milt joined the law firm founded by Morris B. Chain full time in 1956, and took over leadership in 1964. In 2008, He separated from the firm, and the law firm’s name was changed from Chain Younger to Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Younger was a leader of community service, becoming active in local and statewide Democratic politics, labor unions and the arts. The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and CSU Bakersfield were especially close to his heart. In addition, his law firm promoted diversity in its workforce, becoming one of the first locally to hire Latino, black and Asian attorneys. He followed Morris Chain’s legal mission, in becoming an apprentice, to stand up for the ‘little guy.’

Among awards, Younger received the Presidential Award of Merit from Consumer Attorneys of California, the prestigious Bench and Bar Award from the Kern County Bar Association, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kern County Democratic Party, an honorary doctorate from CSUB, and many more. His successes in court led to safety improvements in machinery and equipment in oilfields and other industries. He was most proud in his efforts to make child safety seats both safer and mandatory.

Milt leaves behind his wife Betty and three daughters, Lynda, Lisa and CeCe.

Update: A chapel service will be hosted at 10 a.m. Thursday (Sept. 6, 2017) at Greenlawn Funeral Home Northeast, 3700 River Boulevard. A private graveside service will follow. 

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ David Cohn, James Yoro selected to ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ publication

August 16, 2017 | 12:21 pm


Two veteran attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America program, which is the oldest and among the most respected attorney ranking services in the world.

David K. Cohn, managing partner at the law firm, was selected into the personal injury litigation category, while James A. Yoro, senior partner at the firm, was selected into the workers’ compensation law listings.

Attorneys named to “The Best Lawyers in America” are recognized by their peers in the legal industry
for their professional excellence in specific practice areas. For the 2018 edition of The Best
Lawyers in America, more than 7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in nearly 55,000 leading
lawyers being included in the new edition.

“Best Lawyers believes that the best lawyers know who the best lawyers are,” according to the program’s methodology. “Thus, our recognitions are based purely on the feedback we receive from lawyers already highlighted in our publication.”

David Cohn is one of the most respected lawyers in the Central Valley, having been voted into the “Best Lawyer” category of The Bakersfield Californian’s Readers Choice Poll for the last five years straight. He is a Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent-rated trial attorney, has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, and was selected to join the International Society of Barristers. Over the course of his career, which spans more than 40 years, Cohn has obtained numerous multi-million dollar results on behalf of his clients, and his cases have led to workplace, roadway and vehicle safety measures.

James Yoro is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional in California, and is one of the most veteran and most respected workers’ compensation lawyers in the San Joaquin Valley. He is the president of the Kern County Bar Association. He has argued cases in front of the California Supreme Court, and for nearly 40 years has fought day in and day out for the rights of injured workers.

For more than 30 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Its methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

Attorneys are nominated for consideration. They are divided by geographic region and practice areas, and are evaluated by their peers on the basis of professional expertise. Those who receive high peer reviews undergo an authentication process to make sure they are currently practicing and in good standing. Only then can top attorneys be included in Best Lawyers.

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If you or someone you know is injured on the job, or involved in an accident at the fault of someone else, please contact the Best Lawyers honorees at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles lawyer Neil Gehlawat named to 2017 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list

July 5, 2017 | 2:11 pm


Neil Gehlawat, attorney and partner at the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, has been named to the 2017 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list by Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine, the publication announced.

This is Gehlawat’s second straight year of earning the “Rising Stars” distinction, which is granted to just 2.5 percent of lawyers under the age of 40 in the Southern California region.

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. The objective of the recognition program is “to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.”

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners David Cohn, James Yoro and Matthew Clark have also been chosen for the Super Lawyer list for those attorneys over the age of 40. This distinction 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. Non-Rising Stars Super Lawyers awardees are announced each January.

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, which you can see by clicking here.

You can see Gehlawat’s mention in the magazine by clicking here.

All four partners at Chain | Cohn | Stiles were selected as Southern California Super Lawyers last year. For this achievement, the law firm has received a resolution from the California Legislature for the honor, presented by Michael Bowers from Sen. Andy Vidak’s Office, and signed by Vidak, Sen. Jean Fuller, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove and Assemblyman Rudy Salas.

Cohn, Clark and Gehlawat all work in Chain | Cohn | Stiles personal injury department, focusing on car accident, oilfield accident, civil rights, wrongful termination, wrongful death and other injury and accident cases. Gehlawat also focuses on civil rights, elder abuse and wrongful termination cases. Yoro leads the firm’s workers’ compensation* department.

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

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If you or someone you know is hurt on the job, or hurt in an accident at the fault of someone else, please contact the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com for more information.

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles joins MADD to honor local officers, prosecutors fighting to end DUI crimes

June 15, 2017 | 8:27 am


Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Kern County recognized and honored local law enforcement officers and prosecutors on Wednesday, June 14, for their valiant efforts in helping stop DUI crimes.

Bakersfield-based personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles was proud to be a sponsor, supporter and organizer of the event.

In all, more than 70 officers from throughout Kern County agencies were awarded at the 2017 Kern County MADD Law Enforcement and Prosecutor Recognition ceremony, held at Hodel’s Country Dining in Bakersfield. Prosecutors from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office were also honored, with the highest awards going to the top prosecutor, top probation officer, and the top law enforcement officer.

“These local heroes are potentially helping save lives by removing DUI offenders from our streets,” said Carla Pearson, victim services specialist for MADD Kern County. “They deserve recognition for making our communities throughout Kern County safer.”

To view the names of all of the officers awarded, click here. Among the top award winners were:

  • Probation Department Award, Deputy Luis Gomez: While Deputy Probation Officer Luis Gomez does not conduct traffic stops to arrest DUI offenders, he does work hard at keeping the community safe by supervising felony probationers to ensure they are not consuming alcohol. He also works tirelessly to ensure these offenders remain in compliance with the orders of the court. Through funding provided by the Office of Transportation and Safety, Officer Gomez supervises 75 high-risk, felony and repeat DUI offenders. In 2016 alone, Officer Gomez conducted 947 home calls and 855 office conferences with these dangerous offenders. In 2016, he conducted 522 urinalysis tests by ETG device and 1,125 Breathalyzer tests. Officer Gomez has been swift in his responses to those who violate Court orders by arresting them or placing them on monitoring programs in an effort to reduce their alcohol consumption. Officer Gomez’ diligence in supervising these high-risk worst of the worst DUI offenders is commendable and has gone a long way to help keep our streets safer for the citizens of Kern County.
  • Top Prosecutor 187 Award, Kern County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn: Michael Yraceburn prosecuted the nation’s first successful murder conviction for driving while impaired by marijuana. That March 2014 crash, in which the suspect was driving close to 80 miles per hour before losing control, killed David Aggio on impact. The suspect was sentenced to 20 years to life.
  • Top Law Enforcement, Bakersfield Police Officer Louis James: Officer James was reassigned to the Bakersfield Police Department’s Traffic Section in July 2015. Since then, he has primarily worked the graveyard shift. As a result, he has been one of the most, if not the most, productive traffic officer in regards to DUI enforcement. Though he was assigned to the traffic section for only a year and a half, he maintained his aggressive DUI enforcement to make the citizens of Bakersfield safer. In 2015, He received an award from MADD California for his efforts, and in 2016 he arrested 247 DUI drivers. This was the most of all traffic units within the department and one of the highest in California.

Prosecutor’s Awards were also handed out by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, and were awarded to Kim Richardson, Garrett Rice and Brad Taconi.

The awards ceremony returned to Bakersfield for 2017 after the loss of federal grant funding and budget cuts prevented the 2016 awards luncheon from being hosted in Kern County. This year, several community sponsors, working with MADD Kern County’s Advisory Board, stepped up to make sure officers from all Kern County agencies were being honored for their work in fighting against DUI crimes.

The MADD Kern County Advisory Board includes Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Neil Gehlawat and marketing director Jorge Barrientos.

Sponsors for the awards luncheon included anonymous donors, Chevron, Kern Federal Credit Union, Bakersfield Police Officers Association, Greenlawn Mortuary, Raymond’s Trophy, Clifford & Bradford Insurance Agency, Sally Herald CPA, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

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.

The awards luncheon is one of two MADD Kern County signature events aimed to bring awareness of the DUI epidemic in our community, and fight toward ending DUI crimes here. Bakersfield’s 2017 Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash — presented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles — will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Park at River Walk.

You, too, can be involved in the fight to end drunk and drugged driving locally. You can help by signing up as a walker, runner (5K or 10K), team captain, or volunteer. Parents: The event also features a kid’s “fun run,” where each child of walk and race participants gets a free superhero cape. You can even get involved if you aren’t able to attend by signing up as a “virtual walker,” or by asking a donation toward a participant or team who has been affected.

For more information on that event, go to walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

— Alyssa Wood of Chain | Cohn | Stiles contributed to this report. 

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Chain | Cohn | Stiles wins ‘Kern Green Award’ for making positive environmental impact in Kern County

May 24, 2017 | 10:04 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles law firm has been awarded a 2017 Kern Green Award, which recognizes business, organizations and individuals going above and beyond to make a positive environmental impact in Kern County.

The Bakersfield-based personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm won the award in the “Green Building Material and Design” category for the array of “green” features in its new office in downtown Bakersfield.

The Kern Green Awards Gala took place May 10 at Aera Energy LLC. Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney and partner Jim Yoro and marketing director Jorge Barrientos accepted the award from representatives of Granite Construction, which sponsored the award.

“We here at the law firm are committed not only to the revitalization of the downtown Bakersfield area, but we want to do so in an environmentally conscious way,” said Yoro, veteran workers’ compensation lawyer with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, accepting the award. “We took the initiative when we were building our new office to keep that in mind, and go ‘green’ as much as we could.”

 

‘GREEN’ BUILDING 

After spending 30 years in the Bank of America building on Chester and Truxtun avenues, the 83-year-old local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles moved into a new building, and in doing so contributed tremendously to the revitalization of downtown Bakersfield.

The six-month renovation of the 30,000 square-foot building on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street changed the landscape of one of downtown Bakersfield’s most historic intersections. With the help of architect Paul Skarphol and contractor Dave Whitezell, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took a shell of a building that once housed Goodwill Industries and sat vacant for nearly three years, and turned it into a modern workplace for the 30-employee firm, while instilling “green” measures that took into account our environment.

Some of the green elements instilled by Chain | Cohn | Stiles include:

  • LED, energy efficient lighting throughout the building, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Motion sensor lighting and outlets to guarantee computers and other equipment aren’t wasting energy.
  • Cutting-edge, high-tech, energy-efficient climate control system to cut down on unnecessary heating and air conditioning; more than 20 thermostat stations. The Daikin air conditioning and heating unit uses an inverter that can save 30 percent more in energy than traditional non-inverter units. Considering HVAC systems occupy about 40 percent of a building’s entire energy consumption, the savings are immense.
  • Water-based paint.
  • Recycled carpet.

In addition, the front lobby – with hanging LED ring lights, a glass LED lit logo sign – is a welcoming sight for clients and visitors. New windows were also cut into 17-inch reinforced concrete walls on the north side of the building, creating more natural light into work spaces. The law firm has worked with Boss Pizza and Bakersfield Downtown Business Association to install energy-saving lights to make the alleyway and nearby area safer.

A challenge for law firms who care about the environment involves the huge amounts of paper produced. To tackle this challenge, Chain | Cohn | Stiles scans and stores all documents electronically. The firm also employs email and fax capabilities, which do not require the printing of documents to send.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 7, 2015, and celebrated its one-year anniversary in the building in late 2016. For its work, Chain | Cohn | Stiles was nominated for a Beautiful Bakersfield Award, also received the Downtown Beautification Project award from the Bakersfield Downtown Business Association.

 

KERN GREEN

Kern Green, a local non-profit committed to protecting the environment through education and awareness, partners with local organizations to promote a more sustainable future in Kern County. Kern Green works with residents, schools, businesses, other local non-profits and the community to demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits of integrating green practices in daily work and professional life. Kern Green intends to focus on the positive sustainability efforts in Kern County and celebrate them with the public.

Kern County has one of the highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases in California, and Bakersfield ranks as having one of the worst air pollution ratings in the country. The level of air pollution in the region of Kern County poses both environmental and public health risks. From increased respiratory diseases to damage to the area’s ecosystems, there is a serious need to address the air pollution problem in this region. While geographical and topographical issues play a role in the problem, the level of industrial activities, the presence of major transportation corridors, and the car-dominant design of the population centers also contribute heavily to the region’s problems. The Kern Green program provides education and resources for businesses and residents to reduce their environmental impact and improve quality-of-life in the region.

The Kern Green Awards banquet acknowledges and provides positive reinforcement to students, educators, businesses and individuals for their efforts to perform green and sustainable practices.

To see photos from the 2017 Kern Green Awards Banquet, please click here.