Chain | Cohn | Stiles lawyer James Yoro named president of Kern County Bar Association

January 25, 2017 | 1:27 pm


James A. Yoro, veteran workers’ compensation* attorney and senior partner with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, has been named the 2017 president of the Kern County Bar Association.

Yoro was installed as president during the annual Kern County Bar Association Installation Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Bakersfield Country Club. He joins a long list of prominent local attorneys who have had the honor of leading the historic Kern County Bar Association as president. To see a full list, click here.

Additionally, Chain | Cohn | Stiles associate Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller was inducted as the vice chairwoman of the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance. Other officers inducted into KCBA are Chris Hagan, vice president; Doug Gosling, treasurer; Joseph Hughes, secretary; and Isaac St. Lawrence, immediate past president.

Yoro, who is in his 35th year of serving Kern County as a workers’ compensation attorney, was introduced as president during the ceremony by longtime colleague David V. Stiles, of Chain | Cohn | Stiles. The biography below was featured in the event program, and was written by his two adult daughters, Carli Yoro and Kelsey Yoro-Bacay. Yoro was also featured in the February 2017 issue of the Kern County Bar Association monthly magazine, Res Ipsa Loquitur.

 

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Jim Yoro has led a life that many would define as The American Dream. Jim was born in Manila, Philippines to Juliana and Cesario Yoro, a Filipino World War II veteran who served in the United States Army. Jim spent the first 4 years of his life living in the boarding house his parents ran for medical students attending the University of Santo Tomas, one of the oldest colleges in Asia. At 4, he immigrated to the United States as a U.S. Citizen with his mother after his father had established himself in the small, rural community of Bakersfield, California.

Jim had a traditional Catholic upbringing attending St. Francis elementary and middle school and Garces Memorial High School. He served as an altar boy at St. Francis church from the ages of 10 to 15. While attending Garces, a teacher suggested Jim take part in the school’s moot court exercises and Jim became enamored with the process. After graduating from Garces, he attended Bakersfield College for one year and then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley. In 1975, he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in political science and economics. Having fallen in love with the Bay Area and still interested in law, he obtained his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, then known as Boalt Hall.

Upon graduation, Jim fulfilled a promise to his mother to return to Bakersfield and serve his community as a lawyer at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, a non-profit legal aid. His first trial as a young attorney was a class action civil rights case in which Jim represented African American teenagers who had been kicked out of a local dance unfairly. After 3 years of practicing at GBLA, Jim joined a thriving, local firm then known as Chain, Younger, Jameson, Lemucchi, Noriega, Cohn and Stiles. After handling a family law, criminal defense and personal injury caseload, he found his stride as a worker’s compensation attorney and is now a Bar Certified specialist in Workers Compensation Law.

Jim continues to serve the greater Bakersfield community in several different capacities. Jim is currently a senior partner with the same firm, Chain, Cohn, and Stiles, where he has practiced law for over 30 years. Still devoted to his non-profit roots, Jim has served as the Chairman of the Board of GBLA and is currently on its Board of Directors. He is also on the board of the California Applicant’s Attorneys Association, a statewide organization of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys dedicated to advancing the interests of injured workers throughout the state.  Jim has also been a past Board member for Kern Regional Center.  For the last 6 years, Jim has had the privilege of serving the KCBA in a number of positions where he has been on various ad hoc committees and represented KCBA as a delegate at the 2012 CCBA Conference of Delegates. Throughout Jim’s legal career, he has tried and won cases at the Superior, Appellate and Supreme Court levels in California. Jim is honored to continue his service to KCBA and the greater Bakersfield legal community in the office of President.

As President, Jim hopes to promote the same value of service to the community that originally inspired him to pursue law. Jim would like to encourage all members of the bar association to do their part to contribute to the community whether that’s through pro bono work, volunteering for local mock trial competitions, or participating in local non-profit activities. Throughout Jim’s legal career, he has constantly been reminded that a life without cause is a life without effect and hopes to spread this message during his presidency.

Jim has been married to his lovely wife Reverie for 37 years and they have two wonderful daughters. Their eldest daughter Kelsey is an immigration attorney in Sacramento and recently married a young Central Valley doctor. Their youngest daughter Carli just graduated from her dad’s alma mater UC Berkeley and is working as an energy efficiency consultant for an Oakland based environmental company.

When Jim has free time, he enjoys attending sporting events, swimming, running with his dog, taking trips to the central coast with his wife, visiting Northern California to spend time with his daughters, and kicking his new son-in-law’s butt in fantasy football.

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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.

Elder Abuse Awareness: Signs to identify physical, emotional, financial abuse of loved ones

June 29, 2016 | 7:00 am


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day took place earlier this month — and is recognized each year on June 15 — but it’s important to focus attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders every day.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, about 5 million cases of elder abuse occur every year; however, only about one in every 23 cases get reported. It can happen in a nursing home, in the home of your loved ones by an in-home nurse, or ever over the phone or on the Internet.

At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, our attorneys for decades have focused on helping victims and families who have experienced elder abuse. In fact, David Stiles, who serves as “of counsel” at the law firm, has been recognized as one of the most respected elder abuse lawyers in California.

Elder abuse can take many forms:

  • Physical Abuse: Physically harming an elderly person, by a caregiver for example.
  • Emotional Abuse: Mentally harming an elderly person by insulting him or her, or talking down to the victim.
  • Sexual Abuse: Touching of a victim inappropriately by a caregiver and without consent.
  • Exploitation: Tricking an elderly person into giving them money or property rights, and taking advantage for profit.
  • Neglect and Abandonment: Disregarding the needs of an elderly person, and leaving him or her alone for long periods of time with no help.

Unfortunately, elder abuse can take place at any time, and it can happen to anyone, and that’s why it is important to be aware of it. Here are a few warning signs, courtesy of National Center on Elder Abuse, to keep a watchful eye:

  • Unexplained bruises or welts on their body.
  • Loved ones becoming isolated or not allowed to contact family.
  • Caregiver is overly controlling or verbally abusive.
  • Bruises around pelvic and genitalia areas, or unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Sudden changes in loved one’s finances.
  • Ulcers from not being moved around properly, malnutrition and lack of basic hygiene.

A new video by Chain | Cohn | Stiles focuses on the effects of elder abuse and neglect on families, and how our attorneys can help. Click here to watch the video featuring attorney Neil Gehlawat.

Currently, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the family of a man who drowned while unsupervised in a senior living facility in Bakersfield formerly known as Glenwood Gardens.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Its purpose is to “provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.”

— By Marisol Earnest for Chain | Cohn | Stiles

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If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse, call the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.

What to do if you suspect your elderly loved one is being neglected, abused

November 3, 2014 | 9:35 am


Too often, our oldest, frailest and most vulnerable citizens fall victim to abuse, neglect and are exploited. These victims often cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs.

In fact, each year thousands of elderly people succumb to abuse and neglect, and many times the abusers are family members, friends or trusted others.

In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living. Laws have been passed in all 50 states, including California, of course, to help prevent elder abuse.

Recently, Bakersfield elder abuse and elder neglect attorney David Stiles visited Buckley Radio station’s The Groove 99.3 to discuss elder abuse and neglect, give advice on what to do if you suspect your elderly loved one is being neglected, and answer questions from listeners.

Stiles answered a question from a listener who was concerned a family member was mismanaging funds from an elderly loved one.

To listen to the segment on KKBB, click here.

Stiles also discussed the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Care and Protection Act, or EADACPA. This law was passed in 1981 to protect elder, over the age of 65, and dependent adults from abuse and exploitation.

“We can do a lot now to recover damages for families who have experienced tragedy with a loved one in nursing care or assisted living,” Stiles told listeners as he discussed the topic with DJ Sheri Ortiz.

Laws and definitions of elder abuse and neglect vary from state to state, but broadly defined, abuse may be:

  • Physical abuse: Inflicting physical pain or injury on a senior (slapping, bruising or restraining by physical or chemical means).
  • Sexual Abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
  • Neglect: The failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Exploitation: The illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else’s benefit.
  • Emotional Abuse: Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts (humiliating, intimidating, or threatening).
  • Abandonment: Desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
  • Self-neglect: Characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.

Stiles is a senior partner at the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles. The law firm also provided some tips and advice related to elder abuse and neglect.

What are the warning signs of elder abuse?

  • Bruises, broken bones, abrasions and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect or mistreatment.
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
  • Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
  • Sudden changes in financial situations.
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss.
  • Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
  • Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person.
  • If you notice changes in a senior’s personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on.

It’s important to alert others if you have suspicions, and to retain an attorney.

The Bakersfield elder abuse lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have the knowledge and expertise to handle elder abuse cases. In fact, senior partner David Stiles has been a panelist and legal service provider for the California Association of Nursing Home Reform. And he has also obtained several six-figure results on behalf of his clients who were victims of elder abuse.

If you believe that you are the victim of elder abuse, contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles immediately at 661-323-4000, or visit the website Chainlaw.com.

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To listen to more radio show appearances by Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorneys, go here:

Chain | Cohn | Stiles managing partner David Cohn added to ‘Top 100 Trial Lawyers’ list

September 8, 2014 | 10:16 am


David K. Cohn, managing partner for the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, has been selected for membership into the The National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” program.

He now joins law firm partners David V. Stiles and Matthew C. Clark as Chain | Cohn | Stiles lawyers who have received invitations to join prestigious National Trial Lawyers’ programs earlier this year.

Cohn was invited to join the “Top 100″ list, which is a premier group of attorneys who practice civil plaintiff law in the state of California. Membership into The National Trial Lawyers’ programs are by invitation only, and extended exclusively to attorneys who meet stringent qualifications and specialize in the legal practice of criminal defense or civil plaintiff, according to The National Trial Lawyers program.

The “Top 100,” it’s composed of the premier trial lawyers from across the country who exemplify superior qualifications as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers. The national organization provides networking opportunities, advocacy training, and the highest quality educational programs for trial lawyers.

Just the top 100 trial lawyers from Southern California and Northern California who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research, according to National Trial Lawyers.

Prospective members of The National Trial Lawyers’ are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership. The criteria used in the evaluation process include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reputation among peers, the judiciary, and the public
  • The previous year’s achievements, settlements and verdicts as a trial lawyer
  • Board Certification as a trial lawyer or trial attorney
  • Nominations received from leading trial lawyers, current members and/or our executive committee members
  • Leadership and membership within other national and state trial lawyer organizations
  • Rankings and ratings of the attorney by established organizations

As part of membership selection, Cohn will have his photo and biography displayed on The National Trial Lawyers website. You can see it here.

Cohn also received a plaque, which Chain | Cohn | Stiles  will proudly display in the lobby of our Bakersfield office. You can see the plaque here.

Earlier this year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Matt Clark was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 40 under 40,” a professional organization comprised of America’s top young trial attorneys. Read more about this achievement here.

To learn more about Cohn, read his biography on the Chain | Cohn | Stiles website, or read a snippet of his biography below:

“David K. Cohn is the managing partner of the firm and one of the most highly regarded trial lawyers in the San Joaquin Valley. He has recently been voted Best Lawyer in Kern County by the Bakersfield Californian Reader’s Choice Poll. David has also been named a Super Lawyer in Southern California, an honor bestowed upon only the top 5 percent of lawyers in the region. 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. While in law school, he clerked for then Federal Public Defender, John Van de Kamp. Following graduation, David returned to Bakersfield and joined the firm and eventually became its managing partner in 2000.

Over the course of his career, David has obtained numerous multi-million dollar results on behalf of his clients. In 2011, he recovered $10 million on behalf of a man who suffered serious burn injuries in an oilfield accident. He also recently obtained a $2.1 million verdict in a wrongful death case where a man was run over by a city parks worker at Jefferson Park. David is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), where he holds the rank of Associate and also serves as the Membership Chair for the San Joaquin Valley Chapter. 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.”

CCS attorneys selected to ‘Top 100 Trial Lawyers’ list

June 16, 2014 | 10:31 am


Two of our Bakersfield personal injury lawyers and partners at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have been selected to join “The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers” for 2014.

Senior partners David V. Stiles and Matthew C. Clark have been invited to join the “Top 100” list, which is a premier group of attorneys who practice civil plaintiff law in the state of California. Additionally, Clark was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 40 under 40,” a professional organization comprised of America’s top young trial attorneys.

Membership into The National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only, and is extended exclusively to those individuals who meet stringent qualifications and specialize in the legal practice of criminal defense or civil plaintiff, according to The National Trial Lawyers program.

As for the “Top 100,” it’s composed of the premier trial lawyers from across the country who exemplify superior qualifications as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers. The national organization provides networking opportunities, advocacy training, and the highest quality educational programs for trial lawyers.

Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

Prospective members of The National Trial Lawyers’ are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership. The criteria used in the evaluation process include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reputation among peers, the judiciary, and the public
  • The previous year’s achievements, settlements and verdicts as a trial lawyer
  • Board Certification as a trial lawyer or trial attorney
  • Nominations received from leading trial lawyers, current members and/or our executive committee members
  • Leadership and membership within other national and state trial lawyer organizations
  • Rankings and ratings of the attorney by established organizations.

As part of the selection, the attorneys at CCS will have their photos and biographies displayed on The National Trial Lawyers website. They’ll also receive a plaque, which CCS will proudly display in the lobby of our Bakersfield office, as well as highlight in our various social media sites.

Here’s a little more on the attorneys selected for this honor:

  • David V. Stiles is a senior partner in the firm. He is a Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent rated trial attorney, who has tried over 50 cases to a jury.  He has been with the firm for over 35 years, and has extensive experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases. His areas of interest include auto/truck liability, oilfield accidents, nursing home abuses, and premises liability. Over his career, Stiles has recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for his clients, including a number of multi-million dollar results.  Most recently he obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for the victim of a truck accident, and high six figure verdicts in two trials involving, respectively, an oilfield accident and a fall accident.  He has successfully litigated numerous nursing home neglect cases, and is a Panelist of the California Association for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR).For more on Stiles, read his biography at chainlaw.com.
  • Matthew C. Clark is a senior partner with the firm and a recent graduate of the ABOTA National Trial College at Harvard Law School.  He was recently named a Rising Star in Southern California by Super Lawyers Magazine, an honor bestowed upon only 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40.In 2011, Matthew obtained a six-figure verdict on behalf of his client in a public entity premises liability case.  He also was part of the team that helped secure a $10 million settlement on behalf of a client who suffered serious burn injuries in an oilfield accident.  For more on Clark, read his biography at chainlaw.com.

David K. Cohn: The most interesting man in the world?

May 7, 2014 | 9:34 am


He may not be “the most interesting man in the world” who you’ve probably seen on the beer commercials, but Chain | Cohn | Stiles managing partner and Bakersfield personal injury attorney David K. Cohn is close.

Bakersfield Life Magazine recently featured Cohn in the monthly “12 Random Things You Didn’t Know About …” section of the monthly Bakersfield publication. The section typically highlights a well-known personality in Kern County, who shares facts that most people around our community may not know.

Part of reason Cohn was chosen for this feature is because he has been practicing law for nearly 40 years, and today he is one of the most highly regarded personal injury lawyers in Kern County.

He’s also a scuba diver, an avid University of Southern California football fan and university alumnus, and a Bakersfield native.

Additionally, the feature story was included in the May 2014 issue of Bakersfield, which happens to the “Best of Bakersfield” issue, where the results of a city-wide poll by The Bakersfield Californian newspaper of everything related to Bakersfield are revealed. In the issue, Chain | Cohn | Stiles was voted by Bakersfield as the “Best Law Firm” for the second year in a row, and Cohn was voted as a “favorite” in the “Best Lawyer” category, also the second time he was chose for this category.

“… It’s in his practice where Cohn truly shines,” Bakersfield Life Magazine wrote in the recent issue, which you can find on newsstands around Kern County now. “In this year’s Best of Bakersfield competition, his firm — Chain | Cohn | Stiles — was voted Best Law Firm and Cohn bears the title of ‘Super Lawyer’ in Southern California, an honor bestowed upon only the top 5 percent of lawyers in the region.”

Among the random facts that Cohn shared with Bakersfield were:

  • Some of my first jobs included making pizzas at Pizzaville, vacuuming cars at Oak Street Car Wash and sweeping out box cars for Santa Fe Railroad.
  • I’ve known David Stiles, my law partner at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, since grade school. We attended Roosevelt Elementary.
  • I once dove down to 210 feet in the South Pacific. I also dove in Malaysia, Borneo, Micronesia and Tahiti.
  • If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would have been a pilot.
  • I’ve practiced law for nearly 40 years and have fought well over 10,000 cases in my career.

To see the rest of the random facts, read the online version HERE, or the magazine version HERE. And to read more about Cohn and his practice, see his biography 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.