The lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are involved in some of the most significant cases in the Central Valley. Our vast experience and expertise in handling a variety of different cases allows us to obtain the best possible results for our clients. Over the years, we have been involved in a variety of important cases, ranging from police misconduct cases to oilfield accident cases to product liability cases. The cases on this page represent just some of the important cases we’re currently working on.
- News Coverage: Wasco State Prison official killed in crash
Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of 72-year-old Nancy Joyce Garrett, who was killed when a Kern County Sheriff’s Office patrol car operated by Deputy Nicholas Clerico struck and killed her.
The filing of the lawsuit came on the heels of the release of the California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) report regarding the crash that occurred on Sept. 28, 2014, at the intersection of North Chester Avenue and China Grade Loop in Oildale. The report found Deputy Clerico at fault in the crash, and the CHP report recommended that a vehicular manslaughter charge be filed against the deputy.
Nancy was a friendly neighbor, a caregiver for our community, an active blogger, and the pillar of her family. She was a drug and alcohol counselor for the Kern County Mental Health Department, and also volunteered her time as a substance abuse counselor for STEPS, a local nonprofit that provides DUI awareness services. At the time of the crash, she was returning home from a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game she attended with her family and friends.
Nancy left behind a son, Mark, and a daughter, Deborah, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
On the morning of Aug. 26, 2015, Steven Ojeda was driving to Wasco State Prison, where he worked as an associate warden, when a cloud of dust enveloped the roadway on Kimberlina Road, obscuring the vision of Ojeda and other drivers around him.
Just a few miles from his work, cars suddenly slowed as the area was covered in dust from people working in the fields. Ojeda crashed into the back of a vehicle, and was subsequently rear-ended by another vehicle. Tragically, Ojeda was killed in the crash.
“It is an extremely hard loss for our instruction and for our staff. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” Wasco State Prison officials said in a statement at the time of the crash.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed a wrongful death claim on behalf of Ojeda’s family.
Jesus Garcia-Santana was travelling on Highway 101 just north of Paso Robles to his son’s home in Bakersfield when his car became inoperable. He pulled to the side of the road, exited his car, opened the hood, and called for assistance. He then sat in his car on the passenger side, and waited for help.
As he waited, a Stevens Trucking tractor pulling two trailers full of carrots veered onto the shoulder and struck Garcia-Santana’s car. As a result, Garcia-Santana suffered significant life-threatening injuries.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed negligence claim, alleging that the truck driver was not paying attention, not scanning the road ahead of him, when he overreacted to a car changing lanes in front of him.
Bakersfield Police officers on January 20, 2015 were dispatched to a “check the welfare” call in southwest Bakersfield.
When they arrived at the location, they were met by Arturo Gonzalez, a neighborhood resident and retiree who had spoken with police on the phone. He was not a suspect of any crime. But officers demanded he put his hands up, and ordered him to his knees. Gonzalez complied with all of the officers’ commands. As he went to his knees, officers charged, tackled, and beat Gonzalez. He suffered several injuries, including rib fractures.
The actions were captured by surveillance video.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles, on behalf of Gonzalez, claim the officers were negligent and their use of force was excessive.
The plaintiff, a truck driver, was eastbound on Kimberlina Road near Wasco when the defendant, also a truck driver, heading northbound on Wildwood Road ran a stop sign, causing the plaintiff to collide with the defendant truck trailer, resulting in substantial injuries.
On April 17, 2018, Fernando Garcia, a maintenance worker for the city of Delano, was helping move boxes to a storage room. As he was moving the second set of boxes in the storage room, he collapsed.
He was taken to the hospital, and died three days later. He was married to his wife Elizabeth for 12 years, and he left behind three children.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the Garcia family in their workers’ compensation death benefits case.
Francisco Avalos Lopez was a first assistant foreman, which included the supervision of a crew of about 50 people, and was responsible for the production and output of his crew. The physical job required him to provide water, shade, and clean the portable toilets for his crew before the start of the workday.
On July 28, 2017, the crew was having an early morning meeting when Avalos collapsed holding his chest, and said, “heart.”
He left behind a wife and had three children. Days before his death, he had told his wife that he wanted to leave the job at the end of the season due to stress.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the Avalos family in their workers’ compensation death benefits case.
A juvenile girl working at Domino’s Pizza in Bakersfield was struck by gunfire during an altercation at the restaurant.
A 20-year-old was taken into custody in connection with the shooting, facing multiple charges including robbery, burglary and negligent discharge of a gun. Bakersfield Police Department reported that the man argued with employees, began to forcibly take food, began assaulting employees and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, police say a gun possessed by the man fell to the floor and discharged, striking the girl.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the girl in her workers’ compensation work injury case.