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. While every case handled by Chain | Cohn | Stiles is an important one for the lawyers, paralegals, and staff, the cases that follow represent just some of the diverse cases we’re working on currently.
Click each case to learn more, including media coverage.
A correctional officer at North Kern State Prison died after contracting COVID-19 while working inside of the prison. Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the family in their workers’ compensation death case.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association told local media in statement: “We committed to fighting this disease in our institutions. We are disappointed that the department has issued conflicting and sometimes confusing guidelines that created dysfunction and outright failure at some institutions. We have purchased and distributed PPE to our members statewide. Officers who test positive or exhibit symptoms should be placed on administrative leave and their identities and medical status will be protected.”
Click here to learn more about what responsibility employers have to keep workers safe, benefits available to workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and steps you can take in the case you contract coronavirus from work.
The on-site manager at Resident Owned Parks fell off of a ramp and landed on his face, resulting in partial paralysis, and injuries to his face.
Fernando Torres was performing maintenance on pressure transducers, and upon completion of the required checks, he began to remove a hydraulic pump when an oil leak occurred.
Torres was sprayed with ammonia, causing substantial injury to his respiratory system.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family of Kathy Jane McNutt, 62, who was killed when a big rig failed to stop in time for slowing traffic, and read-ended the vehicle she was in on Highway 99 and Rosedale Highway.
Her pickup truck was pushed forward and collided with the rear of another semi truck. California Highway Patrol told local media there were no evidence of tire friction marks from the semi, showing the driver did not attempt to brake, leading them to believe negligence could have played a role.
McNutt was described as a loving grandma, mother, daughter, and sister.
The crash also killed 75-year-old Luther Goleman, of Lemoore, who was the passenger in the pickup truck.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a second-grade student who was bitten on the face by a dog while in her classroom.
Leilani, 8, suffered severe lacerations and tearing to her face when she was attacked by one of two large dogs visiting her classroom on May 9 at Wayside Elementary School (Bakersfield City School District) in south Bakersfield. The dogs belonged to a volunteer reader from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office.
The family alleges in the claim that Bakersfield City School District and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office negligently allowed the volunteer reader to bring into the classroom two dogs, and failed to supervise the dogs in a safe manner. As a result, Leilani suffered severe injuries. The family further alleges that the dog owner is strictly liable pursuant to California Civil Code section 3342 (Dog Bite Statute).
The dogs appear to be similar to Akita or Chow breeds.
“A school should know better than to allow dogs into a second grade classroom. No matter how gentle the dogs may be, their behavior can be unpredictable,” said Matthew C. Clark, attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. “Unfortunately for Leilani, she is likely to have lifelong facial and lip scarring, and vision difficulties. Let this be warning to schools, and to dog owners: Do not bring dogs onto school campuses. The risk is simply too great.”
For more than two years, Ruthie McLey was a resident of Cobble Stone for care required because of her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, where she relied on staff for assistance with her activities of daily living, management of her Alzheimer’s, and medication administration.
But in March 2019, McLey was found nude on the floor at Cobble Stone, bleeding from her head. It was found she was left on the floor for 45 minute until emergency responders arrived, and took her to the hospital. There, she received four stiches to her head, and was taken back to Cobble Stone.
Her family filed a complaint with the Department of Social Services, which conducted an investigation. The investigation resulted in Cobble Stone being penalized for health and safety code violations including having caregivers responsible for residents with insufficient knowledge, training, or ability to communicate with emergency personnel.
Following the incident and investigation, Cobble Stone attempted to unlawfully evict McLey for a legally impermissible reason, and was done with malice and oppression.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed an elder abuse and neglect claim on behalf of McLey and her family.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed claims on behalf of three students who were victims of sexual misconduct at North High School.
Kern County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Edwin Rodriguez on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with minors 14 to 15 years old, exhibiting harmful matter to a minor, annoying a child under 18 and false imprisonment. Local media reported 10 people came forward to investigators alleging inappropriate physical contact and other unwanted interaction by Rodriguez while he worked as an athletic equipment manager at North High School.
According to the victims, Rodriguez would give students sodas and candy, befriend them on the social media, and send them sexually explicit photos and videos, among other sexual misconduct that took place over several years.
“This sick man manipulated my daughter. She and I are very close, but she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid to tell me about it,” said the mother of one of the victims. “My hope through this lawsuit is to prevent this from happening in the future, and to protect our students through better accountability and scrutiny of school officials.”
Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorneys and the parents of the victims advise other parents to talk to their children about boundaries with those authority.
“Take this opportunity to have a discussion with your teenager,” said David Cohn, personal injury attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. “Students should never have one-on-one conversations through social media or text messages with school personnel, coaches, or other adults in authority. And encourage them to speak up if someone in authority contacts them privately or crosses a line.”
A big rig truck driver was filling his tank with fuel at a Valero gas station west of Bakersfield when a tank ruptured in a catastrophic release of pressure. The explosion severely injured the driver, and collapsed the gas station.
Kern County Fire Department responded with a Hazmat team, as did Kern County Public Health Services. Crews secured the utilities by operating all emergency fuel shutoffs, and rescue efforts focused on the truck driver who was treated on scene, and transported to a local hospital, according to media reports.
The investigation into the explosion continues.