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Brian Chase keeps defendants on guard in traumatic brain injury, consumer class action, employment class action, and catastrophic personal injury cases as firm continues to deliver outstanding results in expanding practice areas.

For decades, Brian Chase has been the trial attorney no auto manufacturer wants to face off against. Known for his relentless pursuit (and capture) of hundreds of millions of dollars in auto defect cases, suffice it to say, Chase is truly in a class of his own when it comes to obtaining justice for victims. Time and again, Chase has faced seemingly impossible odds, yet come out on top, even when battling some of the biggest manufacturers and corporations out there.
But in the last few years since Chase was first featured in Attorney Journal Orange County, he’s made a concerted effort to apply that tenacity and trial advocacy talent to fight for victims of other egregious injuries, including those suffering from traumatic brain injuries, classes of workers wronged in employment matters, and mass tort litigation against some of the biggest pharmaceutical and other consumer products. Simply put, the results he’s getting for clients are nothing short of spectacular.

A Lifelong Dedication to Preventing Auto Defect and Accident Injuries
One of Chase’s biggest recent victories yielded an astounding $24.7 million jury verdict for Jaklin Romine, who was rendered a quadriplegic after her seatback collapsed when she was rear-ended. However, as jaw-dropping as the verdict was, the case did much more than just provide Chase’s client with the lifelong care she would require. “It also became the only published opinion upholding the jury’s verdict, with a defect finding based solely upon the consumer expectation test,” says Chase.
Indeed, in Romine v. Johnson Controls, Inc. 224 Cal. App.4th 990, 998, (2014), Chase says, “If Johnson Controls used their other seat design, a seat design that is much more structurally sounds, Jaklin would be walking today. They had the know-how to build safer seats for over 20 years but chose to put profits before the safety of consumers. The appellate court’s decision is a tremendous victory not only for our lawyers at Bisnar|Chase, but for consumers. The appellate court upheld the consumer expectation test, which means that consumers have a reasonable expectation of safety from a product. Auto makers and manufacturers of other products do not want to be held up to that test. They’d rather have a battle of experts and confuse the jury. Thankfully, the court held up the consumer expectation test which is a win for consumers,” he adds.
This latest published opinion is certainly not Chase’s first. Other notable published opinions include Martinez v. Ford Motor Co., 185 Cal.App.4th 9 (2010), Hernandez v. Department of Transp., 114 Cal.App.4th 376 (2003), and Schreiber v. Estate of Kiser, 22 Cal.4th 31 (1999).
However, the courts aren’t exclusive in publishing the results of Chase’s tireless efforts to keep consumers safe. An author himself, this year, Chase’s book, Still Unsafe At Any Speed: Auto Defects That Cause Wrongful Deaths and Catastrophic Injuries is being re-released, after updating and revising the original book, which was released in 2009.

A New Role and New Focus on Expanding the Bisnar|Chase Brand
Though Chase has no intention of straying from auto defect cases, since his longtime partner John Bisnar retired, and Chase has taken the reigns as both Managing Partner and Senior Trial Attorney, the firm is intentionally expanding some of its other areas of expertise. “We’ve done Traumatic Brain Injuries, and all catastrophic injuries for years; our auto defect success just seemed to make the headlines more often,” Chase says.
In fact, one of the firm’s largest recent wins resulted in a $16.4 Million settlement, for a young man who was left with permanent brain damage after an unsafe road intersection resulted in him being struck by a moving van. Speaking of Christopher Chan vs City of Hanford, Chase says, “The intersection in question was considered a 'trap' because drivers approaching the intersection could not see pedestrians or bicyclists crossing the street there, and there were no warnings or signs to warn of the danger. The city had knowledge of the dangerous condition but did nothing about it. Our client will require care for the rest of his life.”
In another recent Traumatic Brain Injury case, Bisnar|Chase also won a multi-million-dollar jury verdict for a victim who was struck by a car, while trying to rescue his friend’s dog who had been hit by a car in Long Beach. In Joseph Butenhoff v. Bautista, Chase recalls that the insurance company’s final offer was just $100,000. In that case, the jury delivered a $3 million verdict, for the victim’s moderate brain injury. “Gavin Long of our firm tried that case,” says Chase.
Moreover, Chase says that the firm’s Employment Class Action group is also gaining well deserved recognition for success in advocating for employees who were shortchanged on overtime, were not given proper meal and rest breaks, and who were not paid wages due upon termination. In a class action against RPM Mortgage, Bisnar Chase successfully recovered unpaid wages of $2.5 million for approximately 1,800 former and current employees. Similarly, the firm’s Employment Class Action group has stepped up for other victimized employees, such as those employed by Lifetime Fitness, in another class action wage and hour suit.
Presently, Chase is also involved in mass tort litigation against Johnson & Johnson, representing some of the more than 1,000 women and their families, who have alleged that Johnson & Johnson has covered up a link between its talcum and baby powders and a heightened risk of ovarian cancer.
“Johnson & Johnson knew in the early 1970s about this deadly link between genital talc use and the risk of ovarian cancer,” says Chase. “But company officials did nothing to warn consumers about these risks. In fact, they stepped up their advertising effort and aggressively marketed these products to women, particularly African American women who formed a major market.”
Continuing, he says, “Countless women, who have used talcum powder or baby powder products and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, face tremendous challenges in the form of medical expenses, wages lost as a result of undergoing treatment for cancer, hospitalization and surgery costs, expenses relating to medications, pain and suffering and emotional distress. There have been heartbreaking, tragic cases, of course, where some of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer due to talcum powder use have died. The families of these victims, in addition to the grief and mental anguish, face tremendous financial burdens as well.”

Brighter Days Ahead for Injured Victims; Busy Days to Come for the Firm
Clearly there’s no slowing down for Chase and his awardwinning team. But the team continues to work together like a well-oiled, and incredibly powerful machine, fighting to make the world a little brighter for injured victims, and a whole lot safer for the rest of us.
The firm has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Orange County for the past five consecutive years, which certainly helps the team of more than 40 put forth their absolute best each day. As the team’s leader, Chase is committed to leading by example, in service to victims, and the legal community as evidenced by his work as past President of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, and past President of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC). He’s been the recipient of three distinct Trial Lawyer of the Year awards, and his colleagues are following suit, amassing their own individual recognitions for their own accomplishments. So where do Chase and his team go from here? They plan to continue fighting the good fight, beginning with representing injured police officers who have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning because of defective SUVs in use in their departments—a case which has already landed Chase on CBS Los Angeles, and Good Morning America.
But for Chase, regardless of how much publicity his cases gain, it’s just business as usual, and the future will hold more of the same. “We are going to continue to use our talents and our efforts to help injured people obtain justice from big corporations, when they manufacture dangerous products, or government entities and municipalities when they are negligent in protecting consumers, or companies which choose to abuse employees. That’s what we’ve always done, and what we will continue to do.”

Brian Chase

Karen Gorden

Karen Gorden is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal.

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Filed Under: Business ManagementFeatured Stories

About the Author: Karen Gorden is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal.

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