Brian Chase and Scott Ritsema win Consumer Attorneys of the Year award at CAOC 51st Annual Convention for a case involving woman rendered a paraplegic after an improperly designed car seat collapsed in a crash.
Brian Chase and Scott Ritsema, personal injury attorneys of Newport Beach law firm Bisnar | Chase are Consumer Attorneys of California’s 2012 Attorneys of the Year.
The announcement was made at the awards dinner Saturday night as part of CAOC’s 51st Annual Convention at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The award is given to recognize a plaintiff’s lawyer who achieved a significant result in a case that assisted consumers or changed consumer law for the better in California and was finally resolved between May 15, 2011, and May 15, 2012.
Chase and Ritsema were selected as Consumer Attorneys of the Year for their work holding the manufacturer of a defective product accountable for the serious injuries of a woman who was left a paraplegic after a vehicle crash. In Romine v. Johnson Controls, Inc.,
Bisnar and Chase represented Jaklin Romine, who was properly seat belted when she was rear-ended at a Pasadena intersection while waiting to make a left turn. Her seat collapsed rearward and she was thrown into the back seat, breaking her neck and back.
Chase and Ritsema presented evidence that the seat, designed by Johnson Controls, was too weak to withstand foreseeable rear impacts, thus subjecting occupants to catastrophic risks.
They also showed the company had been well aware of the dangers and risks of weak seats since the 1990s. Johnson Controls had actually developed a design that was more structurally sound to prevent seats from collapsing in accidents such as this but chose to put profits ahead of people.
Consumer Attorneys of California is a professional organization of plaintiffs’ attorneys representing consumers seeking accountability against wrongdoers in cases involving personal injury, product liability, environmental degradation and other causes.