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Brian Chase and Scott Ritsema Win the Prestigious 'Attorney of the Year' Award

The winners were announced at the CAOC's Annual Installation and Awards Dinner in San Francisco this past weekend.

This is the second time Chase has been awarded an Attorney of the Year distinction, the first in 2004 when he was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association. This is the first Attorney of the Year distinction for Ritsema.

CAOC and its esteemed Consumer Attorney of the Year Award recognizes plaintiffs' attorneys who have achieved significant results for their clients and who have significantly helped consumers or have helped change consumer law for the better in the state of California.

CAOC outlined the reasons why Chase and Ritsema were named Attorneys of the Year in a release issued this past weekend, highlighting the attorneys' representation of an auto defects case in which a jury awarded victim Jaklin Romine $24.7 million for a defective car seat that rendered her a quadriplegic.

According to the CAOC announcement, In Romine v. Johnson Controls, Inc., Bisnar 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.

"I couldn't be prouder of Brian and Scott and the entire Bisnar Chase team for their passion and enthusiasm in protecting the rights of innocent victims', said John Bisnar, founder of Bisnar Chase. In particular, 'Brian and Scott have proven they're top notch, successfully and unwaveringly going head-to-head with big corporations to make them pay for negligence and wrongdoing. This prestigious award by CAOC confirms what we already know to be true, our attorneys are some of the best in the business. I'm thrilled they're on our team and not on the other side of the courtroom.'

CAOC is a professional organization made up of nearly 3,000 attorneys who represent plaintiffs seeking accountability from those who do wrong. The Consumer Attorney of the Year Award nomination process is stringent and involves case evaluation that takes into consideration the following factors:

  • Whether the case demonstrates how the civil justice system works to provide justice to victims, changes behavior, takes dangerous products off the market, or holds wrongdoers accountable/
  • Whether the case exemplifies how trial attorneys use their skill and determination to create a more just society.
  • Whether the case demonstrates a particular skill of the attorney in achieving the result.
  • Whether the attorney faced unusual obstacles, great risk, or incredible odds he or she had to overcome.
  • Whether the case and/or attorney stands out in comparison to similar case results or settlement offers.

Brian Chase is a native of Southern California, a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a graduate of Pepperdine School of Law and a 19-year personal injury attorney. He has litigated dozens of jury trials and has represented both local and national auto product liability and catastrophic injury cases, obtaining judgments and settlements exceeding $100 million.

Formerly from Michigan, Scott Ritsema is known as a bulldog plaintiff's attorney who fights for the rights of the seriously injured. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1988, the same year in which he won the Order of the Coif Award. He's brought 16 trials to verdict and has conducted over 50 arbitrations to conclusion.

About Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys

Bisnar Chase represents people who have been very seriously injured or lost a family member due to an defective product, negligence or auto accident in California. The law firm has won a wide variety of challenging personal injury and wrongful death cases involving car accidents, work related injuries, negligence and defective products made by Fortune 500 companies. For more information, visit

Bisnar Chase
Jennifer Lange, (949) 916-4820 - Direct

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