Attorney Journals, Orange County, Volume 186

Page 22

Big Wins for the Little Guy by Dan Baldwin






I was one of those long-haired surfer guys who was never going to wear a suit and tie,” says Brian Chase who is now Managing Partner and Senior Trial Attorney heading up the Litigation Department of Bisnar Chase, Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP. That dramatic reversal in attitude occurred essentially in two stages, Chase says. During his high school days, he was stunned by the infamous Ford Pinto case. The manufacturer was wellaware of a product defect and conducted a cost analysis based on fixing the defect versus paying out on the claims. The decision was that in the long run ignoring the defect was the least costly option. Unfortunately, the subsequent episodes of exploding gas tanks caused tragic and avoidable death and injury. Chase’s feelings solidified while attending California State University at Long Beach when a class was given an interesting debate problem. The famous “Baby Fay” case in which a baboon’s heart was implanted into a human was to be the proand-con subject. He spent four days, day and night, in the library going through all the microfiche records and digging seriously into that project. “I was so excited by it. I didn’t know why, but I knew I just loved the intellectual challenge of that and in having to argue both sides of it in class. That was a moment


Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 186, 2021

when I said, ‘Wow! If I ever get a real job someday, I’m going to be a lawyer because that must be what it’s like. It’s intellectually stimulating, and you have to really prepare. That planted the seed,” he says. Unlike many attorneys who decide on a practice area late in their college years or even early in their careers, Chase immediately knew he wanted to be a personal injury attorney with a specific emphasis in auto defects.

THE SEATBACK LAWYER TAKES A BACK SEAT TO NO ONE Two cases illustrate Chase’s commitment to clients impacted by auto defects. The first involves a rear-end collision and, again, Ford as the manufacturer. The gas tank in a 2004 Mustang exploded causing the death by burning of a 27-year-old man. “That case is near and dear to my heart because it is so like the Ford Pinto case. In this case Ford knew the government was upgrading its standards. The 2004 Mustangs being tested were failing. Gas tanks had been installed behind the rear axle in the ‘crush zone,’ which inevitably caused ruptures. This is an ongoing case that shows Ford hasn’t learned their lesson,” Chase says.

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