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May 2019

Bentley & More fight for “Camp Fire” victim in Workers’ Comp case

Elaina Gonzales, a 52-year-old ex-military/ex-police officer fell victim to the November 8, 2018 Camp Fires in Paradise, CA.  At the time, Elaina was working for Allied Security as a security officer.  On that fateful Thursday in November, Elaina was on her way to work.  She was scheduled to report at Feather River Hospital. She got a call at approximately 6:30 a.m. from her Supervisory officer notifying her that the fires were two canyons away. When she arrived, the fires were fast approaching. Embers were flying, brush and trees were burning.  She immediately started evacuating patients of the hospital. It was her and 2 other security officers. She felt a burden of responsibility. She wanted to leave, to get home, get her dog and get to safety. But she couldn’t.

Elaina focused her attention to the emergency room. She lined up patients (some in wheelchairs, some unable to walk) assisting in the evacuation efforts.  Ambulances were unable to get to the hospital.  They had limited resources and were forced to transport patients three at a time down the hill to Enloe Hospital.  In all, she aided in the transport of about 60 patients to safety. She describes the scene as “Active burning. The flames were coming up from the canyon and the building was on fire”.  Once all the patients had been transported, Elaina was last to leave the burning building.  She and the other two security officers jumped in her car in an attempt to get down the mountain to safety.  Ultimately, Elaina ditched her car on the side of the road because traffic down the hill was deadlocked. Performing on adrenaline and impulse, she and the other passengers got out of the vehicle and started to run. Fire was creeping up the mountain on both sides of the road. It was a swirling scene of embers, trees burning, smoke and pandemonium. “Embers were flying…as we were running, one of the officer’s uniform caught fire”, Elaina recalls.  Despite the chaos and fear, she remained focused. She did not want to die. She commanded, “We have to run; we have to get ahead of this…”. Elaina was focused on the safety of the two officers first and foremost.

Elaina had wanted to go back to her home but was unable. Police Officers had the roads blocked and barricaded. Her Dog! She had to leave her dog. Elaina lost her home, her car and her dog in that fire. Unfortunately, it goes beyond physical possessions.

Elaina started experiencing onset anxiety & stress almost immediately. She was experiencing respiratory issues due to heavy smoke inhalation. In the face of these conditions, Elaina was ordered to report back to the Feather River Hospital the following day to the scene of the fire. The purpose, she believes – to secure the hospital from looting. Elaina didn’t feel safe. The conditions were still bad. Fire was still burning. Yet – she went and followed orders. Elaina expressed these concerns and made it clear to her supervisors but they were relentless. They were making demands despite the tragic circumstances. Elaina continued to work, and report, spent hours on the phone with other officers all day and night throughout the weekend. She recalls thinking, “I just wanted a moment to breathe…”.

The ensuing Monday, Elaina sat before her supervisors. She recalls expressing she thought she needed some time off. She asked the HR Manager what her options were.  In her recollection, his direct quote was “I am here to protect the company”.

Elaina retained Keith More, co-founder of Bentley & More LLP. A Workers’ Compensation claim was filed so that Elaina could get the necessary medical treatment for the smoke inhalation and anxiety.  Unfortunately, the claim has been denied. A letter dated February 5, 2019, states “After careful consideration of all available information, we are denying liability for your claim…there is a factual dispute surrounding the circumstances of your alleged injury…”  The work comp insurance carrier claims the fires were an act of G-d and hence not covered.


“How can anyone state these fires were an act of G-d when Pacific Gas & Electric has admitted its responsibility,” exclaimed Keith More.


The Workers’ Compensation system is in place for reasons exactly like this. Yet Elaina’s claim has been denied. Keith and his team at Bentley & More LLP will continue to fight the system. A Priority Conference is scheduled for later this month before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Keith will present facts in support of his client in hopes this decision will be reversed and Elaina will get the benefits she deserves.

          

The Feather River Hospital burns down during the Camp fire in Paradise, California on November 8, 2018.(Photo credit JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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CAOC/CAOIE & OCTLA Palm Springs Seminar a Success!

“When you pick a jury, you become the leader.” -Greg Bentley

 

Bentley and More Co-Founders, Greg Bentley and Keith More we’re chosen to speak at the annual CAOC/CAOIE & OCTLA Seminar held at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Palm Springs, CA. Only the best of the best attend this intimate conference filled with insights from the brightest stars in the legal community. Our team of Partners & Trial Attorneys, had the honor of speaking in several sessions over the 2-day line-up and rocked the house.

 

“You must preserve the rights of your client when you settle the PI case first.” – Keith More

 

Head to our website for more useful tips and invaluable advice from our partners.  

 

bentleymore.com

 

A special thanks to OCTLA & CAOC/CAOIE for putting together an outstanding conference!

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Bentley & More rallied for an evening of inspiration and hope at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Student of the Year Grand Finale Celebration

On March 31, 2019, Co-Founder Keith More had the pleasure of representing Bentley & More LLP for a night of purpose and inspiration at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society “Students of the Year Grand Finale Celebration” held at Fete the Venue in Costa Mesa, CA. Keith’s daughter, Camryn More (a sophomore at Newport Harbor High School) was among the student nominees for the esteemed Award.

The campaign is a philanthropic program through which motivated high-school leaders champion the cause through volunteerism, community involvement and fundraising in honor of children who are blood cancer survivors. The 2019 candidates and team members raised over $351,000 over the 7-week competition.


“So proud of Camryn and her team Blood Warriors, for raising over $40,000 for Leukemia Lymphoma Society. And a big thank you to my partner Greg Bentley and our team at Bentley & More for all of the support….”

– Keith P. More


The campaign was made up of 985 teams and 8,500 multi-generational fundraising team members. It reached 89 markets across the U.S. with an anticipated $20+ million in revenue for the in 2019 fiscal year!


“Bentley & More was a huge part of our success and has helped us move closer to achieving our Mission.”

– Deborah Levy, Executive Director (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

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Don’t Miss Bentley & More at the Annual CAOC, CAOIE & OCTLA’s Palm Springs Seminar May 3-5, 2019

Bentley & More are coming at you live this Friday & Saturday at the Annual CAOC, CAOIE & OCTLA’s Palm Springs Seminar May 3-5, 2019

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