Bigger & Harman, APC - February 2019





DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road


MORE THAN A CHASE SCENE Thoughts on Meaning in Movies

The Academy Awards are this month, and I couldn’t tell you who the nominees are, let alone predict any winners. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good film. But with the demanding schedule of being a trial lawyer, I don’t really have the time to keep up with Hollywood’s release schedule. Besides, on the occasion I do have the chance to settle in and watch something, it’s probably going to be an old classic. Those who have been to my main office are probably aware of my love for the classic 1963 action-thriller “The Great Escape.” After all, I have a poster of Steve McQueen on his character’s stolen Triumph T60 motorcycle on my office wall. While I do consider McQueen’s iconic chase scene from that movie to be amazing, it’s not the only reason this film is in my top five favorites. Set in a German prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War, “The Great Escape” follows the planning, execution, and fallout of a massive jailbreak attempted by the allied prisoners. The film walks a fine line between witty comedy and grim drama, a feat largely made possible by the star-studded cast. Joining McQueen are such silver screen giants as James Garner, Richard Attenborough, and Charles Bronson, who manage to masterfully tie together the more lighthearted first half of “The Great Escape” with the pulse- pounding drama of trying to hide from SS officers in plain sight. It’s this tonal tightwalk that makes “The Great Escape” one of my all time favorites. It doesn’t sugar coat the risks the characters face, nor does it pull any punches when things go wrong, but the movie isn’t completely grim. Even after McQueen is captured again, we’re left with a sense that this act of bravery and defiance is still worth it in the end.

I’m not opposed to a “Ocean’s 11” style popcorn flick every once in a while when all I’m looking for is a bit of excitement and escapism. But to me, the best movies are the ones that leave you with something to think about after the credits have ended. Films like “The Great Escape,” “Glory,” and “Chariots of Fire” aren’t great films because of their action; they’re great because of the way they leverage excitement and drama to ask thought- provoking questions. Some people think it’s ironic for a traffic attorney to have a poster taken from a legendary chase scene up in his office. But for me, McQueen’s desperate cross country ride toward freedom is about so much more than hairpin turns and

To me, the best movies are the ones that leave you with something to think about after the credits have ended.

six-foot jumps over barbed wire fences. It’s about refusing to give up on the chance for freedom, no matter the odds, and fighting for what you believe.

–Mark Bigger

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THE 5-SECOND RULE WILL MAKE YOU SICK 3 Health Myths You Probably Believe

We live in the golden age of information. The answers to many of life’s questions are just an internet search away. Despite this readily available wisdom, we still have a bad habit of believing health-related myths. Here are three popular health “facts” that are total works of fiction.

THE 5-SECOND RULE KEEPS FOOD SAFE Obviously germs and bacteria don’t really wait five seconds to pounce, but snatching your chip off the floor fast keeps most of the germs away, right? Not according to a 2006 study published by Dr. Paul Dawson. He found conclusive evidence that when food comes into contact with a contaminated surface, bacteria are transferred immediately. Even one second spent on tile, wood, or carpet is enough to infest your food with salmonella or another serious contaminant.

each year. However, bottled water is more expensive, bad for the environment, and, as Dr. Morton Tavel of the Indiana University School of Medicine pointed out, over 50 percent of bottled water is just filtered tap water. The same effect can be achieved with a home filtration system. Of course, if the tap water in your area has been contaminated, bottled water is a safer alternative. However, in most circumstances, bottled water is no healthier than tap water. CRACKING YOUR KNUCKLES CAUSES ARTHRITIS The connection between knuckle-cracking and arthritis came from studies where participants self-reported their habits.

Modern medical research has shown these results to be false. The official stance from the John Hopkins Arthritis Center states, “There is no evidence that cracking knuckles causes any damage such as arthritis in the joints.” Still, chronic knuckle-cracking can lead to reduced grip strength, so you might want to break the habit anyway. You’ve probably heard these myths for years, but just because something is common knowledge doesn’t mean it is true. With information so easily available, always take the time to research the facts, especially when it comes to your health.


People seeking out safer water alternatives increases the sales of bottled “spring water”


Why You Need to Request Your MVR Annually

Sometimes, the good folks at the DMV make mistakes. Although this fact shouldn’t surprise anyone who has ever braved the long lines and clunky bureaucracy of the institution, it certainly will come as a surprise if you discover a conviction record has been incorrectly filed in your motor vehicle driving record (MVR). But it definitely happens. Especially for drivers with common names like Smith, Jones, or Gonzalez, convictions of driving violations occasionally get misfiled into the wrong records, giving no end of headaches to innocent motorists. Whenever your auto insurance comes up for renewal, the insurance company requests a copy of your MVR from the DMV. If a record or conviction for an infraction of misdemeanor is inadvertently placed in your MVR, your insurance may not notice the small discrepancy — say, a one-digit difference in driver’s license numbers — and place you in a higher risk bracket due to the conviction. Luckily, preventing this situation from ever occurring is inexpensive and straightforward. We recommend that once a year, motorists contact the DMV to request an unofficial copy of their MVR. They can then thoroughly inspect this record

to ensure everything on the file belongs to them and that no records are more than 39 months old. It is worth noting, though, that most misdemeanors and felony traffic convictions stay on your MVR for seven to 10 years, though you can discuss with a traffic ticket attorney how to get them expunged from your criminal record. If you find any false records or convictions, write to the DMV at: Department of Motor Vehicles P.O. Box 944247 MS G199 Sacramento, CA 94244-2470 Most of the time, the DMV will be eager to clear up any discrepancy. However, there are times when the DMV may refuse to remove incorrect files or records. When this happens, give us a call. We can oftentimes clear up a court entry with a phone call or email. Don’t let a misfiled document cause you stress. Check your record regularly and call us if you ever need advice or help in clearing up your record.

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If you’ve ever visited a Starbucks coffee shop, you’ve likely heard a patron rattle off a drink order that was more specific than your grandma’s pecan pie recipe. For example, they might say, “I’ll take a Grande, four-pump, nonfat, no-whip, extra-hot mocha.” Without missing a beat, the barista scribbles the order on the cup and starts making the drink. Orders like this one are a mouthful for even the most seasoned Starbucks guru, but for deaf people, it can be difficult to even order a cup of black coffee. Adam Novsam, a deaf utility analyst at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, set out to address that difficulty by heading the launch of the company’s first deaf-friendly signing store. OPERATION The store’s grand opening took place in October in Washington, D.C. Its overall success relies primarily on its purposeful operation and design elements. In 2005, the ASL Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet University created the DeafSpace Project using design elements, such as space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility, light, and acoustics, to address potential challenges for deaf people. Starbucks’ signing store incorporates these aspects of DeafSpace to make their store more accessible. For customers new to sign language, the store features some high-tech options for assisting with communication, ordering drinks, and receiving beverages at the handoff counter, including digital notepads and a console with two- way keyboards for back-and-forth conversations. APRONS All store partners at the signing store are proficient in ASL, whether they are hearing, hearing-impaired, or deaf. However, deaf partners wear special green aprons embroidered with the ASL spelling of Starbucks. What’s more, these aprons were created by a deaf supplier! ORDERING COFFEE JUST GOT EASIER How Starbucks Helps the Deaf Community



EDUCATION For hearing customers who aren’t fluent in ASL — even those just ducking in to grab a cup of coffee to go — the signing store offers an opportunity to learn something new. For example, they can learn how to sign a word like “espresso” in ASL merely by reading the chalkboard above the register with the “sign of the week.” Starbucks’ decision to make their product more accessible has benefited thousands of customers all along the East Coast. Hopefully, as time goes on, other corporations will choose to follow suit so we can make a more deaf-friendly society.

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Toll-Free (661) 859-1177 Se Habla Español


1701 Westwind Drive Suite 203 Bakersfield, CA 93301


Mark’s Best Picture Pick .............................. PAGE 1

Let’s Retire These Health Myths ................ PAGE 2

When the DMV Misfiles Documents, You Pay the Price .......................................... PAGE 2

Ordering Coffee Just Got Easier ............... PAGE 3

All About Chocolate ..................................... PAGE 4

Have a ticket in California? Give us a call, and we’ll help you out! Regardless of the location, we can point you in the right direction free of charge!

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT CHOCOLATE Fun Facts to Wow Your Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day Chocolate is a treat savored by people all over the world. What we know as the sweet, creamy decadence that sustains Valentine’s Day actually has greater historical and cultural significance. Fermented chocolate drinks have been dated back to as early as 350 B.C. The Aztecs believed it was the beverage of wisdom, and the Mayans saw it as something to be worshipped. While the history of chocolate is as rich as its flavor, there are some common misconceptions about the treat. Dutch chocolate doesn’t necessarily refer to chocolate made in the Netherlands; the name refers to a specific chocolate-making process that uses the cocoa press. Before Dutch chemist and chocolate-maker C.J. van Houten invented the machine in 1828, chocolate was only used in beverages. Dutch chocolate is chocolate

that has been modified with an alkalizing agent in order to produce a milder flavor, making it a fantastic option for use in baked goods, candy, and ice cream. German chocolate actually has nothing to do with the country of Germany, either. It used to be called “German’s chocolate,” named after its inventor, Sam German, an American who made sweet chocolate for baking. Adding sugar to the chocolate made it a go-to option for bakers around the world, and the base for German chocolate cake was born. For chocolate to be classified as Swiss, it has to be made in Switzerland, as chocolate-making is considered an art form in the country. Known for its “melt in your mouth” quality, Swiss chocolate uses condensed milk to add a velvety texture. Many chocolate makers outside of Switzerland will refer to their interpretations of Swiss chocolate as milk chocolate instead.

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