Driver's left-turn collision results in serious injuries to passenger. $2M. Orange County.


Liability conceded but extent of injuries disputed.

The Case

  • Case Name: Tammy Bliss v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2016-00861733-CU-PA-CJC
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, September 06, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, July 05, 2016
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles - Left Turn
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Sheila Fell
  • Plaintiffs:
    Tammy Bliss, 55.
  • Defendants:
    Mazda Motor of America, Inc.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,082,500
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    The  defendant driver, a senior director for Mazda, was dismissed prior to trial.

  • Economic Damages:

    Future medical expenses: $182,500

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past pain and suffering: $400,000

    Future pain and suffering: $1,500,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Brian J. Breiter, LLP by Brian Breiter and Chance Pardon, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Small, Henstridge, Cabodi & Pyles, LLP by Robert Henstridge and Ladan Shelechi, Laguna Hills.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Hyman Gross, M.D., neurology; Santa Monica.

    Charles Rosen, M.D., orthopedic surgery (general/spine), Long Beach.

    Khyber Zaffarkhan, D.O., physical medicine & rehabilitation/life care planning, Newport Beach.

    Deborah Cresswell, Ph.D., psychology; Encino.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Gregory Whitman, M.D., neurology; Irvine.

    Kent Adamson, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Mission Viejo.

    Frederic Edelman, M.D., neurosurgery, Los Angeles.

    Manuel Saint Martin, M.D., J.D., psychiatry, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On September 15, 2015, plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by John Abel, an employee of defendant Mazda Motor of America, Inc., in the course and scope of his employment. They were involved in a vehicle collision at the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Redhill Avenue in the City of Irvine.

    Mr. Abel made a left turn against a red arrow, causing the collision. Both vehicles were totaled and plaintiffs was transported to the hospital via ambulance. Plaintiff received consistent treatment from healthcare providers through the time of trial.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant's negligent driving caused all of plaintiff's injuries.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant conceded the disc surgery and damages related to same. Plaintiff also claimed a mild TBI (Dr. Gross plaintiff neurologist), spinal cord compression – permanent ataxia (gait instability permanent), adjacent disc level replacement within several years, total shoulder replacement – within 10 years (left arm) and AC joint surgery present (left arm ) by Dr. Rosen – orthopedic spine surgeon. Live-in home nursing care within the next year for the rest of plaintiff’s life (Dr. Rosen and Dr. Zaffarkhan – life care planner and pain medicine specialist. PTSD and chronic depression (Dr. Gross and Dr. Cresswell PHD. psychologist.)

    Defense experts disagreed with claims of  TBI, PTSD, total shoulder replacement, gait instability, life-time in-home care and adjacent level surgery.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Disc herniation and extrusion at C5-C6-C7 that resulted in an artificial disc replacement at those two levels. Concussion and post-concussion syndrome resulting in balance issues. Traumatic arthritis to left shoulder.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,497,746
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $503,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $603,000

Additional Notes

Plaintiff's initial pre-trial demand was $2,500,000. Plaintiff then served a 998 for $1,497,746. Defendant initially offered $275,000 pre-trial and then served a 998 for $503,000. Defendant's final pre-trial offer was for $603,000.
Per defense counsel:

Plaintiff asked jury to award $11+ million in damages in closing argument.

Plaintiff demanded $6 million to settle while the jury was deliberating.

Defense offer was $650,000 prior to the start of plaintiff’s case in chief.