Extensive injuries claimed in auto vs. pedestrian case. Defense. Orange County.


Auto making right-hand turn at intersection strikes pedestrian; liability and injuries contested.

The Case

  • Case Name: Obdulia Morales v. Jeffrey Harris
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2017-00918947-CU-PA-CJC
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, November 15, 2018
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Gregory Lewis
  • Plaintiffs:
    Obdulia Morales, late 40s, line cook.
  • Defendants:
    Jeffrey Harris
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: Defense verdict.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Arash Khorsandi by Brian Beecher, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Veatch Carlson, LLP by Robert Mackey and Gregory Selarz, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Defendant was driving to work and plaintiff was walking to work in the city of Fullerton. After coming to a stop at a T-intersection, defendant attempted to make a right turn as plaintiff attempted to cross the street from right to left, in front of defendant’s moving vehicle.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended that defendant was looking left to check for oncoming traffic while trying to negotiate the right turn. While looking to his left, he began making his right turn and did not see plaintiff walking in front of his car. Plaintiff was walking from right to left in front of defendant’s car. As a result, plaintiff claimed that defendant’s car hit her, causing her to fall, and that she sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neck injury that would require: a future cervical fusion, physical therapy, balance therapy, and psychological therapy for the remainder of her life.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant contended that plaintiff tried to cross the street outside of the unmarked cross walk, and it was her negligence that was the cause of the accident.

    Further, defendant contested the nature and extent of injury: that plaintiff did not sustain a mild traumatic brain injury but may have sustained a minor neck injury that would have resolved with conservative chiropractic treatment.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff claimed to have sustained a traumatic brain injury with associated emotional injury, dizziness, cognitive deficits, headaches, and balance issues that would last the remainder of her life. Additionally, she sustained a neck injury that required chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, an epidural injection, and would require future treatment consisting of a cervical fusion surgery and potentially future epidural injections.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $499,999.99 after a demand of $100,000.
  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $3,000,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $100,000

Additional Notes

Per defense counsel:

Plaintiff presented expert testimony consisting of: an accident reconstructionist / biomechanical engineer, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, neuropsychologist, ENT, radiologist, and had retained an economist who did not provide live testimony. Plaintiff attempted to call in a second neurologist as well as an expert to put forth a future care plan, but both were excluded from testifying. Furthermore, plaintiff called two children and the husband of plaintiff to testify that the injuries claimed were consistent with their observations and experience with plaintiff post-accident.

Defendant retained experts to mirror plaintiff’s.

Plaintiff requested that the jury award between $3,000,000 - $10,000,000 inclusive of past/future medical damages, and past/future pain and suffering.

Per plaintiff's counsel:

Post trial motions are in the works due to, among other reasons: despite court order, the defense experts repeatedly mentioned facts regarding plaintiff's immigration status.