Case details

Tire blowout was unavoidable, defense argued





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, cognition, emotional distress, mental, neck, psychological, traumatic brain injury
On July 25, 2011, plaintiff Steve Maddin, 49, an electric lineman, and his wife, plaintiff Pamela Miller, 47, were rear seat passengers in a 2001 Ford Expedition operated by Mona Miller, Pamela Miller’s sister and an owner of the vehicle. The co-owner of the vehicle, Bernadette Gambino, was seated in the front, passenger seat. When they were east of Barstow, traveling along westbound Needles Freeway, also known as Interstate 40, a rear tire blew out, causing the vehicle to lose control and go down a ravine. The vehicle subsequently rolled over six times. Maddin, who was unbelted, was ejected from the vehicle, as was Mona Miller. Maddin sustained head , and Pamela Miller sustained neck and back . The driver, Mona Miller, died at the scene. Maddin and Pamela Miller sued the owners of the vehicle, Gambino and the estate of Mona Miller. The tire companies, Yokohama Tire Corp. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., and the manufacturers of the vehicle, Central Ford Automotive Inc. and Ford Motor Co., were also sued, but were dismissed from the case. In addition, an automotive repair service company, Pacific Auto & Electric, was also sued, but it was let out on summary judgment. Thus, the matter continued against Gambino and the estate only. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Gambino and Mona Miller were negligent in the maintenance of the vehicle. Counsel also contended that Mona Miller was negligent in the operation of the vehicle, specifically regarding her improper steering when the tire blew out. Defense counsel contended that the vehicle was maintained properly and that the tire blowout was unavoidable and unpredictable. Additionally, defense counsel noted that Maddin was not wearing his seat belt., Maddin was airlifted to a hospital, while Pamela Miller was transported by ambulance to a hospital. Maddin sustained a significant head injury, resulting in brain damage. As a result, he suffers from cognitive impairment and permanent loss of his sense of smell and taste (anosmia). He also claimed he suffers from the loss of short-term memory. Maddin was employed as an electric lineman for Duke Power of Cincinnati, Ohio. He claimed that although he did miss time from work, he was eventually was able to return to work. Pamela Miller sustained soft tissue to her neck and back. She also claimed emotional distress as a result of witnessing her husband, Maddin, being ejected from the vehicle.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case