Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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In this personal injury case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant based on limitations, holding that the court of appeals erred in applying the discovery rule. Plaintiff was injured when he was exposed to and burned by caustic chemicals while working at an oil well site. Less than two years later, Plaintiff sued several defendants. Plaintiff joined Defendant more than two years after he was injured but less than two years after he was diagnosed with cancer, which he attributed to the chemical exposure. Plaintiff argued that he sued Defendant in a timely manner because his cancer was inherently undiscoverable and that his cause of action did not accrue until he discovered the cancer. The court of appeals reversed the summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff raised a genuine issue of material fact about whether he knew or should have known the nature of his injury before his cancer diagnosis. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals incorrectly applied the discovery rule and the latent occupational disease rule. View "Schlumberger Technology Corp. v. Pasko" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court conditionally granted Plaintiff mandamus relief from trial court discovery sanctions in this personal injury case arising from a traffic accident. The trial court judge in Jim Wells County, where the case was pending, denied Plaintiff’s motion for protective orders regarding discovery sought from some of her medical providers. The custodians of the medical providers’ records were located in Bear County and were not parties to the lawsuit. After the Bear County district court judge issued his order granting the custodians protective orders, the Jim Wells County district court judge granted Defendants’ motion to exclude and ordered that certain testimony, medical records, and charges be excluded from the trial as sanctions. Plaintiff sought mandamus relief. The Supreme Court conditionally granted relief, holding that the requirements for mandamus to issue were satisfied. View "In re Carolina Garza" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court conditionally granted Plaintiff mandamus relief from trial court discovery sanctions in this personal injury case arising from a traffic accident. The trial court judge in Jim Wells County, where the case was pending, denied Plaintiff’s motion for protective orders regarding discovery sought from some of her medical providers. The custodians of the medical providers’ records were located in Bear County and were not parties to the lawsuit. After the Bear County district court judge issued his order granting the custodians protective orders, the Jim Wells County district court judge granted Defendants’ motion to exclude and ordered that certain testimony, medical records, and charges be excluded from the trial as sanctions. Plaintiff sought mandamus relief. The Supreme Court conditionally granted relief, holding that the requirements for mandamus to issue were satisfied. View "In re Carolina Garza" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals in this negligence case arising from a motor-vehicle accident that occurred while a drilling-company employee was driving his coworkers from a drilling site to employer-provided housing after a shift, holding that the employer was not entitled to summary judgment on the injured employee’s (Plaintiff) vicarious-liability claim. Plaintiff filed suit against Employer, alleging that Employer was vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment for Employer, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Employer was not entitled to summary judgment on either no-evidence or traditional grounds on Plaintiff’s vicarious-liability claim. View "Painter v. Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of the City of San Antonio’s plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental immunity from a suit for damages arising out of a collision between a car and a motorcycle. In her suit, Plaintiff alleged that City police officers were negligent in engaging in a high speed chase, that the City had actual notice of her claims, and that the City’s immunity was waived by the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The trial court denied the City’s plea to the jurisdiction. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that there was a fact issue as to whether the City had actual notice of Plaintiff’s claims. The City appealed, arguing that the court of appeals applied an erroneous standard. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the cause for want of jurisdiction, holding that the City did not have actual notice that it was at fault in connection with the collision, as required by the TTCA for the City’s immunity to have been waived. Therefore, the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. View "City of San Antonio v. Tenorio" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of the City of San Antonio’s plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental immunity from a suit for damages arising out of a collision between a car and a motorcycle. In her suit, Plaintiff alleged that City police officers were negligent in engaging in a high speed chase, that the City had actual notice of her claims, and that the City’s immunity was waived by the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The trial court denied the City’s plea to the jurisdiction. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that there was a fact issue as to whether the City had actual notice of Plaintiff’s claims. The City appealed, arguing that the court of appeals applied an erroneous standard. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the cause for want of jurisdiction, holding that the City did not have actual notice that it was at fault in connection with the collision, as required by the TTCA for the City’s immunity to have been waived. Therefore, the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. View "City of San Antonio v. Tenorio" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Except in rare circumstances, when the admissibility of a video is at issue, the proper exercise of discretion requires the trial court to actually view the video evidence before ruling on its admissibility. The trial court in this personal-injury suit arising from a workplace accident excluded video evidence without watching it. The video was taken by an investigator hired by the employer and recorded the employee engaging in physical activities over the course of two days. The employer sought to admit the surveillance video into evidence to support its defensive theory that the employee was overstating his pain and downplaying his ability to return to some form of work. Because the surveillance video was highly probative in this case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment entered in favor of the employee awarding him nearly $10 million, holding that the video should not have been excluded under Tex. R. Evid. 403, and the trial court’s abuse of discretion was harmful. View "Diamond Offshore Services Ltd. v. Williams" on Justia Law

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The limitations on mental anguish damages do not require a contractual relationship between the plaintiff and defendant before mental anguish damages can be recovered for mishandling a corpse. Cody Nelson sued SCI Texas Funeral Services, Inc. for negligence in proceeding with the cremation of his mother’s body without his authorization, claiming mental anguish damages for having been denied the opportunity to pay his last respects to his mother. The siblings of Nelson’s mother signed an authorization for SCI to arrange an expedited cremation during Nelson’s absence. The trial court rendered judgment for SCI, concluding that because SCI did not contract with Nelson, it could not be liable to him for mental anguish damages. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that SCI and Nelson had a special relationships without being in contractual privity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Texas common law requires a special relationship, and not necessarily a contractual one, as the basis for mental anguish damages when the defendant had negligently mishandled a corpse. View "SCI Texas Funeral Services, Inc. v. Nelson" on Justia Law

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In this slip-and-fall case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiff and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Defendant. The court held (1) Plaintiff’s claim submitted to the jury under a general-negligence theory of recovery was properly characterized as one for premises liability, and Plaintiff’s failure to request or secure findings to support his premises liability claim could not support a recovery; and (2) Defendant was under no obligation to object to Plaintiff’s submission of an improper theory of recovery, and Defendant preserved its improper theory argument by raising it in a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. View "United Scaffolding, Inc. v. Levine" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In this slip-and-fall case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiff and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Defendant. The court held (1) Plaintiff’s claim submitted to the jury under a general-negligence theory of recovery was properly characterized as one for premises liability, and Plaintiff’s failure to request or secure findings to support his premises liability claim could not support a recovery; and (2) Defendant was under no obligation to object to Plaintiff’s submission of an improper theory of recovery, and Defendant preserved its improper theory argument by raising it in a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. View "United Scaffolding, Inc. v. Levine" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury