Exclusive Remedy Defense – Affirmed

  • Trahan v. Premcor
    • 09-17-00005-CV, 2018 WL 3887634
    • 58th District Court of Jefferson County
    • Justice Kreger, Aug. 16, 2018
  • Trahan sustained on-the-job injury at the Valero Port Arthur facility and sued Premcor.
  • Premcor filed a motion for summary judgment based on the exclusive remedy provisions under Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. Trahan argued that she was an employee of Valero, not Premcor, and that Premcor did not have workers’ compensation insurance in its own name.
  • In conjunction with the TWCA’s definition of “employer,” the Ninth Court observed that Premcor is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, a holding company with no employees; Valero Services, Inc. is another wholly-owned subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation that provides payroll services to Premcor; and that Premcor owns and operates the Valero Port Arthur Refinery. Thus, the Court held that Premcor is an employer under the TWCA.
  • Valero produced workers’ compensation coverage for entities under its umbrella, including its subsidiaries. Therefore, Premcor was entitled to the exclusive remedy defense under the TWCA.

Chapter 74 Expert Reports – Affirmed

  • Golden Years Assisted Living v. Richard
    • 09-17-00251-CV, 2018 WL 3384500
    • 128th District Court of Orange County
    • Justice Johnson, July 12, 2018
  • Priscilla alleges negligent care or treatment of her husband after being admitted to Golden Years and New Century Hospice.
  • To support her case, Plaintiff provided expert reports of a registered nurse and a plastic surgeon. Defendants filed motion to dismiss for failure to file adequate expert reports under Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code for healthcare liability claims, claiming that the reports were conclusory as to causation.
  • In response, Plaintiffs argued that causation was adequately addressed and the reports met the requirements of Chapter 74. Addendum reports were filed to supplement standards of case, after which Defendants filed a second motion to dismiss.
  • The Ninth Court held that when evaluating a report under Chapter 74, the report must demonstrate causation only beyond mere conjecture. The reports provided a basis for the trial court to concluded that the threshold requirements of Chapter 74 were met and the Plaintiff’s claim asserted a viable liability theory with merit. No abuse of discretion.

Child Custody and Support – Affirmed

  • In the Interest of LJF
    • 09-17-00151-CV, 2018 WL 3384501
    • 279th District Court of Jefferson County
    • Justice McKeithen, July 12, 2018
  • F. argued trial court abused discretion in its award of retroactive child support. F. also complained that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering that X could determine the child’s primary residence without any geographic restriction.
  • Ninth Court held that there was some evidence to support the trial court’s award and application of the child support guidelines. Further, the Ninth Court held that the best interest of the child was considered and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by waiving geographical restrictions.

Expert Designation – Affirmed

  • Guardianship of Hoffpauir
    • 09-16-00152-CV, 2018 WL 1321509
    • County Court at Law of Orange County
    • Justice McKeithen, Mar. 15, 2018
  • Hoffpauir complained that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding  her expert witness’s offered testimony regarding audio recordings. The Respondents contended that the audio recordings and the offered opinions were not disclosed by Hoffpauir in her designation of experts; Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 193.6 is mandatory absent a showing of good cause or lack of unfair prejudice.
  • The Ninth Court held that Hoffpauir never amended or supplemented her designation of experts to disclose that her expert had relied upon the audio recordings or that the expert would be called upon to give an opinion concerning the audio recordings. Given that the testimony was offered for the first time at trial, there was no good cause or lack of prejudice shown. The Ninth Court found that under Rule 193.6, the trial court did not abuse his discretion.

Debtor/Creditor – Affirmed

  • Envtl. Processing Sys., LC v. Horner
    • 09-16-00197-CV, 2018 WL 915184
    • 75th District Court of Liberty County
    • Justice Horton, Feb. 15, 2018
  • Horner, a collection agent, brought suit against Environmental Processing Systems, LLC (EPS) and Stegall to collect sums owed under a renewal note. Horner obtained the notes by assignment from creditors, and then he agreed with EPS and Stegall to a renewal and extension.
  • EPS and Stegall claimed that the loans violated Chapter 305 of the Texas Finance Code, a provision that penalizes creditors who contract, charge, or receive usurious interest. After a bench trial, the trial court awarded a verdict in favor of Horner.
  • On appeal, EPS and Stegall challenged the trial court’s finding against them on the issue of usury.
  • The Ninth Court concluded that EPS and Stegall had failed to meet their burden of proof and provide legally sufficient evidence to establish the fair market value of the debt and their a claim of usury; the trial court’s judgment was affirmed.