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Supreme Court of Texas
October 29, 2020, Argued; March 26, 2021, Opinion Delivered
[*776] This case involves a property owner's liability for injuries its contractor's employees sustained while working on the property. A jury found the property owner liable under both ordinary-negligence and premises-liability theories. The trial court entered judgment for the employees based on those findings, and the court of appeals affirmed. The property owner challenges the judgment on the grounds that the employees failed to submit legally sufficient evidence and failed to obtain jury findings necessary to establish liability, particularly as required under chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. In response, the employees contend that chapter [*777] 95 does not apply, the property owner waived some of its arguments, and the evidence sufficiently supports the jury's verdict. We hold that chapter 95 applies, but we agree with the employees that they nevertheless established their claim, and we therefore affirm the court of appeals' judgment.
Juan Valdez and Alfredo Teran were injured while working on the construction [**2] of a four-unit condominium building on South Padre Island. Los Compadres Pescadores,1 L.L.C., owned the property and intended to lease the condos as residential apartments. Instead of hiring a general contractor, Los Compadres hired Luis Martin Torres to manage and supervise the project.
The sandy nature of the island's soil required that the building's foundation be constructed on concrete pilings buried deep into the ground below. Based on a bid Torres obtained, Los Compadres contracted Luis Paredes, Jr., d/b/a Paredes Power Drilling, to construct the pilings. Valdez and Teran were working for Paredes when they were injured.
The process Paredes used to install the concrete pilings required that he (1) level and compact fill dirt that had been brought onto the property, (2) drill a hole twenty-five feet deep for each of the more than twenty required pilings, (3) fill each hole with concrete, and (4) insert long metal reinforcement rods, commonly known as rebar, into each hole before the concrete dried. Before Paredes began his work, Los Compadres hired another subcontractor to build a retaining wall along the back of the property line so that the fill dirt could be added. After leveling [**3] and compacting the fill dirt for the Los Compadres project, Paredes used a crane with a fifty-foot-high boom and a special drill bit that simultaneously pulled the dirt out and poured the concrete in as he was drilling, combining the second and third steps into one. After drilling and filling one hole, he and his crew would insert the rebar into the wet concrete before moving on to the next.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
622 S.W.3d 771 *; 2021 Tex. LEXIS 248 **
LOS COMPADRES PESCADORES, L.L.C., PETITIONER, v. JUAN G. VALDEZ AND ALFREDO TERAN, RESPONDENTS
Subsequent History: Motion for rehearing on petition for review denied by Los Compadres Pescadores, L.L.C. v. Valdez, 2021 Tex. LEXIS 487 (Tex., June 11, 2021)
Prior History: [**1] ON PETITION FOR REVIEW FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRTEENTH DISTRICT OF TEXAS.
Los Compadres Pescadores, L.L.C. v. Valdez, 608 S.W.3d 829, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5086, 2019 WL 2529038 (Tex. App. Corpus Christi, June 20, 2019)
power line, dangerous condition, workplace, pilings, energized, constructs, rebar, actual knowledge, contractor, concrete, drilling, waived, feet, jury finding, premises, hole, real property, injuries, safe, circumstances, fill, warn, crew, court of appeals, matter of law, contacted, hired, dirt, vicariously liable, property owner
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