MehaffyWeber attorneys obtain summary judgment, defense verdict


Warren Wise and Michele Smith of MehaffyWeber in Houston recently obtained summary judgment in a multi-million-dollar, on-the-job personal injury lawsuit pending in the 129th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged he fell off the second floor of a home during construction and, as a result, brought negligence and gross negligence claims against the general contractor on the project, seeking in excess of $8 million in past and future medical expenses. Among other things, the plaintiff alleged the general contractor was negligent in failing to provide a safe workplace for the plaintiff, failing to warn the plaintiff that a dangerous condition existed that required extra precautions be taken, and acting in reckless disregard for the safety and welfare of its employees,
agents, sub-contractors, and all workers, including the plaintiff.

In developing their argument that the general contractor did not owe any legal duty to the plaintiff, Wise and Smith elicited testimony from numerous witnesses that the general contractor did not supervise the plaintiff on the job site, did not supply the plaintiff with any tools or equipment, and did not tell the plaintiff (1) what to do on the job site, (2) how to perform his job duties, or (3) how to be safe while working. Yet, the plaintiff alternatively
argued that the general contractor owed the plaintiff a legal duty on the ground that the general contractor had a contractual right to control the means and methods of the plaintiff’s work on the project. Wise and Smith convinced the judge that the plaintiff’s argument was without merit based on Texas case law.

In another matter, MehaffyWeber’s Gayla Corley received a defense verdict in the 131st District Court in Bexar County, Texas. The case involved a minor rear-end collision on Loop 410 near Callaghan in morning rush hour traffic. The allegations were negligence and respondeat superior. Plaintiff had undergone a laminectomy and fusion at L5/S1 and sought $5.3 million in damages. The jury was out about 35 minutes before returning a
no-negligence finding. They didn’t reach the damage question.

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