Thirteenth Court Affirms Judgment for Plaintiff Injured by Conveyor Belt

By October 5, 2015February 10th, 2020Court Decisions, Press Releases

The Thirteenth Court of Appeals has affirmed a judgment awarding damages to a warehouse employee who was severely injured when his arm was caught in a conveyor belt while he was repairing it.

Plaintiff Gerardo Gonzalez was working on a conveyor belt designed and installed by Defendant/Appellant Daniel Arnold in Arnold’s warehouse. Arnold appealed the trial court’s judgment in four issues, claiming: (1) Gonzalez’s suit was barred by the Worker’s Compensation Act; (2) the trial court erred by denying Arnold’s request to submit a jury question on his right to control; (3) legally and factually insufficient evidence supported the jury’s finding regarding Gonzalez’s future earning capacity; and (4) the trial court erred by imposing joint and several liability.

Addressing all four points, the Court held: (1) Arnold’s failure to request a jury question on its affirmative defense waived the worker’s compensation exclusivity issue on appeal; (2) Arnold provided no authority or facts supporting that Pattern Jury Charge 66.3, regarding “right of control,” applied to the case or that the trial court abused its discretion in denying submission of that question; (3) the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support the jury’s award for future earning capacity; and (4) Arnold was joint and severally liable because the jury attributed 65% of the liability to him.

Brandy Wingate Voss was lead appellate counsel and handled the case on appeal, along with Laura P. Haley and trial counsel John Escamilla.

Arnold v. Gonzalez, No. 13-13-0440-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Aug. 28, 2015) (mem. op.) (opinion available here).