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Harris County -- Houston Sports Authority v. Fernando Chilel

April 25, 2013

HARRIS COUNTY -- HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY,
APPELLANT
v.
FERNANDO CHILEL,
APPELLEE



On Appeal from the 125th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2011-43800

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Margaret Garner Mirabal Senior Justice

In The Fourteenth Court of Appeals

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In this personal injury case, appellant Harris County -- Houston Sports Authority ("HSA") contends the trial court erred by denying HSA's plea to the jurisdiction.*fn1 We affirm.

I.BACKGROUND

It is undisputed that HSA is a governmental entity and it owns Minute Maid Park. Chilel sued HSA*fn2 for negligence under the Texas Tort Claims Act ("TTCA")*fn3 for injuries he sustained while performing electrical work at Minute Maid Park. Chilel alleged that on March 8, 2011, he was employed by Benjamin Electrical Services, which had been hired to perform electrical work at Minute Maid Park. Chilel was standing near a temporary safety railing "improperly fastened with small zip ties," and while calling out to a co-worker below, the railing "gave way," causing Chilel to fall fifteen to twenty feet down to the concrete below. Chilel sustained various injuries due to the fall. Chilel asserts HSA breached its duty to provide him with a safe workplace because, to reach the electrical work he was performing, he was required to stand on unsafe platforms. More specifically, Chilel alleged HSA breached its duty by:

a. Failing to provide an adequate and safe workplace;

b. Failing to recognize the railing was unsafe;

c. Failing to provide [him] with proper materials and equipment;

d. Failing to use reasonable care in securing the railing;

e. Failing to warn [him] of the instability of the railing; [and]

f. Failing to restrict access to the railing area.

HSA filed a plea to the jurisdiction, (1) asserting Chilel-as the plaintiff asserting a premises defect claim-was required, but failed, to allege HSA had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition, and (2) submitting affidavit evidence that HSA did not have actual knowledge of the dangerous ...


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