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Seabright Insurance Co. v. Lopez

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

January 29, 2014

SEABRIGHT INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant
v.
Maximina LOPEZ, Beneficiary of Candelario Lopez, Deceased, Appellee

Petition for review filed by, 05/09/2014

Page 443

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 444

From the 229th Judicial District Court, Starr County, Texas. Trial Court No. DC 08-484. Honorable Ana Lisa Garza, Judge Presiding.

For APPELLANT: Dana Gannon, Houston, TX; Joy Marie Brennan, Houston, TX.

For APPELLEE: Martin J. Phipps, Goldman, Pennebaker & Phipps, P.C., San Antonio, TX; Craig M. Saucier, Saucier and Smaistrla PLLC, San Antonio, TX; Kimberly S. Keller, Keller Stokarcyzk PLLC, Boerne, TX.

OPINION

Page 445

Marialyn Barnard, Justice.

AFFIRMED

This is an appeal from a trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of appellee Maximina Lopez, Beneficiary

Page 446

of Candelario Lopez, deceased (" Mrs. Lopez" ), and denying summary judgment in favor of appellant Seabright Insurance Company. On appeal, Seabright challenges the denial of its motion for summary judgment and granting of summary judgment in favor of Mrs. Lopez. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

Background

Candelario Lopez (" Lopez" ) was fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident while traveling from his motel room in Marlin, Texas, to his jobsite in Ridge, Texas. Lopez's widow sought workers' compensation benefits, which Seabright denied, contending Lopez was not in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Mrs. Lopez then filed a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation (" DWC" ) to recover compensation benefits for her husband's death. After a contested case hearing, a hearing officer with the DWC determined Lopez was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Seabright appealed, but the Appeals Panel affirmed the hearing officer's decision. Seabright challenged the administrative decision by filing a petition for judicial review in the trial court.

In the trial court, Seabright and Lopez filed competing traditional motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether Lopez was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. The summary judgment ...


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