Appeal from the 190th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2015-52958-A
consists of Justices Keyes, Bland, and Huddle.
independent-contractor security guard shot Michael Henderson
with a rubber bullet during an early morning encounter in the
parking lot of Henderson's apartment complex. Henderson
sued his landlord, Parque View Apartments, its management
companies, and Ranger Guard and Investigations, the security
company that had contracted to provide security services at
Parque View. Henderson claims that Parque View and its
management ("Parque View") breached (1) a duty of
care in hiring and retaining the Ranger Guard that shot him
and (2) a duty to notify apartment residents that security
would be patrolling the property.
View moved for summary judgment on traditional grounds,
contending that: (1) Ranger Guard was an independent
contractor over which it exercised no control, and thus
Parque View owed no duty to Henderson with respect to Ranger
Guard's activities; and (2) Parque View had no duty to
warn Henderson of the presence of armed security at the
complex. The trial court granted Parque View's motion.
The trial court severed the summary judgment from the
remaining claims against Ranger Guard and Henderson appeals,
challenging the propriety of the summary judgment on both
grounds. We affirm.
View is a 352-unit apartment complex located in Harris County
near the Texas Medical Center. Responding to reports of
increased criminal activity in the area, Parque View
contracted with Ranger Guard to provide private security
services for the apartment complex. The contract between
Parque View and Ranger Guard declares that "Ranger Guard
and Investigations is an independent contractor of [Parque
View]." Ranger Guard warrants that its services
"shall be performed by personnel possessing competency
consistent with applicable industry standards, " who are
required to be licensed and pass screening for sex offender
status, criminal history, and drug use.
contract further provides that Parque View "may, with
the approval of Ranger Guard . . . issue written directions
within the general scope of Security Services to be ordered.
Such changes . . . may be for additional work or Ranger Guard
. . . may be directed to change the direction of work covered
by the Task Order, consistent with all applicable laws, but
no change will be allowed unless agreed to by Ranger Guard .
. . in writing." The record contains no allegation or
evidence of any change made pursuant to this provision.
Guard assigned Dameon Roberson, who had been working for
Ranger Guard since 2011, to provide the security services at
Parque View. Roberson is a state-commissioned security
officer. Roberson provided Ranger Guard with daily shift
reports and lengthier incident reports when necessary to keep
Ranger Guard informed of specific encounters that went beyond
routine surveillance activities. He also provided copies of
these reports to Parque View. For the several weeks preceding
the September 2013 incident involving Henderson, Roberson
• An occasion in which he "presented himself with
arms" to the driver of a truck who was aggressively
attempting to enter through an exit gate that was triggered
open by a resident who was attempting to leave.
• An early-morning encounter with a resident that
occurred when Roberson responded to a siren sounding in the
parking lot. The resident refused to identify himself to
Roberson and yelled and cursed at Roberson. Roberson
approached the tenant with a telescopic baton in hand, and
the resident retreated up the stairs and into his apartment.
Roberson notified local police of the incident.
• An evening incident in which Roberson confronted an
individual suspected for manually pulling the motorized exit
gate open after having been instructed not to do so. Roberson
displayed his stun baton, whereupon the individual left the
property, identified as a resident, then was allowed to enter
through the pedestrian gate.
the same period, a few residents complained to the apartment
management office that Roberson spoke rudely or
"coarsely" to them. On two occasions, residents who
apparently were unaware that security was patrolling the
premises contacted local police to report uniformed
individuals whom they believed were impersonating officers on
the premises. Parque View, which believed it had previously
taped notices to the residents' doors concerning the new
security arrangements, did so again after these police
early hours of September 12, 2013, Henderson, a complex
resident, pulled into the parking lot. Roberson noticed the
car sitting in the lot while the driver remained inside. He
approached Henderson's car and shined a flashlight into
the driver's-side window. Roberson instructed Henderson
to get out of the car. Henderson, however, remained in his
car. Roberson then aimed a gun at Henderson and insisted that
he get out of the car. Henderson got out of the car and
entered into a discussion with Roberson. The parties dispute
how each behaved during that discussion. At some point,
Roberson discharged his gun, shooting Henderson in the