Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
from the 97th District Court of Montague County, Texas
(Tr.Ct. No. 2015-0316M-CV)
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
T. WORTHEN, CHIEF JUSTICE
Oilfield Services, L.L.C. (TOS) appeals the trial court's
grant of summary judgment in favor of Albert Clark. TOS
presents two issues on appeal. We reverse and remand.
was employed by TOS in May 2015. His duties included
overseeing TOS's production operations crews. Clark
claims that he suffered heat stroke while working for TOS in
July 2015, which lead to the onset of seizures. Clark
contacted an attorney to pursue filing a workers'
compensation incident report. Shortly thereafter, according
to Clark, TOS terminated his employment.
sued TOS for (1) breaching his employment contract, and (2)
violating the Texas Labor Code by retaliating against him for
retaining counsel to pursue a workers' compensation
claim. Clark later moved for summary judgment, claiming
entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on both his breach
of contract and retaliatory discharge claims. TOS responded
to the motion. Clark filed a reply to TOS's response and
objected to TOS's summary judgment evidence. Following a
hearing, the trial court sustained Clark's objections to
TOS's evidence and granted summary judgment for Clark.
TOS filed a motion for rehearing and new trial, which the
trial court denied. This appeal followed.
first issue, TOS contends the trial court erred in granting
summary judgment for Clark and awarding damages and
attorney's fees to Clark.
movant for traditional summary judgment has the burden of
showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(c); Nixon v. Mr. Prop. Mgmt. Co.,
690 S.W.2d 546, 548 (Tex. 1985). When the movant seeks
summary judgment on a claim in which he has the burden of
proof, he must prove all elements of his cause of action as a
matter of law. See Rhone-Poulenc, Inc. v. Steel, 997
S.W.2d 217, 223 (Tex. 1999). Once the movant establishes a
right to summary judgment, the nonmovant must respond to the
motion and present to the trial court any issues that would
preclude summary judgment. See City of Houston v. Clear
Creek Basin Auth., 589 S.W.2d 671, 678-79 (Tex. 1979).
Except to attack the legal sufficiency of the movant's
grounds for summary judgment, the nonmovant must expressly
present to the trial court in a written answer or response
any reason for avoiding the movant's entitlement to
summary judgment. McConnell v. Southside Indep. Sch.
Dist, 858 S.W.2d 337, 343 (Tex. 1993).
review a trial court's summary judgment ruling de novo.
Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Knott, 128
S.W.3d 211, 215 (Tex. 2003). In doing so, we take as true all
evidence favorable to the nonmovant, resolve all conflicts in
the evidence in the non-movants' favor, and "indulge
every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts in the
nonmovant's favor." Steel, 997 S.W.2d at
223; see also Sudan v. Sudan, 199 S.W.3d 291, 292
(Tex. 2006); KPMG Peat Marwick v. Harrison Cnty. Hous.
Fin. Corp., 988 S.W.2d 746, 748 (Tex. 1999). A fact
issue arises when "reasonable and fair-minded jurors
could differ in their conclusions in light of all of the
evidence presented." Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 755 (Tex. 2007). Conflicting
evidence requires resolution by the factfinder, rather than
by summary judgment. Karlev. Innovative Direct Media Ltd.
Co., 309 S.W.3d 762, 765 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no
of Contract Analysis
appeal, TOS argues that Clark did not establish all the
essential elements of his breach of contract claim as a
matter of law. Specifically, TOS argues that Clark's
summary judgment evidence is legally insufficient to support
the existence of an employment contract because (1) the
evidence does not prove the existence of a valid employment