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Molina v. Hurricane Harbor, L.P.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler

June 7, 2017

YULMA MOLINA, APPELLANT
v.
HURRICANE HARBOR, L.P., APPELLEE

         Appeal from the 96th District Court of Tarrant County, Texas (Tr. Ct. No. 096-263952-13)

          Panel consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Greg Neeley Justice.

         Yulma "Janet" Molina appeals from a take nothing judgment in her lawsuit against Hurricane Harbor, L.P. for negligence. In two issues, Janet challenges the admission of certain evidence and the sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm.

         Background

         Janet sued Hurricane Harbor for negligence arising out of injuries she sustained while on the "Mega Wedgie, " a water slide located at Hurricane Harbor's water park. At trial, Janet testified that she and her husband, Carlos, received an inner tube from the attendant at the bottom of the slide. Janet testified that, after being dispatched onto the slide, she felt the tube "missing air" and beginning to flip. She was ejected from the tube, her head and shoulder struck the slide, and she lost consciousness.

         The jury found Janet sixty percent negligent and Hurricane Harbor forty percent negligent. The jury did not award any damages to Janet. The trial court signed a take nothing judgment in accordance with the jury's verdict. This appeal followed.

         Exclusion of Evidence

         In issue one, Janet challenges the trial court's exclusion of evidence regarding similar accidents that occurred on the Mega Wedgie.

         Standard of Review

         We review a trial court's exclusion of evidence under an abuse of discretion standard. Caffe Ribs, Inc. v. State, 487 S.W.3d 137, 142 (Tex. 2016). A trial court abuses its discretion when it acts without regard for any guiding rules. Id. The erroneous exclusion of evidence is reversible only if it probably resulted in an improper judgment. JLG Trucking v. Garza, 466 S.W.3d 157, 161 (Tex. 2015); Tex.R.App.P. 44.1(a)(1).

         Facts

         During trial, Janet sought to admit a document, dated July 22, 2010, that memorialized a telephone conversation between a park employee and the Mega Wedgie's manufacturer, Scott Getschel from Water Fun Products. The document states as follows:

I called Scott and told him that we had been having a rash of injuries at the Mega Wedgie due to either whiplash or guests striking their heads on the slide. I verified that we were using the correct tube (a figure 8 double tube), and that the rider position was correct (sitting up, facing forward, chin tucked, heavier rider in back). He mentioned a tube with a backrest on it. I told him that we had gotten some tubes from Zebec. He told me that that was the tube he was referring to. I asked about rider position and he told me that the heavier rider should be in the back.

         Hurricane Harbor objected that the exhibit was irrelevant, did not involve substantially similar incidents, is more prejudicial than probative, and lacked a ...


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