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Advance Tire and Wheels, LLC v. Enshikar

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

June 13, 2017

ADVANCE TIRE AND WHEELS, LLC, Appellant
v.
ABRHIM ENSHIKAR, Appellee

         On Appeal from the 190th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2012-15287

          Panel consists of Justices Massengale, Brown, and Huddle.

          OPINION

          Michael Massengale Justice

         Abrhim Enshikar sued his employer, Advance Tire and Wheels, LLC, for negligence arising out of injuries he suffered due to the explosion of an over-sized tire that he inflated without the benefit of any safety equipment. After a bench trial, the court entered judgment in Enshikar's favor. Advance Tire appeals, challenging the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence to support the judgment. We affirm.

         Background

         Abrhim Enshikar was a tire repairman. He learned and worked at his trade for a few years in his native Morocco. After moving to Texas, he worked at a tire-repair shop for approximately 18 months. Then he took a new job at Advance Tire and Wheels, LLC, where he was employed for about eight months prior to the accident that gave rise to this litigation.

         Enshikar was inflating a tire for use on a pickup truck with a lifted suspension. The tire was larger than those used on ordinary passenger vehicles, but it was not a "heavy-duty" tire like those used on commercial vehicles, such as semi-trailer trucks. As compared to a heavy-duty commercial tire, this tire was taller, but it required less air pressure and weighed much less.

         Enshikar struggled to inflate the tire alone, so his supervisor, Jawad Abualhalaweh, and a coworker came to his aid. Two held the tire upright while the third put air in it. Enshikar said that he and Abualhalaweh held the tire while his coworker put air in it. Abualhalaweh said that he started to put air in the tire. While they were inflating the tire, Abualhalaweh left to answer his mobile telephone. Enshikar and his coworker continued inflating the tire. Then it exploded.

         The tire explosion injured Enshikar's right hand, exposing the bone in his thumb. Both employees were hospitalized, and Enshikar spent three weeks in the hospital, during which time he had multiple surgeries on his right hand to save the thumb.

         Advance Tire was a nonsubscriber to the Texas Workers Compensation Act at the time of the accident. Enshikar filed this suit, alleging that Advance Tire negligently caused his injuries. Advance Tire denied liability. In a bench trial, the trial court heard conflicting testimony about whether:

• the tire was in poor condition when the customer brought it in for service;
• Enshikar and Abualhalaweh discussed the condition of the tire before inflating it;
• Advance Tire had a practice of trying to service tires regardless of their condition; and
• Advance Tire should have had a cage for securing tires so that its employees would not have to hold ...

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