Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
THE 153RD DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO.
LIVINGSTON, C.J.; WALKER and MEIER, JJ.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
trial court granted a traditional summary judgment for
Appellees Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board (the
Board) and UBM Enterprise, Inc. (UBM) on Appellant Pamela
Vernon's claims against them following Vernon's
slip-and-fall injury in a large puddle of water in a bathroom
at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW Airport).
For the reasons set forth below, we will affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
sustained personal injuries on February 23, 2013, when she
slipped and fell in a bathroom in Terminal D of the DFW
Airport. Vernon explained that she was walking toward one of
the bathroom's stalls when she stepped in standing water,
fell, and slid into the stall. Although she did not see the
water before she fell, she examined it afterwards. Vernon
said that the water spanned "the whole length of the
whole thing. It was [on] all of them, all of the
stalls." The water was clear, not dirty, and Vernon did
not know how long it had been on the floor or how it got
there. Vernon said no signs had been posted in the bathroom
warning of the water, and she did not see any airport
employees or janitorial/housekeeping workers in the bathroom.
Vernon slipped and fell, UBM had contracted with the
Board-the operator of the DFW Airport-to clean Terminal D of
the airport, including cleaning the bathrooms located in
Terminal D. According to Jimmy Oh, UBM's Vice President,
UBM crews "routinely cleaned and inspected each bathroom
[in Terminal D] twice an hour and cleaned up any spills or
debris on the floor of the bathrooms as part of [that]
process." Oh said that the bathroom in question
"would not have gone without an inspection and cleaning
for more than 30 minutes" and that prior to Vernon's
fall, "no spill or maintenance need had been reported to
UBM concerning any water on the floor in any of the bathrooms
located [in] Terminal D." Oh also stated that UBM
"had not discovered any water on the floors in the
bathroom where [Vernon] allegedly fell prior to her
fall" and that "[n]o employee with UBM or . . .
[the Board] was aware of any water spill in the bathrooms
located in Terminal D . . . prior to the time of
sued Appellees alleging claims for premises liability,
negligent activity, and negligence. Appellees' motion for
traditional summary judgment asserted that they were entitled
to judgment on Vernon's claims as a matter of law because
they had conclusively negated the
actual-or-constructive-knowledge element and the invitee
element of Vernon's premises liability claim and had
conclusively negated the proximate cause element of
Vernon's negligent activity and negligence claims,
assuming those causes of action exist based on the present
facts. Vernon filed a response and two supplemental responses
to Appellees' traditional motion for summary judgment.
After a hearing, the trial court signed a summary judgment
for Appellees and decreed that Vernon take nothing. This
raises two issues arguing that summary judgment on her
premises liability claim was improper because she raised
genuine issues of material fact on the invitee and
actual-or-constructive-knowledge elements of that
Standard of Review
review a summary judgment de novo. Travelers Ins. Co. v.
Joachim, 315 S.W.3d 860, 862 (Tex. 2010). We consider
the evidence presented in the light most favorable to the
nonmovant, crediting evidence favorable to the nonmovant if
reasonable jurors could, and disregarding evidence contrary
to the nonmovant unless reasonable jurors could not. Mann
Frankfort Stein & Lipp Advisors, Inc. v. Fielding,
289 S.W.3d 844, 848 (Tex. 2009). We indulge every reasonable
inference and resolve any doubts in the nonmovant's
favor. 20801, Inc. v. Parker, 249 S.W.3d 392, 399
(Tex. 2008). A defendant who conclusively negates at least
one essential element of a cause of action is entitled to
summary judgment on that claim. Frost Nat'l Bank v.
Fernandez, 315 S.W.3d 494, 508 (Tex. 2010), cert.
denied, 562 U.S. 1180 (2011); see Tex. R. Civ.
P. 166a(b), (c). Once the defendant produces sufficient
evidence to establish the right to summary judgment, the
burden shifts to the plaintiff to come forward with competent
controverting evidence that raises a fact issue. Van v.
Peña, 990 S.W.2d 751, 753 (Tex. 1999).
The Elements of a Premises Liability Claim
essential elements of a premises liability claim are: (1)
actual or constructive knowledge of a condition on the
premises by the owner or occupier; (2) that the condition
posed an unreasonable risk of harm; (3) that the owner or
occupier did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or
eliminate the risk; and (4) that the owner or occupier's
failure to use such care proximately caused the
plaintiff's injury. Daitch v. Mid-Am. Apartment
Communities, Inc., 250 S.W.3d 191, 194 (Tex. App.-Dallas
2008, no pet.). Whether a plaintiff must prove actual or
constructive knowledge of the condition by the owner or
occupier depends on the status of the plaintiff at the time
of the incident giving rise to the suit. QuickTrip Corp.
v. Goodwin, 449 S.W.3d 665, 670 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth
2014, pet. denied). When the plaintiff is a licensee, she
must establish that the owner or occupier had actual
knowledge of the condition; when the plaintiff is an invitee,
however, the plaintiff may establish the knowledge element by
demonstrating that the owner or occupier had either ...