Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
Selena PESQUEDA, Individually and on Behalf of Baltasar Pesqueda, Jr., Deceased, and as Next Friend of Derey Ramirez and Izayah Ramirez, Minors, Appellants
Oscar Ramiro MARTINEZ, Appellee
the 57th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2015CI05581 Honorable Richard Price, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Karen Angelini,
Justice Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice.
Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice.
Pesqueda, Jr. was the passenger in a company vehicle being
driven by Oscar Ramiro Martinez when Martinez veered into
oncoming traffic and collided with a tractor-trailer.
Baltasar died as a result of the accident, and his
beneficiaries were paid workers' compensation death
benefits. In this appeal, Baltasar's wife, Selena
Pesqueda, individually and on behalf of Baltasar, and as next
friend of their minor children Derey Ramirez and Izayah
Ramirez, contends the trial court erred in granting summary
judgment in favor of Martinez because her receipt of the
workers' compensation death benefits did not conclusively
establish an affirmative defense in Martinez's favor.
Specifically, Selena argues the summary judgment evidence did
not conclusively establish Martinez was in the course and
scope of his employment with the company at the time of the
collision. We affirm the trial court's judgment.
7, 2013, Baltasar, Martinez, Roy Longoria, Jr., and David
Rendon were traveling to a job site in a vehicle owned by
their employer Utility Lines Construction Services, Inc. (the
"Company") with Martinez driving. Martinez veered
into oncoming traffic and collided with a tractor-trailer.
Baltasar died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the
retained an attorney and filed a beneficiary claim for
workers' compensation death benefits. After a dispute
arose regarding Baltasar's average weekly wage,
Selena's attorney requested a benefit review conference
to resolve the dispute; however, the parties subsequently
entered into a benefit dispute agreement. It is undisputed
that the Company's insurance carrier paid Selena
workers' compensation death benefits.
April 6, 2015, Selena filed the underlying lawsuit alleging
various claims against numerous defendants, including a
negligence claim against Martinez. Martinez filed a motion
for summary judgment asserting Selena's recovery of the
workers' compensation death benefits was her exclusive
remedy pursuant to section 408.001 of the Texas Workers'
Compensation Act. Alternatively, Martinez asserted
Selena's claim was barred by her election of remedies.
The trial court granted Martinez's motion and severed
Selena's claims against Martinez from her claims against
the remaining defendants. Selena appeals.
review the grant of [a] summary judgment de novo."
Katy Venture, Ltd. v. Cremona Bistro Corp., 469
S.W.3d 160, 163 (Tex. 2015). To prevail on a traditional
motion for summary judgment, the movant must show "there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the [movant]
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(c). In reviewing a summary judgment, we
take as true all evidence favorable to the nonmovant, resolve
all conflicts in the evidence in the nonmovant's favor,
and indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts
in the nonmovant's favor. Katy Venture, Ltd.,
469 S.W.3d at 163.
exclusive remedy provision set forth in section 408.001(a) of
the Texas Workers' Compensation Act ("Act")
Recovery of workers' compensation benefits is the
exclusive remedy of an employee covered by workers'
compensation insurance coverage or a legal beneficiary
against the employer or the agent of the employer for the
death of or a work-related injury sustained by the employee.
Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 408.001(a) (West 2015).
"Historically, this exclusive remedy provision has
provided a legislatively-crafted compromise that relieves
employees of the burden of proving negligence to obtain
relief for workplace injuries but, in return, they forego any
remedies except as may be provided in the Act."
Aguirre v. Vasquez, 225 S.W.3d 744, 750-51 (Tex.
App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, no pet.); see also Port
Elevator-Brownsville v. Casados, 358 S.W.3d 238, 241
(Tex. 2012) (noting legislature intended the Act to benefit
both employees and employers).
first issue, Selena acknowledges her receipt of workers'
compensation death benefits calls into question the
applicability of the exclusive remedy provision. However,
Selena contends Martinez would only be entitled to rely on
the exclusive remedy defense if he established that he was in
the course and scope of his employment at the time of the
collision. Martinez responds Selena is "effectively
estopped" to deny that Martinez was in the course and
scope of his employment at the time of the collision since it
would be "illogical" to assert that, "unlike
her husband, Mr. Martinez was not in the course and
scope of his employment, while the two traveled together in
the same vehicle, to the same designation and for the same
Extension of Exclusive Remedies ...