METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY OF HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, Appellant/Cross-Appellee
BEVERLY BROOKS, Appellee/Cross-Appellant
Appeal from the 269th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2013-19862
consists of Justices Jennings, Massengale, and Caughey.
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas
("METRO"), challenges the trial court's
judgment, entered after a jury trial, in favor of
appellee/cross-appellant, Beverly Brooks
("Brooks"), in her suit against it for negligence,
vicarious liability, and negligent hiring, training,
supervision, retention, entrustment, and undertaking. In one
issue, METRO contends that the trial court erred in denying
its new-trial motion, made on the ground that Brooks had made
an improper jury argument, resulting in "an improper
judgment." In her sole cross-point, Brooks contends that
the trial court erred in not including an award of
post-judgment interest in its final judgment.
modify the trial court's judgment and affirm as modified.
first amended petition, Brooks alleged that while riding in
one of METRO's buses, the bus driver "was negligent
in the operation of . . . [the] bus and proximately caused a
sudden stop, throwing [Brooks] from her seat, causing her to
sustain personal injuries requiring surgery and other
damages." Brooks asserted claims against METRO for
negligence, vicarious liability for its driver's
negligence in operating the bus at the time of her injuries,
and negligent hiring, training, supervision, retention,
entrustment, and undertaking in regard to the driver. Brooks
sought damages for "[m]edical expenses, "
"[p]hysical pain and mental anguish, "
"[p]hysical impairment, " "[d]isfigurement,
" and "[l]ost wages."
second amended answer and affirmative defenses, METRO
generally denied "all matters pleaded" by Brooks
and asserted the affirmative defenses of sovereign immunity,
statutory limitation of money damages pursuant to the Texas
Tort Claims Act,  and "emergency" in regard to the
actions of its driver in "applying the brakes of the
trial, METRO offered into evidence, without objection, four
"courtesy cards" that had been filled out by bus
patrons who had been on the bus at the time of the accident.
In the courtesy cards, METRO asked, "Whose Fault Was the
Accident?" And all four patrons answered that the
accident was caused by a driver who cut in front of the bus,
requiring the bus driver to suddenly stop. In response to the
admission of the courtesy cards, Brooks offered into evidence
affidavits from two of the bus patrons, Mr. Smith and Ms.
Rodgers, (the "Smith and Rodgers affidavits") in
which they allegedly contradicted the statements that they
had made in the courtesy cards. The trial court excluded the
affidavits as hearsay because Brooks attempted to introduce
them through one of her expert witnesses, Roger Allen.
Nonetheless, Allen proceeded to testify, without objection,
Q. One of the statement -- one of the witness statements you
reviewed was from a Vincent Smith; is that correct?
Q. What did Vincent Smith say about how he understood the bus
was cut off?
A. On the courtesy card, it's -
Q. I'm talking about -
A. Oh, the affidavit?
Q. I'm talking about what is your understanding about how
he understood the bus was cut off? Did he see the bus get
A. No. He said that, according to his affidavit, that the
driver told him that ...