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Singleton v. Bowman

Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana

February 23, 2018

MADISON SINGLETON, Appellant
v.
TERRY BOWMAN, INDIVIDUALLY, AND CLIFFORD P. GORE, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A CODE J. TRANSPORT, Appellees

          Date Submitted: January 29, 2018

         On Appeal from the 5th District Court Bowie County, Texas Trial Court No. 13-C-0211-005

          Before Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.

          OPINION

          Bailey C. Moseley Justice

         On February 22, 2011, the stopped automobile which Madison Singleton was driving was struck from behind by the 25, 000-pound dump truck driven by Terry Bowman while Bowman was in the course and scope of his employment with Clifford P. Gore, doing business as Code J. Transport. Singleton sued Bowman and Gore for personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the accident. Following a trial in which liability was uncontested, a Bowie County jury awarded Singleton $5, 000.00 for physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past and $7, 000.00 for loss of earning capacity sustained in the past. No sums were awarded for other elements of damage, including expenses for medical care sustained in the past.

         On appeal, Singleton argues (1) that the trial court erred in excluding medical expense affidavits and (2) that the jury's finding of zero damages for medical care expenses in the past was not supported by factually sufficient evidence. We find that the trial court erred in excluding Singleton's timely served medical expense affidavits and that Singleton was harmed as a result of that exclusion. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand for a new trial on damages.[1]

         I. The Trial Court Erred in Excluding Singleton's Timely Served Medical Expense Affidavits

         Section 18.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code states:

(b) Unless a controverting affidavit is served as provided by this section, an affidavit that the amount a person charged for a service was reasonable at the time and place that the service was provided and that the service was necessary is sufficient evidence to support a finding of fact by judge or jury that the amount charged was reasonable or that the service was necessary.
(c) The affidavit must: . . . .
(3) include an itemized statement of the service and charge.
(d) The party offering the affidavit in evidence or the party's attorney must serve a copy of the affidavit on each other party to the case at least 30 days before the day on which evidence is first presented at the trial of the case. Except as provided by the Texas Rules of Evidence, the records attached to the affidavit are not required to be filed with the clerk of the court before the trial commences.

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 18.001 (West 2015).

         Singleton obtained affidavits from several medical service providers showing the total amount of charges made, together with adjustments and write-offs, amounts paid, and amounts owed. The first page of each affidavit stated, "Attached to this affidavit are records that provide an itemized statement of the service and the charge for the service. . . . The attached records are a part of this affidavit." See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. ยง 18.002(b-1) (West 2015) (setting forth the form of the affidavit). The question in this case concerns whether Singleton complied with Section 18.001(d)'s requirement to serve a copy of the ...


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