Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

James v. Young

Court of Appeals of Texas, Tenth District

April 4, 2018

ROBERT JAMES, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF BRADEY JAMES, Appellant
v.
JUSTIN YOUNG, PAUL YOUNG, YOUNG LIVESTOCK FARMS, LP, AND YOUNG LIVESTOCK RANCH, LLC, Appellees

          From the 82nd District Court Falls County, Texas Trial Court No. CV39471

          Before Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          AL SCOGGINS, Justice

         In one issue, appellant, Robert James, individually and as next friend of Bradey James, contends that the trial court erred by granting summary judgment in favor of appellees, Justin Young, Paul Young, Young Livestock Farms, LP, and Young Livestock Ranch, LLC. Because we conclude that section 87.003 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides appellees immunity from suit and that no exception to immunity applies, we affirm the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of appellees. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 87.003 (West 2017).

         I. Background

         The James family-Robert James, Jolea James, Daniel Prado, and six-year-old Bradey James-and the Young family-Justin Young, Shanda Young, and Addison Young-were good friends. Over the 2014 Fourth-of-July weekend, the families spent time together at the Youngs' ranch. Justin mentioned to Robert that he had some cattle that needed work over the weekend, but his help was not working over the July Fourth weekend. Robert offered to help with the cattle. Because Robert had stated on several occasions that Jolea knew about riding horses, Justin invited the rest of Robert's family to go horseback riding while Robert, Daniel, Justin, and Justin's father, Paul, worked with the cattle.

         While Robert, Daniel, Justin, and Paul were working with the cattle, Jolea, Bradey, Shanda, and Addison took the horses for a ride in the pasture. Eventually, the four riders returned, got off the horses, and tied up the horses near where Robert, Daniel, Justin, and Paul were working. At this point, Daniel indicated that he wanted to ride a horse, so he got on one horse, Bradey got on another horse, and the two exited the pen to ride the horses down a gravel road to the diesel tanks on the Youngs' ranch.

         Daniel and Bradey rode to the diesel tanks and turned around to return to the rest of the group. When they had traveled about 100 to 150 yards toward the rest of the group, the horses they were riding, as well as two other horses that were tied up nearby, "started whinnying to each other." The horses Bradey and Daniel were riding sped up and began to run. As noted by Daniel in his deposition, "Bradey rocked forward, hit his head on the saddle horn, fell back, rolled-fell off the back, rolled to the side when he fell and hit gravel and then rolled into the grass."

         As a result of this incident, Robert sued appellees for negligent handling of animals, alleging that Bradey sustained injuries because:

5.2 Defendant(s) allowed Plaintiff Bradey James, who was only six years old at the time, to ride Defendant's horse. Defendant(s) failed to determine Plaintiff's ability to safely manage the horse before allowing him to ride solo.
5.3 Defendant(s) owned, and/or possessed the horse Plaintiff was riding.
5.4 Defendant(s) owned, and/or possessed the land upon which Plaintiff was riding.
5.5 Defendant(s) provided the saddle and tack used by Plaintiff Bradey James.
5.6Defendant(s) failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent the horse from injuring Plaintiff.

         Appellees filed two separate answers to Robert's lawsuit. First, Young Livestock Ranch, LLC and Young Livestock Farms, LP filed an answer generally denying the allegations made by Robert and asserting that neither organization was in existence at the time of the incident. Justin and Paul later filed a joint answer generally denying the allegations made by Robert and asserting, among other things, that: (1) Robert was negligent in permitting Bradey to ride the horse and that his negligence was the sole proximate cause of any accident; and (2) neither Justin nor Paul were liable for Bradey's injuries under Chapter 87 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

         Thereafter, Young Livestock Ranch, LLC and Young Livestock Farms, LP filed joint traditional and no-evidence motions for summary judgment. Justin and Paul also filed joint traditional and no-evidence motions for summary judgment. Ultimately, the trial court granted both joint motions for summary judgment and ordered that Robert take nothing. Robert filed a notice of appeal, indicating that he desired to appeal the trial court's order granting Justin and Paul's traditional and no-evidence motions for summary judgment. Robert does not challenge the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Young Livestock Ranch, LLC and Young Livestock Farms, LP.

         II. Standard of Review

         Different standards of review apply to summary judgments granted on no-evidence and traditional grounds. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c), (i). A no-evidence summary judgment is equivalent to a pre-trial directed verdict, and we apply the same legal sufficiency standard on review. Mack Trucks, Inc. v. Tamez, 206 S.W.3d 572, 582 (Tex. 2006). Once an appropriate no-evidence motion for summary judgment is filed, the non-movant, here Robert, must produce summary judgment evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact to defeat the summary judgment. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(i). "A genuine issue of material fact exists if more than a scintilla of evidence establishing the existence of the challenged element is produced." Ford Motor Co. v. Ridgway, 135 S.W.3d 598, 600 (Tex. 2004). We do not consider any evidence presented by the movant unless it creates a fact question. Binur v. Jacobo, 135 S.W.3d 646, 651 (Tex. 2004).

         More than a scintilla of evidence exists when the evidence "raises to a level that would enable reasonable and fair-minded people to differ in their conclusions." Id. (citing Transp. Ins. Co. v. Moriel, 879 S.W.2d 10, 25 (Tex. 1994)). In determining whether the non-movant has met his burden, we review the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, crediting such evidence if reasonable jurors could and disregarding contrary evidence unless reasonable jurors could not. Tamez, 206 S.W.3d at 582; City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 827 (Tex. 2005).

         In contrast, we review the trial court's grant of a traditional motion for summary judgment de novo. See Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Knott, 128 S.W.3d 211, 215 (Tex. 2003). When reviewing a traditional motion for summary judgment, we must determine whether the movant met its burden to establish that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c); Sw. Elec. Power Co. v. Grant, 73 S.W.3d 211, 215 (Tex. 2002). The movant bears the burden of proof in a traditional motion for summary judgment, and all doubts about the existence of a genuine issue of material fact are resolved against the movant. See Grant, 73 S.W.3d at 215. We take as true all evidence favorable to the non-movant, and we indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts in the non-movant's favor. Valence Operating Co. v. Dorsett, 164 S.W.3d 656, 661 (Tex. 2005). We will affirm a traditional summary judgment only if the record establishes that the movant has conclusively proved its defense as a matter of law or if the movant has negated at least one essential element of the plaintiff's cause of action. IHS Cedars Treatment Ctr. of DeSoto, Tex., Inc. v. Mason, 143 S.W.3d 794, 798 (Tex. 2004); Am. Tobacco Co. v. Grinnell, 951 S.W.2d 420, 425 (Tex. 1997).

         When the trial court's judgment does not specify which of several grounds proposed was dispositive, we affirm on any ground offered that has merit and was preserved for review. See Joe v. Two Thirty Nine J.V., 145 S.W.3d 150, 157 (Tex. 2004). Moreover, when a party moves for summary judgment under both rules 166a(c) and 166a(i), "[we] first review the trial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.