ROBERT JAMES, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF BRADEY JAMES, Appellant
JUSTIN YOUNG, PAUL YOUNG, YOUNG LIVESTOCK FARMS, LP, AND YOUNG LIVESTOCK RANCH, LLC, Appellees
the 82nd District Court Falls County, Texas Trial Court No.
Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins
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).
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.
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.
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."
result of this incident, Robert sued appellees for negligent
handling of animals, alleging that Bradey sustained injuries
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
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.
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
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.
Standard of Review
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).
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).
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
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 ...