DIANA GODINES, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF AMANDO GODINES, SR., DECEASED; MICHAEL GODINES; AMANDO GODINES, JR.; AND DEANNA QUITUGUA, Appellants
PARSLEY ENERGY OPERATIONS, LLC, Appellee
Appeal from the 238th District Court Midland County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 52258
consists of: Willson, J., Bailey, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
Godines, Sr., an employee of Precision Drilling Company,
L.P., died in an accident at a Parsley Energy Operations,
LLC's well site named "Hall 11-4." After
Godines's death, his wife, Diana Godines, individually
and on behalf of her husband, and Godines's biological
children (collectively Appellants) brought suit against
Parsley for negligence and gross negligence.
answered and filed a hybrid no-evidence and traditional
motion for summary judgment. On no-evidence grounds, Parsley
asserted that no evidence existed that it owed any legal duty
to Godines and that Appellants could not establish the
subjective and objective elements of gross negligence. On
traditional grounds, Parsley asserted that it owed no legal
duty to Godines and that, as a "property owner, "
Parsley was immune from liability pursuant to Chapter 95 of
the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
trial court granted Parsley's motion on both no-evidence
and traditional grounds. Appellants appeal the trial
court's grant of summary judgment in Parsley's favor.
Summary Judgment Evidence
time of the incident, Parsley owned the mineral interest at
Hall 11-4. In order to produce the minerals, Parsley
contracted with Precision under an "International
Association of Drilling Contractors Drilling Bid Proposal and
Daywork Drilling Contract" to be its drilling
contractor. The drilling contract required Precision to
initially drill at Parsley's other well site, "JRS
Farms 24A-3, " and to furnish the rig for drilling-Rig
305. Eventually, Precision was directed to begin drilling at
Hall 11-4. It was necessary for Rig 305 to be transported
from the previous well site to Hall 11-4, and based on the
drilling contract, Parsley assumed the responsibility of
transportation of Rig 305.
contracted with J.W. Mulloy to serve as the "company
man." Mulloy assigned Freddie Pontremoli to be
one of the company man representatives. Pontremoli described
his duties as:
Well, I -- drill the wells. I tell the people on the -- on
the rig how to drill these wells. Like -- per se like how
much weight to run on the bit, how many RPM to turn the
rotary table and how far we drill for each section to
surface, intermediate and production stream. That's my
also "agreed" to the following deposition
Q: Okay. As a consultant for Parsley, what -- it would be
your duty and responsibility to make sure that locations are
set up properly so you can get the rig set up, start
drilling, get the drilling completed and then move on to the
next site and just re-create that process from drill hole to
drill hole to drill hole.
Q: Okay. And as the consultant, you would have to make sure
that all those different contractors that are out there
providing services to Parsley, that they move in concert and
act in concert to get the drills completed and move on to the
next well to drill?
contracted with Briley Trucking Company to fulfill that
obligation. Briley provided "[a]ll equipment, materials
and supplies" for the rig move. Precision, per the
drilling contract, was required to help Briley with the
"move in" and "move out" process,
including "rig up" once the rig was transported to
the well site.
consists, in part, of a three-part telescoping mast. Briley
transported the mast to the Hall 11-4 using the "two
trucking" method. Under that method, the three parts of
the mast were partially nested together and laid down
horizontally on two trailers, each of which was connected to
a semi-tractor. The crown section of the mast was nested
inside the middle section, and the weight of the crown rested
on a fifth wheel that was located on one of the trucks. Pins
were used to hold the crown and middle section in place
during transportation. The driver of one of the trucks drove
in reverse, and the other drove forward; in this manner, they
delivered the mast to the new well site.
Briley employee, the "truck pusher, " suggested the
two-trucking method. Roger Dean Moran, Precision's rig
superintendent, was in Alice, Texas, at the time but approved
the two-trucking method by phone. Parsley's drilling
superintendents, Joey Sims and David Brandenburg, made no
recommendations or determinations on how Rig 305 should be
transported and did not supervise transportation or assembly
of the rig.
mast was safely transported to the Hall 11-4. Once it was
there, Briley and Precision worked to set up the other
components of Rig 305, particularly the substructure where
the mast would be placed, with the ultimate goal of removing
the mast from the tractor-trailers.
point, the Briley truck pusher received a call on his
radio asking whether they were "ready to .
. . open up the derrick." The Briley truck pusher
subsequently walked toward the mast and picked up a
sledgehammer. Godines, who was nearby, then had a
conversation with the truck pusher. After this conversation,
Godines crawled underneath the mast and subsequently removed
one of the pins from the mast with a sledgehammer. Normally,
in this part of the operation, pole trucks or a crane are
used to provide support for the mast while the pins are
removed; here, no crane or pole truck was used to support the
mast. When the one pin was removed, the pin on the opposite
side of the mast fractured and a section of the mast shifted
and fell. Godines was pinned between the fifth wheel on one
of the trucks and the section that fell. Godines died as a
result of the injuries that he suffered in the accident.
was the only "representative" of Parsley on site
when Godines was fatally injured. He arrived about thirty
minutes before the accident occurred and went to his trailer
on site. At the time of the accident, Pontremoli was still in
his trailer. Pontremoli did not know who gave the instruction
to remove the mast pin.
appeal, Appellants raise eight issues. Appellant's first
issue is a global issue related to the summary judgment. In
the next four issues, Appellants contest the application of
Chapter 95. Appellants argue in their second issue that the
trial court erred when it applied Chapter 95. They assert in
their third, fourth, and fifth issues that, even if Chapter
95 applies, there is a genuine issue of material fact that
pertains to the exception under Section 95.003 relating to
Parsley's control and actual knowledge, respectively. In
their sixth and seventh issues, Appellants allege that there
is evidence that raises a genuine issue of material fact on
whether Parsley owed Godines a legal duty. In Appellants'
eighth issue, they claim there is evidence that raises a
genuine issue of material fact on their gross negligence
Standards of Review
review a summary judgment de novo. Travelers Ins. Co. v.
Joachim, 315 S.W.3d 860, 862 (Tex. 2010). A trial court
must grant a no-evidence motion for summary judgment unless
the nonmovant produces more than a scintilla of probative
evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact.
Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(i); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Rodriguez, 92 S.W.3d 502, 506 (Tex. 2002). A no-evidence
motion for summary judgment is essentially a pretrial
directed verdict, and we apply the same legal sufficiency
standard in reviewing a no-evidence summary judgment as we
apply in reviewing a directed verdict. King Ranch, Inc.
v. Chapman, 118 S.W.3d 742, 750-51 (Tex. 2003). We
review the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmovant, disregarding all contrary evidence and inferences.
Id. A defendant who moves for traditional summary
judgment must either negate at least one essential element of
the nonmovant's cause of action or prove all essential
elements of an affirmative defense. Randall's Food
Mkts., Inc. v. Johnson, 891 S.W.2d 640, 644 (Tex. 1995).
Once the defendant establishes a right to summary judgment as
a matter of law, the burden shifts to the plaintiffs to
present evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact.
City of Houston v. Clear Creek Basin Auth., 589
S.W.2d 671, 678- 79 (Tex. 1979). To determine if a fact
question exists, we must consider whether reasonable and
fair-minded jurors could differ in their ...