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.

Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc. v. Willeford

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston

June 19, 2018

JACOBS FIELD SERVICES NORTH AMERICA, INC., JACOBS ENGINEERING GROUP, INC., AND JACOBS ENGINEERING, INC., Appellants
v.
TROY WILLEFORD, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 127th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2015-65988

          Panel consists of Justices Bland, Lloyd, and Caughey.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Russell Lloyd Justice

         In this interlocutory appeal, Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc., Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., and Jacobs Engineering, Inc. (collectively "Jacobs") appeal from the trial court's order denying its motion to dismiss Troy Willeford's claims of negligence, gross negligence, strict liability, and product defect against them. Jacobs contends that the trial court erred in denying its motion to dismiss because the certificate of merit filed with Willeford's petition fails to meet the requirements of section 150.002 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 150.002 (West 2011). Jacobs also asserts that its motion to dismiss was not untimely and that the trial court was permitted to consider extrinsic evidence in ruling on its motion. We reverse and remand.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Willeford sued Jacobs, as well as numerous other entities not parties to this appeal, [1] for injuries he allegedly sustained after responding to the scene of a workplace accident involving his co-worker, Maurice Ware, at the Far East Coker Unit ("FECU") of the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[2] Willeford asserted claims against Jacobs for negligence, gross negligence, strict liability, and product defect.

         In his amended petition, under the section entitled "Factual Allegations Regarding the Role of Each Defendant, " Willeford alleged, in pertinent part:

4.9 Jacobs Engineering, Inc. Upon information and belief, Jacobs Engineering, Inc. completed the detailed design for the project to modify the Delayed Coker Unit in February 2007 to reduce the risks associated with manual unheading of the top heads. The factual support for this allegation is found in Mosenteen[3] exhibit 2, p. 1, ¶ 2, as well as in Mosenteen's testimony:
Deposition of Jon Mosenteen:
Q: And was Jacobs Engineering ultimately in charge of the design of that system in 2007 and '8?
A: To the best of my knowledge, Jacobs Engineering was responsible for the overall design but they had some subcontractors, I believe who were assisting in the-in the design aspect of it.
. . . .
4.10 Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc. Upon information and belief, Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc. provided programming and HMI configuration and was otherwise heavily involved in the upgrade for the PLCs in the Far East Coker Unit in 2013.[4] The factual support for this is found in Mosenteen exhibit 5, pages 60-61 (ExxonMobil Global Services Company procurement identifying Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Jacobs Field Services North America Inc. as providing requested work) and in Mosenteen's testimony:
Deposition of Jon Mosenteen:
A: Page 5 of 7 of what I believe is labeled Exhibit 2, Question No. 5, Jacobs Engineering sought to have completed the design programming of the PLC for the 2013 PLC upgrade project.
. . . .
Q: Detail design, what does that mean?
A: Well, the PLC is a series of, as best I can explain it, a series of yes/no questions and so it's logic that gets you to an end solution or an activity or permissi[on] for something to work. Jacobs provided that programming, provided that service to be able to do that project.
Q: Okay. Did Jacobs actually come on-site?
A: I believe they did.
Q: And so essentially, in Exxon's mind, Jacobs was ultimately responsible for the correct programming of the PLC and HMI, fair?
A: For the correct implementation of the programming, yes, sir.
4.11 Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Upon information and belief, Jacobs Engineering, Group, Inc. provided programming and HMI configuration and was otherwise heavily involved in the upgrade for the PLCs in the Far East Coker Unit in 2013.

         The ExxonMobil procurement document referenced in Willeford's amended petition identifies Jacobs's scope of work as follows:

WORK REQUESTED: PROVIDE PROGRAMMING AND HMI CONFIGURATION FOR THE NEW UPGRADED PLC[]S FOR THE FAR EAST COKER CUTTING CONSOLES. FOUR NEW PLC[]S AND HMI[]S WILL BE INSTALLED ONE FOR EACH DRUM, ALSO SITE ACCEPTANCE AND START UP SERVICES WILL BE PROVIDED.[5] PROVIDE INTOOLS WIRING.

         To his amended petition, Willeford attached a certificate of merit affidavit of Gregg S. Perkin, a registered professional engineer in the field of mechanical engineering. A copy of Perkin's curriculum vitae and a list of the materials he reviewed in preparing the certificate were attached to his affidavit.

         In his affidavit, Perkin stated that he has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and that he is a registered professional engineer in the field of mechanical engineering in the State of Texas. Perkin's affidavit further stated, in relevant part:

In mid-1986, I began my work as an independent professional Mechanical Engineering consultant.
Since 1995, I have been employed by [Engineering Partners International] as an independent engineering consultant and Professional Engineer in the areas of detailed safety analysis of highly complex process units and systems within the processing industries and risk assessment for various industries. In these regards, and over the course of my professional career, I have actively worked in the areas of equipment design, manufacture, fabrication, assembly, construction, testing, operation, maintenance and retrofitting.
As one (1) of EPI's Principal Engineers, I have often been actively engaged in providing design engineering and independent engineering reviews and analysis. I have been independently retained to conduct product design analysis, design equipment, failure analysis, risk and hazard analysis, and provide other ...

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.