Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
STEPHANIE D. CRAWFORD, Appellant
TEXAS HEART HOSPITAL OF THE SOUTHWEST LLP D/B/A THE HEART HOSPITAL OF BAYLOR PLANO, Appellee
Appeal from the 95th District Court Dallas County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. DC-16-14418
Justices Whitehill, Partida-Kipness, and Pedersen, III
Crawford sued Texas Heart Hospital for retaliation after the
Hospital terminated her employment as an operating room
nurse. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered a
final, take-nothing judgment against Crawford. In two issues,
Crawford argues that the trial court's judgment was in
error because (i) she proved her retaliation case and (ii)
she established disparate treatment because another similarly
situated employee was not disciplined.
pivotal question is whether undisputed evidence that, despite
several prior warnings, the nurse on several occasions
violated hospital policies is factually sufficient to support
the trial court's finding that the hospital terminated
the nurse for reasons other than her reporting alleged poor
practices at the hospital. Stated differently, considering
the evidence as a whole, does the record show that the trial
court's fact findings were clearly wrong and manifestly
not re-weigh the factfinder's credibility determinations.
Instead, we conclude that a reasonable factfinder on this
record could have reasonably found that there was no
retaliation in this case. We thus affirm the trial
an operating room nurse, sued the Hospital for retaliation
under the Nurse Protection Act following her termination.
See Tex. Occ. Code Ann. §§ 301.413(b),
301.4025(b). According to Crawford, the Hospital retaliated
against her because she reported safety concerns. The
Hospital denied Crawford's allegations and argued that
her termination resulted from several policy violations
impacting patient safety.
a bench trial, the trial court dismissed Crawford's
claims with prejudice and entered a take-nothing judgment
against her. This appeal followed.
First Issue: Did the trial court err by determining that
Crawford did not meet her burden to establish
Standard of Review
complaint about the take-nothing judgment is essentially a
challenge to the factual sufficiency of the evidence. We
review a trial court's fact findings under the same legal
and factual sufficiency of the evidence standards used when
determining if sufficient evidence exists to support an
answer to a jury question. See Catalina v. Blasdel,
881 S.W.2d 295, 297 (Tex. 1994).
appellant with the burden of proof challenges the factual
sufficiency of the evidence on an issue, we consider all the
evidence supporting and contradicting the judgment.
Plas-Tex, Inc. v. U.S. Steel Corp., 772 S.W.2d 442,
445 (Tex. 1989). We set aside the finding for factual
insufficiency only if the finding is so contrary to the
evidence as to be clearly wrong and manifestly unjust.
Cain v. Bain, 709 S.W.2d 175, 176 (Tex. 1986) (per
bench trial, the trial court, as factfinder, is the sole
judge of the witnesses' credibility. Wyde v.
Francesconi, 566 S.W.3d 890, 894 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2018,
no pet.). As long as the evidence falls "within the zone
of reasonable disagreement," we will not substitute our
judgment for the factfinder's decisions. City of
Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 822 (Tex. 2005).
as here, the trial court does not file express findings of
fact and conclusions of law, we presume the trial court made
all necessary findings to support the judgment. See
Pulley v. Milberger, 198 S.W.3d 418, 427 (Tex.
App.-Dallas 2006, pet. denied).
if the trial court's implied findings are supported by
the evidence, we must uphold the judgment on any theory of
law applicable to the case. Sink v. Sink, 364 S.W.3d
340, 344-345 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2012, no pet.).