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Sanchez v. Precision Drilling Company, LP

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

August 20, 2019

REFUGIO SANCHEZ, Appellant
v.
PRECISION DRILLING COMPANY, LP, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 151st District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2015-77477

          Panel consists of Justices Lloyd, Kelly, and Hightower.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Peter Kelly Justice

         Refugio Sanchez was injured on a jobsite while working for independent contractor Precision Drilling Holdings Company (Holdings). He sued Precision Drilling Company, LP (Precision), another independent contractor working at the jobsite, for negligence in failing to ensure a safe work environment. In one issue, Sanchez challenges the trial court's rendition of summary judgment in favor of Precision on both matter-of-law and no-evidence grounds.

         We affirm.

         Background

         COG Operating LLC, an exploration and production company, contracted with Precision to drill several oil and gas wells. As part of the contract, COG agreed to pay Precision for "mobilization," which included "move in, rig up, [and] rig down."

         COG contracted separately with Holdings to transport oil and gas rigs at its well sites. Sanchez worked as a "swamper" for Holdings, mainly assisting Holdings' truck drivers in moving the rigs.

         On April 30, 2013, Sanchez and fellow Holdings employees Ivan Torres and Austin Matejowsky were working to transport Precision's Rig 105 to a COG well site. As part of this project, the three men were tasked with loading a portable generator onto a pole truck and moving it to another position at the site.

         Pursuant to Torres's instructions, Sanchez used chains and rope to secure the generator to the truck. Once the generator was loaded, Torres got behind the wheel of the pole truck. Sanchez and Matejowsky remained outside of the truck, and Matejowsky began flagging Torres to back it up. While he was directing Torres, Matejowsky radioed Precision's rig manager, Ricky Menard-the only Precision employee involved in the accident-to ask him where they should place the generator. At that moment, the generator began to swing to the drivers' side, causing Torres to lose control of it. In an effort to gain control of the generator, Sanchez held onto the tag line with two hands and followed it to the rear of the truck. Matejowsky saw neither the load begin to swing nor Sanchez's position behind the truck, and continued flagging Torres to back up. As Sanchez stepped between the generator and the pole truck, the pole truck ran over his right foot and leg. Sanchez suffered severe injuries, and as a result, had to have his leg amputated.

         Sanchez sued Precision for negligence, alleging that it breached its duty to maintain a safe work environment for the mobilization work he was performing when he was injured.

         Precision moved for both traditional and no-evidence summary judgment. The trial court granted Precision's motion and dismissed Sanchez's suit.

         Summary Judgment

         A.Standard of ...


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