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Saenz-Guerrero v. Gardner

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

October 15, 2019

ROEL SAENZ-GUERRERO, Appellant
v.
JEFFREY GARDNER, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 269th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2016-54364

          Panel consists of Justices Christopher, Hassan, and Poissant (Poissant, J., dissenting).

          MAJORITY OPINION

          MEAGAN HASSAN JUSTICE

         Appellant Roel Saenz-Guerrero and appellee Jeffrey Gardner were involved in a vehicle collision and Saenz-Guerrero sued Gardner for negligence. The parties proceeded to trial and the jury returned a verdict in Gardner's favor. Saenz-Guerrero appealed and asserts error in the trial court's jury charge. We overrule Saenz-Guerrero's challenge and affirm the trial court's final judgment.

         Background

         In the early-morning hours of August 20, 2015, Saenz-Guerrero was driving to work in stop-and-go traffic. Saenz-Guerrero brought his truck to a complete stop and was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Gardner. Saenz-Guerrero's truck sustained damaged on its bumper and tailgate and Saenz-Guerrero went to the hospital that evening for neck and back pain. Several days later, Saenz-Guerrero saw a chiropractor for his back pain and was prescribed various treatments, including electric shocks, injections, and physical therapy. According to Saenz-Guerrero, he continues to have lower back pain and his doctor has recommended surgery.

         Saenz-Guerrero sued Gardner for negligence and the parties proceeded to a jury trial. After the parties rested, the trial court instructed the jury as follows:

Question No. 1
Did the negligence, if any, of Jeffrey Gardner proximately cause the injuries in question?
Answer "Yes" or "No."
Answer:
If you have answered "Yes" to Question No. 1, then answer the following question. Otherwise, do not answer the following question.
Question No. 2
What sum of money, if paid now in cash, would fairly and reasonably compensate Roel Saenz-Guerrero for his injuries, if any, that ...

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