United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PANTHER II
TRANSPORTATION, INC.'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
PULLIAM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Panther II Transportation, Inc. d/b/a
Panther Premium Logistics, Inc.'s (hereinafter
“Panther”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
Panther seeks summary judgment on Plaintiffs' causes of
action of negligent hiring, negligent training, negligent
supervision, and negligent qualification. ECF. No. 50.
Plaintiffs did not respond to the motion. After due
consideration, the Court concludes the Motion shall be
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
dispute arises out of an automobile accident that occurred on
September 7, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. ECF. No. 12.
Plaintiff Michael Eyer was driving an Isuzu NPR, and
Plaintiffs Jesse Salinas and Angel Yanez were passengers in
the vehicle. Id. Defendant Francisco Roman Rivera,
Sr. was operating a Freightliner tractor when he collided
with the rear end of the Isuzu. ECF. No. 50. At the time of
the accident, Mr. Rivera was a Panther employee who,
undisputedly, was acting in the course and scope of his
employment. ECF. No. 50-1.
October 2, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their “Original
Petition” in the 288th Judicial District
Court of Bexar County (a state civil trial court). ECF. No.
1. On November 29, 2017, Defendants Rivera and Panther
removed this action to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction. ECF. No.12. Plaintiffs bring causes of action
for ordinary negligence and negligence per se against Panther
and Defendant Rivera, alleging Panther is vicariously liable
for Rivera's conduct under the theory of respondeat
superior. Id. Additionally, Plaintiffs bring
independent causes of action against Panther for negligent
hiring, negligent training, negligent supervision, and
negligently qualifying Defendant Rivera as a commercial motor
vehicle operator. Id.
stipulates “at the time of the accident made the basis
of this lawsuit on September 7, 2017, Defendant Francisco
Roman Rivera, Sr. was acting in the course and scope of his
employment for Panther II Transportation, Inc. d/b/a Panther
Premium Logistics, Inc.” ECF. 50-1. Panther also
stipulates “Mr. Rivera was in furtherance of business
for Panther II Transportation, Inc. d/b/a Panther Premium
Logistics, Inc. at the time of the accident in question and
Panther II Transportation, Inc. d/b/a Panther Premium
Logistics, Inc.is vicariously responsible for the acts and/or
omissions, if any, of Mr. Rivera for the accident made the
basis of this lawsuit.” Id.
29, 2019, Panther filed this motion seeking partial summary
judgment on Plaintiffs' causes of action against Panther
for negligent hiring, negligent training, negligent
supervision, and negligently qualifying Defendant Rivera as a
commercial motor vehicle operator. ECF. No. 50.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), courts “grant
summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” “As to materiality,
the substantive law will identify which facts are material,
” and a fact is “material” only if it
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When “the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party, ” a dispute over a material fact
qualifies as “genuine” within the meaning of Rule
56. Id. Because there must be a genuine dispute of
material fact, “the mere existence of some
alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat
an otherwise properly supported motion for summary
judgment.” Id. at 247-48. There is no genuine
dispute for trial when “the record taken as a whole
could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
nonmoving party.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 380 (2007) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986)).
“party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “When a party
moves for summary judgment on claims on which the opposing
parties will bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving
party can meet its summary judgment obligation by pointing
the court to the absence of admissible evidence to support
the nonmovants' claims.” Armas v. St. Augustine
Old Roman Catholic Church, No. 3:17-CV-2383-D, 2019 WL
2929616, at *2 (N.D. Tex. July 8, 2019) (citing Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 325).
determining the merits of a motion summary judgment, a court
must view all facts and reasonable inferences drawn from the
record “in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion.” Heinsohn v. Carabin &
Shaw, P.C., 832 F.3d 224, 234 (5th Cir. 2016) (citation
omitted). If the movant carries its initial burden, the
burden shifts to the nonmovant to present competent summary
judgment evidence showing the existence of a genuine dispute
of material fact. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87;
see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Upon the shifting
burden, the nonmoving party “must do more than simply
show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. In other
words, “[u]nsubstantiated assertions, improbable
inferences, and unsupported speculation are not sufficient to
defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Heinsohn, 832 F.3d at 234 (citation omitted).
Furthermore, the courts have “no duty to search the
record for material fact issues.” RSR Corp. v.
Int'l Ins. Co., 612 F.3d 851, 857 (5th Cir. 2010);
accord Hernandez v. Yellow Transp., Inc., 670 F.3d
644, 651 (5th Cir. 2012).
moves for partial summary judgment regarding Plaintiffs'
causes of action against Panther for negligent hiring,
negligent training, negligent supervision, and negligently
qualifying Defendant Rivera as a commercial motor vehicle
operator. ECF. No. 50. Panther contends it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law because its stipulations that
Defendant Rivera was acting within the course and scope of
his employment with Panther, and his actions were in
furtherance of Panther's business at the time of the
accident render Plaintiffs' negligent hiring, training,
supervision, and qualification claims superfluous.
Id. Because the asserted causes of action against
Rivera for which Panther may be vicariously liable are
mutually exclusive from the direct claims against Panther for
any negligent hiring, supervision, training, and retention or
qualification of Rivera, Panther contends Plaintiff cannot
pursue both. Plaintiffs did not file a response to
common-law doctrine of respondeat superior holds one person
(who is without fault) liable for the acts of another based
solely on the relationship between them. Painter v.
Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd., 561 S.W.3d 125, 130-31 (Tex.
2018), reh'g denied (Dec. 14, 2018) (quoting
St. Joseph Hosp. v. Wolff, 94 S.W.3d 513, 540 (Tex.
2002)). Vicarious liability imposes liability on an employer
for its employee's negligence if “at the time of
the negligent conduct, the worker (1) was an employee and (2)
was acting in the course and scope of his employment.”
Painter, 561 S.W.3d at 131; Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 757 (Tex. 2007).
Conversely, direct causes of action asserting negligent
hiring, negligent training, negligent ...