Walters v. FedEx Corporation et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION - GRANTING 29 MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment and Brief in Support Thereof filed by Michael Hoover, Catherine Hoover. Defendant Michael Hoover is DISMISSED and Plaintiffs negligence per se claim for an alleged violation of Section 545.062 ofthe Texas Transportation Code is hereby DISMISSED. Signed by Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III on 9/22/2015 (baf, )
United States District Court
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
KEVIN WALTERS and
FEDEX CORPORATION, FEDEX
EXPRESS, INC., FEDEX GROUND
PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., FEDEX
FREIGHT, INC., FEDEX CUSTOM
CRITICAL, INC., FEDEX TRADE
NETWORKS TRADE SERVICES, INC., §
FEDEX SUPPLYCHAIN SYSTEMS, INC., §
NELL ENTERPRISES, LLC,
CATHERINE HOOVER AND MICHAEL §
CASE NO. 4:15-CV-69-LEAD
Pending before the Court is Defendants Catherine Hoover and Michael Hoover’s Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. #29). The Court, having considered the relevant pleadings, finds
that Defendants' motion should be granted.
This case arises out of a motor vehicle collision that occurred on November 14, 2012.
Plaintiffs have sued various Defendants, including Defendants Catherine Hoover and Michael
Hoover for negligence and negligence per se. Specifically, Plaintiffs claim Catherine Hoover and
Michael Hoover were negligent in the following respects: (1) Violating Section 545.002 of Vernon’s
Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated, Transportation Code; (2) Failing to keep a proper lookout; (3)
Failing to timely apply brakes; (4) Failing to control the vehicle; (5) Failing to act and/or respond
in a reasonable manner; and (6) Failing to control the speed of the vehicle.
On August 11, 2015, Defendants Catherine Hoover and Michael Hoover filed a motion for
partial summary judgment (Dkt. #29). No response was filed by Plaintiff.
The purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims
or defenses. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986). Summary judgment is proper
if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits “[show] that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A dispute about a material fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The trial court must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the party
opposing the motion for summary judgment. Casey Enterprises, Inc. v. American Hardware Mut.
Ins. Co., 655 F.2d 598, 602 (5th Cir. 1981) (citations omitted). The substantive law identifies which
facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
The party moving for summary judgment has the burden to show that there is no genuine
issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. at 247. If the movant
bears the burden of proof on a claim or defense on which it is moving for summary judgment, it must
come forward with evidence that establishes “beyond peradventure all of the essential elements of
the claim or defense.” Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986). But if the
nonmovant bears the burden of proof, the movant may discharge its burden by showing that there
is an absence of evidence to support the nonmovant’s case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325; Byers v. Dallas
Morning News, Inc., 209 F.3d 419, 424 (5th Cir. 2000). Once the movant has carried its burden, the
nonmovant must “respond to the motion for summary judgment by setting forth particular facts
indicating there is a genuine issue for trial.” Byers, 209 F.3d at 424 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248-49). The nonmovant must adduce affirmative evidence. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Defendants first move for summary judgment asserting that Defendant Michael Hoover was
not driving the tractor-trailer at the time of the collision in question, but was merely a passenger.
Since these facts are uncontested, the Court agrees that Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendant Michael
Hoover fail as a matter of law.1
Plaintiffs have also asserted a negligence per se cause of action against both Michael and
Catherine Hoover for an alleged violation of Section 545.062 of the Texas Transportation Code.
Defendants move for summary judgment asserting that a breach of section 545.062 of the Texas
Transportation Code does not constitute negligence per se. The Court agrees. Under Texas law, “a
statute that requires a driver proceed safely imposes on the driver a duty of reasonable care, thus
precluding a negligence per se instruction.” La.-Pac. Corp. v. Knighten, 976 S.W.2d 674, 675 (Tex.
1998). “[A] breach of section 545.062 does not constitute negligence per se.” Benavente v.
Granger, 312 S.W.3d 745, 749 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2009, no pet.). Thus, Plaintiffs
cannot maintain a negligence per se cause of action premised on an alleged violation of section
545.062 of the Texas Transportation Code.
It is therefore ORDERED that Defendants Catherine Hoover and Michael Hoover’s Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. #29) is hereby GRANTED and Defendant Michael Hoover is
Plaintiffs’ claims against Michael Hoover were asserted as an alternative theory.
DISMISSED and Plaintiffs’ negligence per se claim for an alleged violation of Section 545.062 of
the Texas Transportation Code is hereby DISMISSED.
SIGNED this 22nd day of September, 2015.
AMOS L. MAZZANT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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