X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Bob E. Carpenter owned and operated several companies that contracted with Cimarron Hydrocarbons to select, furnish and install casing in the Cimarron’s new oil and gas well. When cement escaped from the casing and got into the gas line, the well never produced, Cimarron sued Carpenter and his companies (the “C.D. Companies). Cimarron’s claims against Carpenter individually included negligence, misrepresentation and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The trial court granted Carpenter’s motion for summary judgment in his individual capacity, and entered a default judgment against Cimarron, when Cimarron did not respond to Carpenter’s no-evidence and traditional evidence motions for summary judgment. This court reversed, but the Texas Supreme Court reversed this court. The case is now on remand in this court again. On appeal, Cimarron says the trial court erred in that the claims against Carpenter individually were stand-alone claims, and the fact that Carpenter owned and worked for the C.D. Companies did not shield Carpenter from personal liability. Despite Carpenter’s argument that Cimarron needed to pierce the corporate veil, Cimarron says Carpenter’s no-evidence motion for summary judgment did not identify the specific elements of Cimarron’s causes of action that lacked evidentiary support. Cimarron adds that the evidence wouldn’t support a traditional motion for summary judgment, either. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court first addresses whether Cimarron, by failing to object to the sufficiency of the evidence of the summary judgment motions at the trial court or in its first appeal, waived its right to complain of the sufficiency on appeal. The court notes a split among Texas appellate courts on the issue of preservation when no response is filed to a no-evidence motion for summary judgment. The court finds that it agrees with those courts concluding that no response need be filed to raise, on appeal, the legal insufficiency of a no-evidence motion for summary judgment. The court also notes that, in its own review of the record, Cimarron did, in fact, raise the legal sufficiency of Carpenter’s no-evidence motion in its original appellate brief. The court then reviews the no evidence summary judgment. To prevail, Carpenter had to show that no evidence existed to support one or more elements of Cimarron’s negligence, DTPA or breach of warranty claims. The court notes that Carpenter based his motion for summary judgment solely on the position that because, as owner of the C.D. Companies he was acting as an agent of the corporation, Cimarron had to pierce the corporate veil in order to hold him personally liable. The court finds that Carpenter has actually misconstrued the claims against him: “Cimarron, in alleging claims against Carpenter, individually, was not suing Carpenter as the owner or agent of the C.D. Companies, but as an independently responsible actor. Cimarron’s claims against Carpenter are based on Carpenter’s own allegedly tortious or fraudulent acts.” To prevail on the traditional summary judgment motion, Carpenter had to present evidence that conclusively negated an element of each of Cimarron’s claims. The court finds that Carpenter’s sole evidence � that he was an employee of the C.D. Companies when the wrongs occurred � do not conclusively negate an element of any of Cimarron’s claims. OPINION:Lang, J.; FitzGerald, Richter and Lang, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.