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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On March 17, 2004, Jimmy West, hauling cattle for Cattle Company Inc., ran a red light and collided with a vehicle containing Ramon Landeros and Raul Mireles Jr. As a result of the collision, Mireles was killed and Landeros sustained serious injuries. Mireles filed suit against West for negligence, Ashley for negligent hiring, and West, Ashley and Southwest Feedyard LP for liability as joint enterprisers. After discovery, Ashley filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that Mireles had no evidence that: 1. Ashley knew or should have known of any reason not to hire West, 2. any inquiry would have resulted in the conclusion that West was a negligent contractor, and 3. Ashley and West had formed a joint enterprise. Mireles filed a response to Ashley’s summary judgment motion, which included excerpts of West’s deposition, an affidavit of David Dwinell, the results of an investigation into West’s driving record, and statements made to the police immediately following the collision. The trial court granted Ashley’s motion for summary judgment and entered judgment that Mireles take nothing by their suit against Ashley. Following entry of this summary judgment, the trial court severed Mireles’s claims against Ashley, and Mireles appealed HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. One hiring an independent contractor may be held responsible for the contractor’s negligent acts if: 1. The employer knew or should have known that the contractor was incompetent and 2. A third person was injured because of the contractor’s incompetence. A person employing an independent contractor is required to use ordinary care in hiring the contractor. If the performance of the contract requires driving a vehicle, the person employing the independent contractor is required to investigate the independent contractor’s competency to drive. Mireles contends that she presented more than a scintilla of evidence to raise a genuine fact issue regarding whether Ashley knew or should have known that West was incompetent. Mireles offered excerpts of West’s deposition, in which West testified that, prior to being hired by Ashley, Ashley did not request a copy of West’s commercial driver’s license, Ashley did not ask him about his driving history, and he was unaware of whether Ashley performed any background check on him. As the job that was subject to Ashley and West’s contract necessarily required West to drive, Ashley had an affirmative duty to inquire into West’s competency to drive. The court concludes that, when viewed in the light most favorable to Mireles, West’s deposition testimony constitutes more than a scintilla of evidence that Ashley did not inquire into West’s competency to drive. The court rejects Ashley’s contention that it had to have actual knowledge of West’s incompetency to drive before it would be held to a duty to inquire into his driving history. Mireles’s proof that West had received eight citations over five and half years is more than a scintilla of evidence that West was an incompetent and reckless driver, the court concludes. OPINION:Hancock, J.; Quinn, C.J., Reavis and Hancock, JJ.

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