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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The petitioner, Curtis Wilhelm, kept bees as a hobby, but he decided to sell his 14 hives to John Black, a commercial beekeeper. Black inspected the hives and bought them, then returned the next day with two men to load them onto a trailer and take them away. One of the men, Alejandro Mercado, was Black’s employee, and the other, Santos Flores Sr., was a friend Black and Mercado recruited for the job. Black knew of the danger of an allergic reaction to bee stings, and he provided protective suits, hats, veils and gloves for himself and his men. Wilhelm accompanied them, wearing his own protective gear, but he did not assist in the work. There is no evidence that Wilhelm controlled Black’s work or had the right to do so. Black directed the work of Mercado and Flores. When several hives had been loaded, Flores walked away from the area and disappeared into some brush. Mercado speculated that he had gone to smoke a cigarette or relieve himself. When he emerged a few minutes later, his veil was open and he was yelling for help, complaining of being stung. Within minutes, he suffered an allergic reaction and died. Flores’ statutory beneficiaries, the respondents, sued Black and Wilhelm. The jury found that Black and Wilhelm negligently caused Flores’s death and were equally responsible; did not find that Flores was negligent; found actual damages of $1,591,000; and assessed punitive damages of $75,000 against Black and Wilhelm each. The trial court rendered judgment on the verdict, holding Black and Wilhelm jointly and severally liable for the actual damages. Only Wilhelm appealed. The court of appeals held that the evidence was both legally and factually sufficient to support the jury’s finding that Wilhelm had a duty to warn Flores of the dangers associated with bee stings, including the danger of an adverse allergic reaction, and that appellant breached that duty. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered that appellants take nothing. The court concludes that Wilhelm owed Flores no duty as alleged by respondents. Black was merely a buyer of the bees; he was not Wilhelm’s independent contractor, and Wilhelm owed Black’s employees no greater duty than if he had been. Had Wilhelm hired Black as an independent contractor to move the beehives, Wilhelm would have owed Flores no duty of care because Wilhelm did not control Flores, Black did. Nor would Wilhelm, as occupier of the premises where the beehives were kept, have owed an independent contractor’s employees a duty to warn them about being stung, since that danger was obvious. It would have been Black’s responsibility, not Wilhelm’s, to warn Flores of the danger of an allergic reaction, if Flores was not already aware of it. OPINION:Per curiam.

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