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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Jack in the Box Inc. employed Wade Skiles as a tractor-trailer driver for 24 years. His job duties included the transport and delivery of food product to various Jack in the Box restaurants. The company trailers are equipped with automatic lift gates that assist drivers in loading and unloading food product. The drivers are instructed that if they encounter any problems with the lift gate, they should call the company’s independent service center and report the malfunction. A maintenance person is then sent to make repairs. Skiles arrived for a delivery at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Seguin and attempted to lower the lift gate, but the gate would not operate. Skiles told the restaurant manager about the problem, but the manager responded that the restaurant was out of hamburger meat and it was the “lunch rush.” Skiles reported the problem to a supervisor at the Jack in the Box distribution center. He told the supervisor that he would use a ladder to climb over the nonfunctioning lift gate so he could get to the food supplies needed by the restaurant. According to Skiles, the supervisor’s response was, “Good.” The supervisor did not have a clear recollection of his conversation with Skiles. He first testified he did not recall what he said to Skiles, but later said he would have told Skiles to call the service center. Following this conversation, Skiles obtained the ladder from the restaurant and used it to climb over the lift gate and jump into the back of the trailer. Skiles said that when he landed on the floor of the trailer, both of his knees “popped” and he sustained a serious injury. Skiles did not call the service center until after his injury. Upon completing his other scheduled deliveries, Skiles returned to the company distribution center and filed an employee injury claim form. Because Jack in the Box is not a workers’ compensation subscriber, Skiles brought a negligence action against the company. Jack in the Box moved for summary judgment under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 166a(c) and 166a(i), which the trial court granted without stating the grounds for its decision. Skiles appealed the judgment to the 5th Court of Appeals, attacking the trial court’s implied findings that: 1. There was no evidence Jack in the Box breached any duty owed to Skiles; 2. There was no evidence Jack in the Box’s negligence proximately caused Skiles’ injury; and 3. Skiles’ negligence was the sole proximate cause of his injury. The 5th Court decided all three issues in Skiles’ favor, reversed the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. The Texas Supreme Court cited its 2006 holding in Kroger Co. v. Elwood, 197 S.W.3d 793, as dispositive. In that case, a grocery store employee brought a negligence action against his employer after he was injured when a customer slammed her car door on his hand as he was transferring items from a grocery cart to her vehicle. The employee argued that Kroger had a duty to warn him not to place his hand on a car’s door jamb while putting groceries in the car. The court held that while the duty of ordinary care generally requires an employer to “warn an employee of the hazards of employment and provide needed safety or equipment or assistance,” the employer “owes no duty to warn of hazards that are commonly known or already appreciated by the employee.” Applying Elwood to this case, the court stated that the dangers associated with the use of a ladder to climb over a lift gate, The Texas Supreme Court stated, are “common and obvious to anyone.” The court conclude Jack in the Box owed no duty to warn Skiles of the danger posed by his intended use of the ladder. The court reversed the 5th Court’s judgment and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Jack in the Box. OPINION:Per curiam.

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