Ninth Court affirms ExxonMobil’s summary judgment win in injury suit

David Yates Sep. 6, 2013, 1:57pm

In March 2009, the Southeast Texas Record reported on a suit filed by Louisiana resident Calvin Clary, who was injured after glass in a door shattered on him while working at ExxonMobil’s Beaumont facility.

ExxonMobil eventually was granted summary judgment, successfully arguing there was no evidence it had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition – an argument and ruling upheld by the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals on Sept. 5. 

Court papers show that Clary’s injury occurred on Sept. 29, 2009, when a glass pane insert in a door in an area known as Switchgear 2 shattered and injured his hand.

Clary, a Newtron Group employee, was at the facility repairing electrical equipment exposed to water during Hurricane Ike.

In his suit, Clary argued the company negligently failed to provide him with a safe environment and failed to inspect the worksite to make sure it was safe.

Disagreeing, ExxonMobil filed for summary judgment and Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, concluded that there was “simply no evidence to establish the actual knowledge requirement on the part of defendant,” court papers say.

The defeat prompted Clary to file an appeal on Feb. 1, 2012, arguing that ExxonMobil knew the door had been subjected to strong wind forces during Hurricane Ike and its employees knew the door would stick when a user tried to open it, court paper allege.

“Knowledge that the building had been subjected to hurricane conditions does not amount to actual knowledge that the glass pane inset in the door was a danger or a condition that could cause injuries,” states the Ninth Court’s opinion, authored by Justice David Gaultney.

“No legally sufficient evidence supports Clary’s contention that ExxonMobil had actual knowledge before the accident of the danger or condition resulting in the personal injury. Appellant’s issues are overruled. The trial court’s judgment is affirmed.”

Clary was seeking damages for his alleged lost earnings, lost his earning capacity, experienced pain and suffering and incurred medical expenses.

Beaumont attorney John Werner of Reaud, Morgan & Quinn represents him.

ExxonMobil is represented in part by attorney Randal G. Cashiola.

Trial case No. D183-398

Appeals case No. 09-12-00060-CV

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