Appeals court affirms no-evidence summary judgment in retaliation and intentional injury case

By Robert Davis | Apr 4, 2018

HOUSTON – Texas' 14th District Court of Appeals affirmed a no-evidence summary judgment by the 334th District Court in Harris County in favor of Pentair Valves & Controls US LP and Kelly Services Inc., citing the appellee, Anthony Simon, failed to provide enough evidence to show there is a genuine issue regarding the material facts of the case.

In the March 29 memorandum opinion, the court argued that Simon "failed to produce sufficient evidence for his retaliation claim because he failed to show that his employment was terminated, or that any termination was causally linked to his filing of a workers' compensation claim."

The opinion states Simon sued Pentair in September 2015, nearly two years after he finished working for the company, alleging multiple retaliation and intentional-tort claims, including that the company terminated his employment after he filed two workers' compensation claims. 

Pentair and Kelly argued that Simon was not terminated. Instead, he ceased working for the company after his temporary employment assignment period was complete. 

Simon was working at Pentair as a temporary worker for Kelly at Pentair in May 2013 when he became ill and broke out in a skin rash, allegedly due to contact with contaminated crates in Pentair’s warehouse. After receiving medical treatment from an independent physician, Simon filed a workers' compensation claim, and his treatment ended in June 2013. 

In September of the same year, Simon filed another workers' compensation claim for a bite from a nonvenomous insect while working in the warehouse. He continued working through November 2013, sustaining another insect bite during that time period. 

Simon claimed Pentair violated the Texas Workers Compensation Act and alleged retaliatory discharge and intentional tort claims against the company. 

After review, the court ruled that none of the evidence Simon presented in his appeal "shows the intent element required for an intentional-tort claim." It further argued his appeal does "not contain more than a scintilla of evidence that appellees knew for certain Simon would be harmed by continuing to work with the crates" and overruled his claims. 

Judge J. Brett Busby gave the memorandum opinion before Chief Justice Kem Thompson Frost and Justice Martha Hill Jamison.

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