14th Court of Appeals affirms jury's finding that BFI Waste Services driver was not negligent in fatal crash

By Gabriel Neves | Nov 15, 2018

HOUSTON – An appellate court has affirmed the decision of a Galveston County court in a negligence case regarding a fatal accident with a recycling truck.

Justice John Donovan, on the bench of the 14th Court of Appeals, issued an eight-page ruling on Nov. 1 affirming the Galveston County 10th District Court decision in the lawsuit filed by Becky Giles, individually and on behalf of the estate of her daughter, Gabriella Giles, against BFI Waste Services of Texas LP and the truck driver Marque Johnson.

In his ruling, Donovan dismissed Giles' issues, concluding that "there was ample evidence introduced at trial to support the jury’s failure to find Johnson was negligent," adding that "the trial court’s submission of the new-and-independent-cause instruction, if erroneous, was harmless."

Giles sued BFI Waste Services of Texas LP and Johnson for over allegations of negligence.

On Nov. 14, 2014, the ruling states Christopher Ragle was taking himself and Gabriella to school when he lost control of his pickup truck, ending up in the opposite lane and colliding with the truck driven by Johnson. The ruling states Ragle was speeding at the time of the collision and he and Gabriella were killed.

"The issue at trial was whether Johnson was partly at fault for failing to avoid the collision," the ruling states. 

A jury on the case failed to find Johnson negligent in the accident and a take-nothing judgment was entered.

Giles appealed, alleging that the lower court erred in "including an instruction on new and independent cause in the jury charge because Johnson’s actions were a concurring cause, not a superseding or new and independent cause, of the collision," the ruling said.

She stated in the appeal, per the ruling, that "Johnson was negligent for failing to obey the speed limit and 'get the garbage truck out of the way.'”

14th Court of Appeals case number 14-17-00383-CV

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