New trial granted over medical expenses in rancher's suit against Sprint Pipeline Services

By Gabriel Neves | Dec 31, 2018

HOUSTON – A new trial has been granted by an appellate court in the case of a ranch owner who was struck by a tractor-trailer on his property on the issue of medical expenses.

Justice Terry Jennings, on the bench of the 1st Court of Appeals, issued 36-page ruling on Dec. 13 remanding and reversing the Harris County 164th District Court decision in the lawsuit filed by Thomas Myers against Primoris Energy Services Corp., doing business as Sprint Pipeline Services.

"We reverse, in part, the portion of the trial court’s judgment awarding Myers damages for past medical expenses, and we remand the case to the trial court for a new trial on the issue of past medical expenses," Jennings wrote. "We affirm the remainder of the trial court’s judgment."

Myers sued Sprint over allegations of negligence after he was injured by Justin Baggett, an employee of Montgomery Trucking Co., who was operating an tractor-trailer carrying materials for pipeline construction on Myers' ranch. Sprint had hired Montgomery Trucking to transport equipment.

"On Jan. 26, 2014, Baggett attempted to maneuver an 18-wheeler truck and trailer loaded with Sprint’s materials through the gate, which was 'entirely too narrow to accommodate the size of the truck,' to Myers’s ranch," the ruling states. "...As Baggett reversed the 18-wheeler, he collided into the four-wheeler vehicle on which Myers was sitting." 

The ruling states Myers' injuries include "'a severe four-level cervical disc herniation that impinged on his spinal cord, requiring a four-level fusion surgery of the cervical spine.”

Myers alleged, per the ruling, that "the defendants’ negligence proximately caused damages for past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, disfigurement, and physical impairment, as well as past and future economic damages arising from 'costs associated with running his ranch since he is physically unable to do the work required to run a ranch of its size as he had done in the past before his injury.'”

A jury found that the negligence of Sprint, Baggett and Myers caused the injuries, awarding Myers damages of more than $315,000 for past medical expenses, $15,000 for past physical pain, $500,000 for future physical pain, $50,000 for future mental anguish, $75,000 for past physical impairment and $2 million for

future physical impairment.

Spring had challenged this judgment and claimed the trial court erred in admitting evidence of medical expenses.

1st Court of Appeals Case number 01-16-00631-CV

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