Appeals court rules against worker injured in oil drilling machine accident

By Gabriel Neves | Mar 18, 2019

HOUSTON -- An oil worker who was employed on an oil rig and who sued the drilling company for injuries he had during the perforation of the well, has suffered a loss in court.

State Justice Ken Wise, ruling for the Texas 14th District Court of Appeals, issued an 11-page ruling Feb. 26, affirming the Harris County District Court decision in the lawsuit filed by Sergio and Sherice Gonzalez against Hunting Energy Services Inc., Hunting Energy Services Drilling Tools Inc., and Hunting Titan Inc.

The court affirmed the summary judgment decided in the case, concluding the district court "did not err" in its decision.

Gonzalez sued the companies, alleging negligence, product liability, and warranty, for the accident that took place while he was working on an oil extraction for GE Oil & Gas Wire Line Division.

As stated in the ruling, "Gonzalez had just removed a setting tool from the hole and was in the process of releasing the pressure that was built up in the pressure chamber of the setting tool when the setting tool malfunctioned" as "a component part known as a 'retainer nut,' 'plug,' or 'disk retainer' seated in the pressure chamber came loose, releasing a high-pressure charge that injured Gonzalez."

Hunting Energy, per the ruling, "filed a combined traditional and no-evidence motion for summary judgment, asserting that the evidence conclusively established that Hunting did not manufacture, design, or market the retainer nut and therefore could not be liable under a products liability theory," also moving "for a no-evidence summary judgment on Gonzalez’s claims for negligence, gross negligence, products liability, and the implied warranty claims on the basis that, among other things, Gonzalez had no evidence that Hunting manufactured the retainer nut [and thus owed no duty], and no evidence that the retainer nut was defective at the time it was manufactured or that it reached Gonzales without a substantial change in its condition."

The lower court granted Hunting summary judgment with no grounds for the ruling.

In his ruling, Wise stated "because the trial court would not have erred in granting Hunting’s no-evidence summary judgment on the basis that Gonzalez had no evidence that Hunting manufactured, designed, or marketed the retainer nut at issue, Hunting could not be liable to Gonzalez on a failure to warn theory."

Texas 14th District Court of Appeals case number 14-17-00877-CV

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