Gonzalez v. Ramirez (Per Curiam)Annotate this Case
Cuahutemoc Gonzalez contracted with several companies, including a company owned by Robert Garcia, to transport silage from a farm. Garcia brought to the farm a tandem truck and a new driver, Raymond Ramierz. During the tandem truck’s first trip, Ramirez collided with a car in which a mother and daughter were traveling. The collision killed all three. Samuel Jackson, the daughter’s father and mother’s former husband, filed suit against Gonzalez, seeking to hold him vicariously liable for the actions of Garcia and Ramirez based on Gonzalez’s alleged status as a motor carrier under both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Federal Regulations) and their Texas counterparts (Texas Regulations). Ramirez’s family (the Ramirezes) intervened and asserted negligence claims against Gonzalez under common-law theories of retained control over an independent contract and joint enterprise. The trial court granted Gonzalez’s no-evidence motions for summary judgment as to both the Ramirezes’ and Jackson’s claims. The court of appeals reversed as to the no-evidence summary judgment on Jackson’s claim under the Texas Regulations and on the Ramirezes’ negligence claims based on retained control. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Gonzalez cannot be held liable as a motor carrier under either the Federal Regulations or the Texas Regulations; and (2) the evidence was legally insufficient to show that the same party retained sufficient control over the transportation in which the truck was engaged to owe Ramirez a common-law duty.