Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Thirteenth Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment in Trucking Case

The Thirteenth Court of Appeals recently reversed a summary judgment favoring a defendant logging company and a defendant premises owner. Smith Law Group represented Tara Hoke, the plaintiff. The case was transferred from the Ninth Court of Appeals to the Thirteenth Court pursuant to a Texas Supreme Court docket-equalization order.

Hoke was catastrophically injured when she collided with a logging truck entering a premises from a farm-to-market road in Hardin County. Hoke sued defendants for negligence and gross negligence, alleging her injury was caused by defendants’ failure to (1) use appropriate signage to alert and warn the traveling public of unusual and dangerous commercial activity; and (2) make a safe entrance for logging trucks turning off a major highway. Defendants moved for a traditional summary judgment, denying any duty to protect Hoke from the truck driver’s actions. Hoke appealed, arguing defendants failed to meet their burden to negate an element of her premises liability and negligence claims. In a memorandum opinion, authored by Justice Gregory Perkes, the Thirteenth Court agreed and reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings in the trial court.

Hoke v. The Campbell Group, LLC and Crown Pine Timber 1, L.P., No. 13-14-00215-CV  (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi April 21, 2016) (mem. op.) (opinion available here).


D. Todd Smith
About the Author

D. Todd Smith is an Austin-based civil appellate specialist who works with trial teams from the earliest stages of litigation. In trial courts, he takes the lead on strategic analysis and briefing, jury charges, and potentially dispositive motions, all with a focus on preserving error and positioning cases for appellate review.

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