Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. v. Mayes

Decision Date15 June 2007
Docket NumberNo. 04-0993.,04-0993.
Citation236 S.W.3d 754
PartiesGOODYEAR TIRE AND RUBBER COMPANY, Petitioner, v. Patrick MAYES, Respondent.
CourtTexas Supreme Court

Robert C. Scruggs, King, LeBlanc & Bland, P.L.L.C., Houston, for Petitioner.

Valorie W. Davenport, Denise Wells Novotny, Davenport Legal Group, Houston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM.

An appellate court reviewing a summary judgment must consider whether reasonable and fair-minded jurors could differ in their conclusions in light of all of the evidence presented. See Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Spates, 186 S.W.3d 566, 568 (Tex.2006); City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 822-24 (Tex.2005). Here, the court of appeals, reversing the trial court's judgment, failed to apply the proper standard of review. We reverse and render judgment that the plaintiff take nothing.

Corte Adams worked as a tire alignment technician for Goodyear at its Bryan, Texas, shop. Adams regularly commuted approximately two hours from his home in Houston to Bryan, worked an eight- to ten-hour shift at the Bryan store, and then commuted approximately two hours home. He used Goodyear vehicles to travel between Bryan and Houston. Occasionally, on his trips to and from Houston, Adams shuttled tires between Goodyear's Bryan store and its Homestead store in Houston. If Adams was able to deliver the tires before the Homestead store closed, he was paid for the trip from Bryan to Houston. If he arrived after the store had closed, Adams would deliver the tires to the Homestead store the next morning before setting out for Bryan, and his workday would begin with the delivery.

On February 26, 1999, Adams left Bryan headed to the Homestead store with a tire delivery. By the time he arrived, the store was closed. Adams then drove to his father's nearby home, with the tires still on the back of the truck. There he ate dinner, drank a few beers, and slept for approximately five hours. A little before 3:00 a.m., Adams left the apartment to purchase cigarettes for his father. On his way to the convenience store, Adams fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line into oncoming traffic, and struck head-on a truck driven by Patrick Mayes. Both Mayes and Adams were injured in the collision.

Mayes sued Adams for negligence, negligence per se, and gross negligence, and Goodyear for negligent entrustment and vicarious liability under a respondeat superior theory.1 The trial court granted Goodyear's motion for summary judgment, severed Mayes's suit against Goodyear from his suit against Adams, and rendered a final take-nothing judgment in favor of Goodyear.

On appeal, a divided court of appeals reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case. 144 S.W.3d 50, 58. Assuming all evidence favorable to the nonmovant (Mayes) was true, and indulging every reasonable inference and resolving any doubts in his favor, the court held there existed sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact on whether Adams was acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Id. at 55-56. The court also held that Mayes presented sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment on his negligent entrustment claim. Id. at 57-58. The dissent concluded that the undisputed facts in the case precluded Mayes's claims as a matter of law. 144 S.W.3d at 60 (Jennings, J., dissenting).

An appellate court reviewing a summary judgment must consider all the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, indulging every reasonable inference in favor of the nonmovant and resolving any doubts against the motion. Sudan v. Sudan, 199 S.W.3d 291, 292 (Tex. 2006); Spates, 186 S.W.3d at 568. Goodyear argues the court of appeals erred in finding a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Adams's actions were within the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred. Generally, a person has no duty to control the conduct of another. Otis Eng'g Corp. v. Clark, 668 S.W.2d 307, 309 (Tex.1983). Under the theory of respondeat superior, however, an employer may be vicariously liable for the negligent acts of its employee if the employee's actions are within the course and scope of his employment. Baptist Mem'l Hosp. Sys. v. Sampson, 969 S.W.2d 945, 947 (Tex.1998). "[A]n employer is liable for its employee's tort only when the tortious act falls within the scope of the employee's general authority in furtherance of the employer's business and for the accomplishment of the object for which the employee was hired." Minyard Food Stores, Inc. v. Goodman, 80 S.W.3d 573, 577 (Tex.2002) (citing Robertson Tank Lines, Inc. v. Van Cleave, 468 S.W.2d 354, 357 (Tex.1971)). The employee's acts must be of the same general nature as the conduct authorized or incidental to the conduct authorized to be within the scope of employment. Minyard Food Stores, 80 S.W.3d at 577 (citing Smith v. M Sys. Food Stores, Inc., 156 Tex. 484, 297 S.W.2d 112, 114 (1957)). Accordingly, "if an employee deviates from the performance of his duties for his own purposes, the employer is not responsible for what occurs during that deviation." Minyard Food Stores, 80 S.W.3d at 577.

The summary judgment record contains uncontroverted evidence that Adams awoke at his father's home close to 3:00 a.m., drove the Goodyear truck to a nearby convenience store to purchase his father's cigarettes, and planned to return. It was during this personal errand that Adams fell asleep at the wheel and hit Mayes's truck head-on. Adams's personal errand was not an act in furtherance of his employer's business or for the accomplishment of the object for which he was hired. Evidence that Adams had possession of the Goodyear truck with Goodyear tires on board, had a morning delivery to make, was available via pager twenty-four hours a day, and was not restricted from using the truck for personal business fail to support the requirements of respondeat superior. There is no conflicting evidence or...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1005 cases
  • Alvarado v. Shipley Donut Flour & Supply Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • November 30, 2007
    ...of the object for which they were employed. Bodin v. Vagshenian, 462 F.3d 481, 484 (5th Cir. 2006); Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 756-57 (Tex.2007). Where an intentional tort is committed in the accomplishment of a duty entrusted to the employee, rather than because......
  • BP Am. Prod. Co. v. Carlos M. Zaffirini Sr., Dolores Angelina De La Garza, Clarissa De La Garza, Cristina Lorena Benavides, Servando Roberto Benavides, Delia Hilda Benavides Martinez, Maria Eugenia Benavides Gutierrez, Las Tinajas Minerals, Ltd.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • August 30, 2013
    ...doubts in the nonmovant's favor.” Rhone–Poulenc, Inc. v. Steel, 997 S.W.2d 217, 223 (Tex.1999); accord Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 756 (Tex.2007) (per curiam). A defendant moving for traditional summary judgment must conclusively disprove at least one essential elem......
  • Donaldson v. Tex. Dep't of Aging & Disability Servs.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • May 5, 2016
    ...a fact issue on the challenged elements. Flameout Design & Fabrication, 994 S.W.2d at 834 ; see also Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 755 (Tex.2007) (per curiam) (“An appellate court reviewing a summary judgment must consider whether reasonable and fair-minded jurors cou......
  • Salazar v. Collins
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 2008
    ...and fair-minded jurors could differ in their conclusions in light of all of the evidence presented. See Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 755 (Tex.2007) (per curiam) (citing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Spates, 186 S.W.3d 566, 568 (Tex.2006) (per curiam); City of Keller v. Wi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Chapter 3-11 Agency Actions—Agent's Action Binding on the Principal
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Texas Commercial Causes of Action Claims Title Chapter 3 Contract and Commercial Litigation*
    • Invalid date
    ...S.W.2d 96, 98 (Tex. 1994).[409] Celtic Life Ins. Co. v. Coats, 885 S.W.2d 96, 99 (Tex. 1994).[410] Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 757 (Tex. 2007).[411] Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Mayes, 236 S.W.3d 754, 757 (Tex. 2007).[412] Purvis v. Prattco, Inc., 595 S.W.2d 103, 1......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT