In re UPS Ground Freight, Inc., 20-0827

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation646 S.W.3d 828
Parties IN RE UPS GROUND FREIGHT, INC., Relator
Docket Number20-0827
Decision Date17 June 2022

646 S.W.3d 828

IN RE UPS GROUND FREIGHT, INC., Relator

No. 20-0827

Supreme Court of Texas.

OPINION DELIVERED: June 17, 2022


Douglas T. Gosda, Houston, for Real Party in Interest Villarreal, Phillip.

Darrell L. Barger, Thomas C. Wright, Houston, James Christian Marrow, for Relator.

Robert B. Dubose, Anna M. Baker, Houston, J. Brent Goudarzi, Gilmer, Clay Wilder, Kevin H. Dubose, Houston, Marty L. Young, Gilmer, for Real Party in Interest McElduff, Jacintha Nicole.

Bradley Thomas Steele, Longview, for Intervenor Clark, Julian.

John Lindsley McCraw, Mckinney, for Real Party in Interest Riddle, Stephanie Nicole.

John Charles Nohinek, Fort Worth, Rosalyn Renee Tippett, for Intervenor Morrison, Cameronn.

Matthew J. Kita, Dallas, M. Keith Dollahite, Tyler, Michael R. Mitchell, Dallas, for Intervenors Trotter, Sean, Trotter, Micah.

PER CURIAM

646 S.W.3d 830

In this wrongful-death suit, the trial court ordered UPS Ground Freight, Inc. to produce the results of all alcohol and drug tests conducted on all current and former drivers at its Irving, Texas facility for stated time periods preceding a fatal multi-vehicle accident. We conditionally grant mandamus relief because the discovery requests are overbroad in seeking irrelevant information about uninvolved UPS drivers, and UPS has no adequate remedy by appeal.

On September 21, 2017, a UPS driver operating out of the Irving facility was involved in a multi-vehicle collision that resulted in the death of Nathan Dean Clark. Post-accident drug testing for UPS's employee came back positive for THC, but UPS disputes whether any impairment was a causative factor in the accident.

Clark's mother, Jacintha Nicole McElduff, sued the driver, Phillip Villarreal, for negligence and gross negligence and UPS for (1) negligent retention and training of Villarreal; (2) negligent entrustment of a vehicle to Villarreal; and (3) gross negligence. McElduff alleges that Villarreal knowingly drove UPS trucks while under the influence of drugs; UPS knowingly failed to properly drug test Villareal and knowingly allowed him to drive while under the influence of drugs; and UPS knowingly failed to comply with its own policies and federal law, including the failure to properly drug test.

In discovery, UPS produced information about its federally mandated alcohol-and-drug testing program, which is administered by a third-party vendor for a nationwide pool of UPS drivers. UPS also made corporate representatives available for examination about the company's testing process and procedures and produced all of Villarreal's alcohol-and-drug test records, including random drug tests and post-accident testing from the day of the accident. In deposition testimony, Villareal, a 25-year employee, admitted that he had been using marijuana for two to five years before the fatal collision. During that time period, he had been randomly drug tested only one time. Villareal also testified that he had provided marijuana to other drivers in the workplace and identified by name one such driver, who similarly admitted to using marijuana.

To establish a pattern and practice of failing to adequately drug test at the Irving facility over a period of years, McElduff served discovery requests seeking (1) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of "all Commercial Vehicle drivers who drove Commercial Vehicles" for UPS who were "dispatched out of the [UPS] facility in Irving, Texas" during the 11-year period preceding the accident and (2) "all documentation of all alcohol, drug, and/or controlled-substance tests" for each of those drivers—including pre-employment, random, reasonable-suspicion, periodic, and post-accident testing—without any time restriction. In compelling production, the trial court overruled UPS's objections,

646 S.W.3d 831

which included that the requests were overbroad, sought irrelevant information, sought information protected from disclosure under federal law, and violated constitutional and common-law privacy rights of uninvolved, nonparty drivers.

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2 practice notes
  • In re UPS, Inc., 03-22-00526-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 21, 2022
    ...a UPS company-arose from a fatal collision in which the defendant's driver tested positive for THC. In re UPS Ground Freight, Inc., 646 S.W.3d 828 (Tex. 2022). In that case, the Court granted mandamus to bar discovery of five years of positive drug-test records for employees who worked at t......
  • Weekley Homes, LLC v. Paniagua, 21-0197
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • June 17, 2022
    ...n.9. A summary-judgment movant may also rely on allegations in a petition "as truthful judicial admissions." Regency , 622 S.W.3d at 819.646 S.W.3d 828 In Regency , which we decided last term, Regency sought summary judgment on an affirmative defense of limitations. Id. We explained that Re......
2 cases
  • Weekley Homes, LLC v. Paniagua, 21-0197
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • June 17, 2022
    ...n.9. A summary-judgment movant may also rely on allegations in a petition "as truthful judicial admissions." Regency , 622 S.W.3d at 819.646 S.W.3d 828 In Regency , which we decided last term, Regency sought summary judgment on an affirmative defense of limitations. Id. We explained that Re......
  • In re UPS, Inc., 03-22-00526-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 21, 2022
    ...a UPS company-arose from a fatal collision in which the defendant's driver tested positive for THC. In re UPS Ground Freight, Inc., 646 S.W.3d 828 (Tex. 2022). In that case, the Court granted mandamus to bar discovery of five years of positive drug-test records for employees who worked at t......

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