Employee failed to provide ‘scintilla of evidence’ in injury claim - Business Insurance

Employee failed to provide ‘scintilla of evidence’ in injury claim - Business Insurance

A Texas hospital employee who claimed she was injured in an elevator failed to provide “a scintilla of evidence” in her premises liability personal injury claims against her non-subscribing employer, an appellate court said. 

In Hudson v. Memorial Hospital System, a Texas Court of Appeals, First District in Houston on Thursday affirmed the dismissal of personal injury claims filed against the hospital, its premises manager and elevator maintenance provider.

Michelle Hudson worked for Memorial Herman Health System, which is a non-subscriber under the Texas Workers Compensation Act, when she said she was injured when an elevator she was in on the premises “stopped suddenly and violently.” She also said when she pushed the elevator button, she felt an “electric shock.”

She sued the hospital, the elevator maintenance provider and the premises manager to recover for her personal injury, arguing that the defendants breached their duty to properly maintain and systematically inspect the elevator and correct any unreasonably dangerous conditions. Her complaint sought damages for medical expense, physical pain, mental anguish and lost wages. However, she made claims against the hospital as an invitee, not an employee.

The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were granted by a trial court.

Ms. Hudson appealed, arguing that as an employee of Memorial Hermann, a non-subscribing employer, who “was injured during the course and scope of her employment on premises owned and controlled” by the hospital, her injuries should be considered “workplace injuries” and compensable.

The appellate court, however, noted that Ms. Hudson’s first amended complaint made no claims against the hospital as her employer, and therefore she only asserted a premises liability case, which she failed to adequately plead.

The court further held that Ms. Hudson’s evidence of a breach of duty by the defendants was “so weak” that it “falls short of raising a scintilla of evidence.”