TORTS & MOTOR CARRIER (VICARIOUS LIABILITY) / Plaintiffs who sued livestock company for negligence of truck driver while on livestock company’s premises on an episodic contract basis failed to raise genuine issue of material fact as to whether livestock company was a “motor carrier” under Texas state law so as to render livestock company vicariously liable as a “statutory employer”.

Castillo v. Gulf Coast Livestock Market, L.L.C., 2012 WL 6604492 (Court of Appeals of Texas, December 19, 2012). Free copy available here.

Who is affected? Texas companies who hire trucks and drivers on an episodic basis; and those potential tort plaintiff with whom such trucks and drivers might collide.

On injured plaintiffs’ claim of negligence against livestock company for harm caused by trucker on company premises who collided with plaintiffs, court opinion notes: 

(1)  Federal law defines a basis of vicarious liability for a “motor carrier” truck-caused torts based on “statutory employer” status under regulations promulgated by the FMCSA – that status extends beyond common law idea of “employee” truck driver to an “independent contractor” truck driver as a matter of federal regulation. 

(2)  Texas law has its own distinct definition of “motor carrier” which is distinct from the FMCSA definition.  Continue reading