2 of 100 DOCUMENTS
TOMMY CHAMPION, Appellant v. GREAT DANE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP,
COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, FOURTEENTH DISTRICT, HOUSTON
286 S.W.3d 533; 2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 3222; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P18,223
May 7, 2009, Opinion Filed
On Appeal from the 189th District Court, Harris
County, Texas. Trial Court Cause No. 2005-52056.
For appellants: Richard L. Lagarde, Roger
N. Chrisco, Houston, TX.
For appellees: William C. Book, LeAnn Kay, Houston,
Panel consists of Chief Justice Hedges,
Justice Frost, and Senior Justice Hudson.
Senior Justice J. Harvey Hudson sitting by
Kem Thompson Frost
The underlying products-liability case arose
from injuries sustained by appellant, a truck driver, in
attempting to unload a truck trailer manufactured by
appellee. The truck driver complains on appeal that
the trial court erred in excluding testimony from
his expert witness as to the trailer's alleged design defect
and in granting a motion for a directed verdict in favor of
the manufacturer on the design-defect claim. We affirm.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Appellant Tommy Champion, a truck driver, filed
suit against appellee Great Dane Limited Partnership
(hereinafter "Great Dane") for injuries he sustained in an
incident involving a truck trailer manufactured by Great
Dane. The trailer was owned by Penske Trucking
which leased the trailer to
Although Champion also asserted claims against
Penske and another party, the record reflects that
Champion accepted settlement offers from those two
[**2] parties and that the claims against those parties
were dismissed with prejudice.
Great Dane designed and manufactured the
refrigerated trailer according to Champion's employer's
specifications. The trailer had ridged flooring that
allowed cold air to circulate beneath the freight. An
spanned the width of the trailer in the
rear, which allowed for condensation and liquids from
leaky freight to drain away from the freight. Liquids
flowed into drainpipes on each side of the gutter to
prevent pooling. A "lift gate platform" was attached to
the rear of the trailer, which facilitated loading and
unloading cargo. Champion had not used this particular
trailer before the incident in question.