Seven years ago, Alexis Flores was 15 years old and a sophomore at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School in Pharr, Texas, participating in the student athletic trainer program and playing third base on the high school’s softball team. On September 9, 2010, her supervising trainer asked her to board a two-seater golf cart with himself and another student and drove toward the football field to set up water and equipment for a junior varsity football game. He took a sharp left turn, and Flores was ejected from the cart onto her right knee, tearing her ACL and shattering her dreams of playing softball again that spring.
Over the next couple of months, Flores endured three separate surgeries that required general anesthesia and subsequent physical therapy and restriction from physical activities, including softball. Flores and her family filed suit against PSJA Independent School District (PSJA I.S.D.) hoping they would be granted relief for her physical and mental anguish, but they would not receive any such relief for another seven years when Flores was 22 and had not been a student of PSJA I.S.D. for several years.
Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, government entities-school districts included-are immune to liability except in the case of motor vehicle accidents. After an unsuccessful motion to dismiss and subsequent motion for summary judgment on the basis of a golf cart not being a “motor vehicle,” Benny Agosto, Jr. pushed through several more years of litigation to get Flores the justice she deserved. On Tuesday, June 20, Judge Keno Vasquez of the 398th District Court in Hidalgo County, Texas ruled in favor of Flores, granting her a verdict against PSJA I.S.D. for vicarious liability for the negligent acts of their employee. The Texas Tort Claims Act caps relief at $100,000, but with a verdict of approximately $287,000-in excess of the cap-Flores is guaranteed the $100,000 for her past, present, and future physical pain and mental anguish and to reimburse her and her insurance company for her medical bills.
Flores is now a graduate of South Texas College with an Associate’s degree and currently in pursuit of her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley with hopes of attending law school upon her graduation in December of this year. Agosto hopes this verdict will make it clear to school districts across the country how dangerous golf carts can be and ensure they avoid cases like Flores’ by enforcing strict policies against transporting students in these hazardous vehicles.
Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 66 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at 713-396-3964.