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Esquivel v. Murray Guard, Inc.

992 S.W.2d 536 (1999)

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Esquivel v. Murray Guard, Inc.

Texas Court of Appeals

992 S.W.2d 536 (1999)

Facts

Debbie Esquivel (plaintiff) stayed at a hotel operated by La Quinta (defendant). A hotel clerk directed Esquivel to park a moving van that contained her personal property and was towing her car on an adjacent street, assuring Esquivel that the moving van and car would be safe there because of security provided by La Quinta. The next morning, the moving van and car were gone. Esquivel and her insurer, Florida Residential Property & Casualty Joint Underwriters Association (the insurer) (plaintiff), sued La Quinta, asserting a number of causes of action including negligence. During discovery, Esquivel and the insurer found that Murray Guard, Inc. (defendant) had contracted with La Quinta to provide security, and Esquivel and the insurer joined Murray as a defendant. Murray and La Quinta’s contract provided that Murray would be a contractor, LaQuinta would pay Murray an hourly rate for providing security services, security guards would be Murray employees, and Murray employees could not provide services to hotel guests except in limited and rare circumstances. The contract incorporated documents entitled Guard Orders and Statement of Work that set forth the guards’ responsibilities, including an obligation to report improper lighting and to use only necessary force. La Quinta prepared the Statement of Work and Guard Orders, and only La Quinta had the right to change the Guard Orders. La Quinta approved Murray security guard shifts and decided how many security guards were needed. La Quinta consulted Murray in deciding the security guards’ duties. The statute of limitations had run as to Murray when Esquivel and the insurer filed their claim against Murray, so Murray filed a motion for summary judgment on that basis, and the trial court granted the motion. Esquivel and the insurer appealed, arguing that Murray and La Quinta were a joint enterprise, and that therefore their claims against Murray should relate back to their timely claims against La Quinta.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fowler, J.)

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