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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 1 of 9 PageID #: 1

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

MARSHALL DIVISION




§
ADRIANNA SANCHEZ, INDIVIDUALLY
§
AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF
RAUL ARGOTE-ARBOLES, DECEASED
§
AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF RAUL ARGOTE, §
§
A MINOR
§

§


§
§
VS.

§
COMMERICAL TRANSPORTATION, INC.; §
§
MATTHEW SNIPERLY

.
§


Plaintiffs,





Defendants

















































No. 2:09-cv-0047

JURY
















PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT




COMES NOW, ADRIANNA SANCHEZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF

THE ESTATE OF RAUL ARGOTE-ARBOLES, Deceased, AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF

RAUL ARGOTE, A MINOR, hereinafter referred

to as “Plaintiff”, complaining of

COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION, INC. and MATTHEW SNIPERLY, hereinafter referred

to as “Defendants”, and for causes of action would respectfully show unto the Court the

following facts:

Parties

1.

Plaintiff ADRIANNA SANCHEZ, is the widow of RAUL ARGOTE-ARBOLES,

Deceased and the mother of RAUL ARGOTE, A MINOR. She is an individual residing in

Harrison County, Texas, and is a citizen of Texas.

2.

Defendant COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION, INC. is an Arkansas corporation with

its principal place of business in Arkansas. It may be served with process through its registered

agent Robert Peeples at 102 Oakley Drive, North Little Rock Arkansas, 72114-6452.

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 2 of 9 PageID #: 2

3.

Matthew Sniperly is a citizen of Missouri who may be served with process at his place of

residence, 8460 PR 7107 W. Plains, MO 65775, or alternatively, at his place of employment, 102

Oakley Drive, North Little Rock Arkansas, 72114-6452.

Jurisdiction

4.

The court has jurisdiction over this case under 28 USC §1332(a)(1) because the plaintiff

and the defendants are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds

$75,000.00, excluding interest and costs.

5.

This is a suit brought under the Texas Wrongful Death Act, § 71.001, et seq., Tex. Civ.

Prac. & Rem. Code, for damages arising from the death of Raul Argote-Arboles, deceased. This

suit is also brought pursuant to the Texas Survival Act, § 71.021, et seq., Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.

Code, for those damages that would have been recoverable by Raul Argote-Arboles had he

survived. More specifically, this action is brought for the Plaintiff individually, as next friend of

Raul Argote, a minor, and for the benefit of the estate of Raul Argote-Arboles, and on behalf of

all the statutory beneficiaries of the decedent according to §71.004 (a), (b), Tex. Civ. Prac. &

Rem. Code.

6.

Plaintiff Adrianna Sanchez has standing to assert the above claims in this case.

Venue

7.

Venue is proper pursuant to 28 USC §1391(a)(2) because the accident in issue occurred

in Harrison County, which is within the Eastern District of Texas.

Factual Allegations

8.

On January 5, 2009, Defendant Matthew Sniperly was driving a tractor/trailer owned by

Commercial Transportation, Inc. on Highway 59 inside the city limits of Marshall, Texas.

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 3 of 9 PageID #: 3

Defendant Matthew Sniperly was acting in the course and scope of his employment of

Commercial Transportation, Inc., at all times relevant to this accident.

9.

On the above date, Defendant Sniperly stopped in the right hand lane of traffic. Decedent

Raul Argote-Arboles, who was following defendant Sniperly, took reasonable and appropriate

evasive action and attempted to avoid hitting Sniperly’s trailer, but had inadequate notice of its

presence, as the reflector tape on the trailer was not in appropriate condition and the trailer brake

lights were no longer on at the time of impact. Raul Argote-Arboles was killed in the impact.

Negligence and Negligence Per Se

10.

Plaintiff contends that, on the occasion in question, Plaintiff’s injuries and damages were

proximately caused by the negligent acts and/or omissions of the Defendants, as set forth below.

11. With respect to defendant Matthew Sniperly, Plaintiff alleges that Plaintiff’s injuries and

damages were caused by defendant Sniperly’s negligence in at least the following respects:

1. Failure to operate his vehicle in a safe and prudent manner, such as a person of

ordinary care would have done under the same or similar circumstances.


2. Stopping and/or parking his vehicle in a manner that was unreasonable and unsafe

and endangered oncoming traffic.

3. Negligently stopping and parking in a traffic lane.

4. Failure to keep his vehicle clean so that any reflective tape or reflective devices

on his vehicle could be seen.

5. Failure to keep proper, undamaged, complete, and adequate reflective tape and

reflectors on his vehicle.

6. Failure to be aware of Texas state law that does not require traffic on the opposite

side of a divided highway to stop for a school bus.

7. Failure to adhere to and follow the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver’s

Handbook.

8. Failure to turn on and/or engage the proper and/or available warning devices and

lights on his vehicle to warn oncoming traffic that he had stopped.













PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 4 of 9 PageID #: 4

9. Failure to perform and document proper pre-trip and post-trip inspections.

10. Failure to ensure the inspection on the trailer he was driving was up to date and

not expired.

11. Such other and further acts of negligence as may be show in the trial of this case

as discovery progresses.


12. With respect to defendant Commercial Transportation, Inc., Plaintiff alleges that

Plaintiff’s injuries and damages were caused by defendant Commercial Transportation, Inc.’s

negligence in at least the following respects:

Negligent Training.
a.

1.

2.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

b.

Failure to explain and demonstrate its safety policies and procedures to
Mr. Sniperly.
Failure to provide the necessary training to Mr. Sniperly regarding truck
driving, truck safety, safety classes, how to properly and safely drive an
18-wheeler, how to perform a proper pre-trip and post-trip inspection, the
proper way to use and deploy flashers or warning devices, the proper way
to display reflective tape, the proper method to maintain a vehicle, the
proper way and the necessity of keeping the vehicle clean and in proper
working order, and in all matters regarding the proper and safe operation
of a tractor/trailer and the maintenance of a tractor/trailer in various
situations.
Failure to properly train its drivers regarding proper procedures when a
school bus is observed on the opposite side of a divided highway.
Failure to train its employees and Mr. Sniperly regarding the proper
policies and procedures for documenting pre and post-trip inspections and
maintaining documentation required by the company.
Failure to train Mr. Sniperly regarding the proper use of warning and
reflective devices and what lights and/or reflective devices were to be
turned on and deployed in certain situations, including the situation in
which Mr. Sniperly found himself in at the time of the accident made the
basis of this suit.
Such other and further acts of negligence as may be shown in the trial of
this cause as discovery progresses.


General Negligence.
a.

Failure to comply with its own policies, procedures and standards and/or
failure to adopt appropriate policies, procedures and standards.
Failure to insure that Mr. Sniperly complied with its own policies,
procedures, and standards.

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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c.

d.

e.

f.
g.
h.
i.

j.

k.

Failure to maintain required documentation regarding Mr. Sniperly and the
tractor/trailer made the basis of this suit.
Failure to maintain the tractor/trailer involved in the accident and to insure
that the reflective tape reflects, and lights were in good condition, that the
vehicle was clean, and that there were no broken or missing parts, lights,
or reflective devices.
Failure to institute proper procedures to inspect the vehicles prior to their
use on the highways of Texas to insure that they are clean, and that all
reflective tape, lights, and reflectors are in place, working properly, and do
not have any torn or missing pieces.
Failure to ensure that its trailers were inspected at timely intervals;
Permitting its trailers to be operated on the road with expired inspections;
Permitting its trailers to be operated on the roads with faulty brakes;
Permitting its trailers to be operated on the roads with reflective tape that
is worn, missing, and not functional;
Permitting its trailers to be operated on the roads when they should be out
of service by reason of their many defects including excessively worn
reflective tape, mismatched slack adjustors, malfunction of greater than
20% of the brakes, and an expired inspection.
Such other and further acts of negligence as made be shown in the trial of
this cause as discovery progresses.

Each of the foregoing acts of negligence, whether taken singularly or in combination


13.

were the proximate causes of the collision made the basis of this cause of action and the injuries

and damages sustained by the Plaintiff, which are hereinafter described with more particularity.

14. With respect to both defendants, Plaintiff alleges that the following acts constitute

negligence per se which, whether taken singularly or in combination, were the proximate causes

of the collision made the basis of this cause of action and the injuries and damages sustained by

the Plaintiff:

a.

b.

Violating those portions of the Texas Transportation Code that, as a pre-
requisite to operating a trailer on the highways, require pre-trip and post-
trip inspections, a current trailer inspection sticker, reflective tape in good
working condition, and at least 80% of the brakes operational.
Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as adopted by
the Texas Department of Public Safety (and often referred to as the Texas
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) that, as a pre-requisite to operating a
trailer on the highways, require pre-trip and post-trip inspections, a current
trailer inspection sticker, reflective tape in good working condition, and at
least 80% of the brakes operational.

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 6 of 9 PageID #: 6

Exemplary Damages





15.

Plaintiff alleges that she is entitled to recover exemplary and/or punitive damages

pursuant to Article XVI § 26 of the TEXAS CONSTITUTION and Section 41.003 and 71.009 et

seq. of the TEXAS CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE. Plaintiff would show that

Defendants’ acts and omissions involved an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability

and magnitude of the potential harm to persons such as Raul Argote-Arboles; and further that

Defendants had actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeded

with conscious indifference to his rights, safety, or welfare. Therefore, Plaintiff seeks an award

of exemplary damages to punish Defendants’ conduct and to deter them from engaging in similar

conduct in the future.

Damages

Plaintiff alleges that as a direct and proximate result of the conduct and/or negligent acts


16.

and/or omissions of the Defendants listed above, Plaintiff is entitled to recover at least the

following legal damages:

A.

Adrianna Sanchez:

1.

2.

Past and future mental anguish.

Past and future pecuniary loss, meaning the loss of care, maintenance, support,

services, advice, counsel, and reasonable contributions of a pecuniary value,

excluding loss of inheritance, that she would have received from Raul Argote-

Arboles had he lived

3.

Past and future loss of companionship and society in the past and future, meaning

the loss of positive benefits flowing from the love, comfort, companionship and

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 7 of 9 PageID #: 7

society that each in reasonably probability, would have received from Raul

Argote-Arboles had he lived; and

4.

Property Damage to the vehicle involved in the accident including the difference

in the market value of the vehicle immediately before and immediately after the

occurrence in question; towing charges, and storage charges.

5.

6.

Funeral and burial expenses.

Loss of Inheritance.

B.

Adrianna Sanchez as the Representative of the Estate of Raul Argote-Arboles,

Deceased:

1. Funeral and burial expenses, to the extent not recovered elsewhere;

2. Physical pain and suffering sustained in the past; and

3. Mental anguish suffered in the past.

4. Loss of wages and wage earning capacity in the past.

5. Loss of wages and wage earning capacity in the future.

C.

Adrianna Sanchez as next friend of Raul Argote, a minor:

1. Past and future mental anguish.

2. Past and future pecuniary loss, meaning the loss of care, maintenance, support,

services, advice, counsel, and reasonable contributions of a pecuniary value,

excluding loss of inheritance, that she would have received from Raul Argote-

Arboles had he lived.

3. Past and future loss of companionship and society in the past and future, meaning

the loss of positive benefits flowing from the love, comfort, companionship and

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 8 of 9 PageID #: 8

society that each in reasonably probability, would have received from Raul

Argote-Arboles had he lived; and

4. Loss of Inheritance.

U.S. Life Tables

17.

Notice is hereby given that Plaintiff intends to use the U.S. Life Tables as prepared by the

Department of Health and Human Services.



PRAYER

18. WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the Defendant be cited to appear and answer, and that

on final trial, the Court render judgment in favor of the Plaintiff, consisting of:

Damages, actual, special, and otherwise;

Punitive and/or exemplary damages;

Costs of court;

Both pre-judgment and post-judgment interest at the maximum legal rate;

For such other and further relief both general and special, at law and in equity, to

which Plaintiff may be justly entitled.

















































Respectfully submitted,



Maria Wormington
State Bar No. 24013783

Wormington Law Group










By: /s/Maria Wormington


207 East Lamar Street
McKinney, Texas 75069
(972) 569 3930 Phone
(972) 547 6440 Facsimile
E-Mail: [email protected]

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.



























PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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Case 2:09-cv-00047-TJW Document 1 Filed 02/09/09 Page 9 of 9 PageID #: 9














































Siebman, Reynolds, Burg,

Phillips & Smith, LLP




Michael C. Smith
State Bar No. 18650410
713 South Washington Avenue
Marshall, TX 75670
Telephone: (903) 938-8900
Facsimile: (972) 767-4620
E-Mail: [email protected]

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

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