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At a Glance:
Total Oilfield Services, Inc. v. Garcia
June 11, 1986
711 S.W.2d 237
Texas Supreme Court
Published Opinion

Total Oilfield Services, Inc. v. Garcia

Supreme Court of Texas.



Gregoria GARCIA, Individually and a/n/f of Rita Garcia et al., Respondents.

No. C–5175.


June 11, 1986.

Attorneys & Firms

*238 Donald M. Hunt, Carr, Evans, Fouts & Hunt, Lubbock, for petitioner.

Jay Harvey, Tom Upchurch, Jr. & Associates, Amarillo, for respondents.



Jose Alejo Garcia, a Texas resident, was hired in Oklahoma to work in that state for Total Oilfield Services, a Texas corporation. He was killed in an industrial accident in Oklahoma while working in the course and scope of his employment.

After Garcia’s death, his survivors received worker’s compensation benefits under the laws of Oklahoma. After they received these benefits, Garcia’s survivors sued in Texas for exemplary damages for the wrongful death of Jose Garcia under the provisions of 703 S.W.2d 411.

We refuse the application for writ of error, no reversible error. However, we disapprove the following language in the court of appeals’ opinion:

However, the case before us, does not present a choice of law question and the ‘most significant relationship’ rule is not applicable in this instance. As we stated above, the appellants have a statutorily-created right to bring their wrongful death action in the courts of this State under the laws of this State; therefore, it must necessarily and logically follow that the appellant’s right is not precluded or defeated by an application of the common-law created choice-of-law rule.

703 S.W.2d at 415.

In pertinent part, former article 4678 provided that “courts shall apply such rules of substantive law as are appropriate under the facts of the case.” This language was added to that article in 1975. Tex.H.B. 974, 64th Leg. (1975). Prior to the amendment, this court held that Texas’ Wrongful Death Act did not apply to deaths which occurred outside of Texas. Marmon v. Mustang *239 Aviation, Inc., 430 S.W.2d 182 (Tex.1968). In describing the amendment, the Chairman of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee stated that “it adopts the most significant contact theory of conflicts of law and overrules the Mustang Aviation case.” Hearings on H.B. 974, before the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence, 64th Leg., May 27, 1975 (on tape).

In 1979, this court noted the amendment to article 4678 and stated that the language of the amendment “carries no self-evident meaning. It must be defined and interpreted by the courts. This opinion should be of some aid in that task.” 703 S.W.2d at 415. Because the court of appeals reached the correct result, the application for writ of error is refused, no reversible error.

End of Document