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Banker v. McLaughlin

Texas Supreme Court
208 S.W.2d 843 (1948)


Facts

James McLaughlin’s (plaintiff’s) nearly six-year-old son drowned in a pit of water that developer H.F. Banker (defendant) left open for eight or nine months after he excavated dirt to grade streets. About 50 families lived in the subdivision at the time, 40 with small children. Banker’s excavation had soon filled with water five to eight feet deep at the shallowest, such that children would not be able to determine the depth before entry. Banker took no precautions whatsoever to keep children away from the pit. Nor did he fill it in, even though he had no further use for it and could have done so at minimal expense. Mclaughlin won a jury verdict against Banker, which the appellate court reduced but affirmed. Banker further appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas, arguing he had no duty to McLaughlin’s son as a trespasser.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Taylor, J.)

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