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Batra v. Clark

Texas Court of Appeals
110 S.W.3d 126 (2003)


Facts

Dinesh Batra (defendant) owned a rental property that was leased to Martha Torres (defendant). Batra was an out-of-possession landlord because he did not live on the property. The lease agreement prohibited pets, without the written consent of Batra, and gave Batra the authority to remove any unauthorized animal from the property. However, Torres sometimes kept her son’s pit bull on the property. The dog was on the property at one point when Batra visited to fix the roof. The dog was chained up on the side of the house and barked the entire time Batra fixed the roof. Later, Clarissa Ewell, a nine-year-old girl, came to the property to play with Torres’s daughter, Georgina. The dog was behind a fence on the side of the house but was not chained. Georgina told Ewell to agitate the dog to distract it while Georgina left the house and went through a gate behind the house. Ewell ran back and forth in front of the fence, and the dog broke through the fence and attacked her. The dog bit Ewell on the leg numerous times, and Ewell required stitches. Tammy Clark (plaintiff) sued Batra and Torres on Ewell’s behalf. During the trial, Batra moved for a directed verdict, arguing that he owed no duty to Ewell. The trial court denied the motion, and the jury determined that Batra and Torres were each 50 percent at fault for Ewell’s injuries. Batra appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Taft, J.)

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