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Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Martin

Supreme Court of Texas
222 S.W.2d 995 (1949)


Facts

An unoccupied car parked at a gas station owned by Humble Oil Company (Humble) (defendant) rolled down a hill and struck Martin (plaintiff) and his two daughters. The car was left unattended after it was parked at the gas station by a customer. At trial, the jury found that Humble was liable for the negligence of the gas station’s employee, who failed to take rudimentary actions that would have prevented the accident. The court of civil appeals affirmed, holding that Humble was liable because a master-servant relationship existed between Humble and the gas station manager, Schneider, pursuant to a “Commission Agency Agreement” (Agreement). The Agreement, which was intended to enable Schneider to sell Humble products, contained a number of provisions that gave Humble control over the gas station’s operations. Humble appealed the court of civil appeals’ decision to uphold the trial court’s finding that it was liable for the gas station employee’s negligence.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Garwood, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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