Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Martin
Supreme Court of Texas
222 S.W.2d 995 (1949)
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
Holding and Reasoning (Garwood, J.)