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Knorpp v. Hale

Texas Court of Appeals
981 S.W.2d 469 (1998)


Bonita Knorpp (plaintiff) filed suit on behalf of her son, Todd Erwin, after he was killed while cutting down a tree at the home of Michael and Reeda Hale (defendants). Erwin, who had been dating the Hales’ daughter for about one year had spent a great deal of time at the Hales’ home. Erwin had his own key to the house and was free to come and go unrestricted. In preparation for a New Years’ Eve bonfire on the Hales’ property, Erwin volunteered to cut down a large, dead pine tree so that individuals could sit on the downed tree next to the fire. Erwin used a chain saw to cut down the tree. However, the tree fell in an unexpected direction and landed on Erwin, killing him. The trial court concluded that Erwin was a licensee, not an invitee, on the Hales’ property and granted a directed verdict for the Hales. Knorpp appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Grant, J.)

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