James Highman (defendant) was removing trees from the front yard of George Lawrence (defendant) when a tree fell into the street, hitting a car owned by Reilly (plaintiff), whose son was driving it at the time. The car sustained $269.39 in damage, which Reilly sought in a lawsuit against Highman and Lawrence. Reilly’s petition alleged that Lawrence was liable for Highman’s negligence on the ground that felling large trees close to the street is intrinsically dangerous work. Lawrence filed a demurrer to Reilly’s petition, contending that it failed to state a valid claim against him. The court sustained the demurrer and gave Reilly time to amend. Reilly appealed the decision instead.