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Timpte Industries Inc. v. Gish

Supreme Court of Texas
286 S.W.3d 306 (2009)


Facts

Robert Gish was a long haul trucker, and was hauling a trailer made by Timpte Industries Inc. (Timpte). The trailer was designed to be loaded from the top, then covered with a tarp. The trailer’s top rail ran along the top of the trailer’s side wall, and consisted of a five-inch strip of aluminum approximately ten feet above the ground. The trailer had ladders at the front and back to allow the user to view the trailer’s contents. Timpte provided warnings to users to maintain three-point contact with the trailer and not to use the ladder to climb into the trailer. Gish used one of the ladders to climb onto the top rail of the trailer to assist with loading. He fell and was injured. Gish (plaintiff) sued Timpte (defendant) for negligent design of the trailer, arguing that the top rail of the trailer was too narrow and slippery, and that the top two rungs of the ladders allowed a person to climb on top of the trailer. Gish’s expert witness testified that a reasonable person would have removed the top two rungs of the ladders to make it impossible to climb onto the top of the trailer, and would have widened the top rail to make an adequate walkway. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Timpte. The court of appeals reversed, and Timpte appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Medina, J.)

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