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Turner v. Big Lake Oil Co.

Supreme Court of Texas
96 S.W.2d 221 (1936)



Big Lake Oil Co. (Big Lake) (defendant), an operator of oil wells, constructed large artificial earthen ponds in which they ran salt water runoff from the wells. The salt water escaped from the ponds and passed over, and injured, the lands of Turner (plaintiff) and other landowners. Additionally, the salt water flowed into natural waterways that provided water for Turner’s livestock. Turner and others brought suit based on negligence against Big Lake for allowing the levees and dams of the ponds to break, causing the salt water to escape and cause damage. At trial, a jury did not find Big Lake negligent in its conduct. Turner appealed. The court of civil appeals affirmed and held that a finding of negligence is a prerequisite to allow Turner to recover. Turner appealed to the state’s supreme court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cureton, C.J.)

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