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Union Pump Co. v. Allbritton

Supreme Court of Texas
898 S.W.2d 773 (1995)


Facts

In 1989, a pump manufactured by Union Pump Company (Union Pump) (defendant) caught fire at Texaco Chemical Company’s (Texaco) facility in Port Arthur, Texas. Sue Allbritton (plaintiff), a trainee employee of Texaco who had just finished her shift was about to leave the facility when the fire erupted. She and her supervisor, Felipe Subia, Jr., were directed to assist in putting out the fire. After the fire had been extinguished, it was learned that there was an emergency situation with a nitrogen purge valve. Subia was instructed to block the valve. Allbritton asked to go with Subia to assist and he agreed. To get to the valve, Allbritton followed Subia on an unsafe route over an aboveground pipe rack, which was about 2 1/2 feet high, instead of going around it. After securing the valve, Subia returned by walking over the pipe rack and Allbritton followed. Allbritton slipped off the rack, which was wet due to the water associated with the fire that had just been extinguished, and sustained injuries. Allbritton brought suit against Union Pump asserting claims for negligence, gross negligence, and strict liability. Allbritton claimed that the defective pump was the proximate cause or producing cause of her injuries. The trial court granted Union Pump’s motion for summary judgment and Allbritton appealed. The court of appeals reversed, finding that Allbritton raised issues of fact concerning proximate cause or producing cause. Union Pump appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Owen, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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