X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
At issue in this case is whether the court of appeals erred in rendering judgment for a plaintiff who received an adverse verdict and take-nothing judgment after a jury trial. When a party with the burden of proof loses at trial and asks an appellate court to render judgment in his favor, that party must show that the evidence conclusively established his entitlement to judgment. Because the court of appeals incorrectly applied this standard and Mathis did not conclusively prove his nuisance and trespass claims, we reverse in part its judgment and remand the case to the court of appeals to determine factual sufficiency issues raised below.

Dr. Lee Roy Mathis and H.E. “Buster” Barnes own adjoining property in Anderson County. Lake Creek runs through both tracts, and Mathis’s 1,254 acre property is located upstream from Barnes’s. Mathis maintained a wetlands complex on much of his land, which attracted beavers, waterfowl, and other wildlife. Barnes’s tract was used predominantly as a pasture. In September 2006, Barnes constructed an earthen road across the creek to more easily access his back pasture. To accommodate water flow in the creek, Barnes installed two twenty-eight-inch culverts, or drainage pipes, into the structure. In October 2006, Mathis noticed an elevated water level in the creek, which he suspected was caused by Barnes’s road. By November, Mathis noticed that creek water encroached onto his property, and he asked Barnes to modify the road. Barnes later installed an additional culvert into the structure. In December 2006, Mathis returned to his property after a twelve-day absence to discover that Barnes’s road was washed away. The flooding–and subsequent drainage–also affected over four hundred acres of Mathis’s property, damaging beaver dams, affecting the wildlife population, and draining the wetlands.

Mathis sued Barnes, alleging negligence, gross negligence, nuisance, and trespass. At trial, Mathis argued that Barnes’s road acted as a dam, causing a large amount of water to accumulate, which eventually destroyed Barnes’s road and damaged much of Mathis’s land. Barnes countered that an upstream event caused the flooding and produced evidence that Mathis’s property did not lose value and Mathis did not suffer non-economic damages. After a jury answered “No” as to each of Mathis’s causes of action, the trial court entered a take-nothing judgment.

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Pennsylvania Legal Awards (PALA) 2023

June 14, 2023
TBC, PA

The Legal Intelligencer honors lawyers leaving a mark on the legal community in Pennsylvania with their dedication to law.


Learn More

Consulting Top Consultants 2023

June 15, 2023
New York, NY

Consulting Magazine identifies consultants that have the biggest impact on their clients, firms and the profession.


Learn More

Southeastern Legal Awards (SLA) 2023

June 22, 2023
TBC

The Daily Report is honoring those attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession.


Learn More

COMMERCIAL FINANCE ATTORNEY - CT OFFICES; REMOTE will be considered


We are seeking an attorney to join our commercial finance practice in either our Stamford, Hartford or New Haven offices. Candidates should ...


Apply Now ›

Attorneys-Solicitor General Division


Attorneys Solicitor General Division: The West Virginia Attorney General's Office is accepting applications for attorneys in the Solicitor...


Apply Now ›

CIVIL LITIGATION ATTORNEY -NEW YORK


Regional mid-sized firm with diverse civil litigation practice seeking hardworking and dedicated attorneys with 1-5 years experience for it...


Apply Now ›

POND LEHOCKY STERN GIORDANO

06/06/2023
TLI Web

Pond Lehocky Giordano LLP would like to announce that....


View Announcement ›

HARTMANN DOHERTY ROSA BERMAN & BULBULIA LLC

06/05/2023
NJLJ Web

HARTMANN DOHERTY ROSA BERMAN & BULBULIA LLC's Matrimonial & Family Practice Warmly Welcomes the Honorable Peter J. Melchionne (Ret.) to Lead its New Family Law Dispute Resolution Team.


View Announcement ›

GIBBONS PC

06/05/2023
NJLJ Web

Gibbons PC would like to announce that...


View Announcement ›