X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Mary and Eustace Butler were the foster parents of Beth Ann Roberts’ and Joe Wayne Church’s two sons. On Nov. 1, 2002, the Butlers’ electricity was disconnected for nonpayment of the electrical bill. That evening, the Butlers used candles to light their home. Due to the handling of a candle, a fire started and destroyed the Butlers’ home. Roberts’ and Church’s sons were killed in the fire. Roberts and Church filed a negligence suit against the electrical utilities, TXU Energy Retail Company LP, and TXU Electric Delivery Co. f/k/a Oncor Electric Delivery Co. (collectively TXU), claiming TXU’s negligence in disconnecting the Butlers’ electricity was the proximate cause of their children’s deaths. TXU moved for summary judgment on traditional grounds, asserting they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because appellants could not establish TXU’s conduct proximately caused their children’s deaths. The trial court granted the motion and Roberts and Church appealed. HOLDING:Affirmed. Proximate cause is the only element at issue on appeal. The court notes that at some point in the causal chain, a defendant’s conduct may be too remotely connected with a plaintiff’s injury to constitute legal causation. In the case before it, the court finds that the circumstances surrounding the children’s deaths were too remotely connected with TXU’s disconnection of electricity to constitute the cause in fact of the deaths. The court holds that TXU’s disconnection of electricity was not a substantial factor in bringing about the children’s deaths because the children died as a result of a fire caused by the handling of a candle. The court reasons that merely creating the condition that makes harm possible falls short, as a matter of law, of satisfying the substantial factor test. Consequently, the court holds that there is no genuine fact issue concerning the cause-in-fact element. OPINION:Horton, J.; Gaultney, Kreger and Horton, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.