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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Respondent Margaret Thompson sued the city of Dallas, alleging that while walking through the lobby of Dallas Love Field airport she tripped on the lip of an improperly secured metal expansion-joint coverplate protruding up from the floor and fell, fracturing her shoulder. The lobby area in which Thompson fell was well traveled, and passengers and city employees walked through the area daily, including the day of the fall. In the hours prior to Thompson’s fall, city employees had been in the area of the coverplate and probably had walked over it but no one reported or observed the coverplate protruding from the floor. Accident logs reflected reports of tripping where Thompson did but none for at least three years. The city knew that the coverplate could become loose and raise suddenly or over time with ordinary wear and tear. When it did, city employees would tighten it. After Thompson fell, the city added a screw to the end of the coverplate where it was protruding. The trial court sustained the city’s plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental immunity, concluding that there was no evidence the city actually knew of the alleged protruding coverplate. The court of appeals reversed. HOLDING:The Texas Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the 5th Court of Appeals and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The parties agreed that under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �101.021, the city was immune from suit unless there was evidence that it actually knew of the alleged protruding coverplate. Thompson argued that the city’s knowledge of the periodic protrusion of the coverplate and the need for inspection and maintenance to remedy the potential danger to airport patrons satisfied the requirement of actual knowledge. But the Texas Supreme Court pointed its past holdings stating that the fact that materials deteriorate over time and may become dangerous does not itself create a dangerous condition, and the actual knowledge required for liability is of the dangerous condition at the time of the accident, not merely of the possibility that a dangerous condition can develop over time. Thompson argued that the city’s knowledge of past reports of tripping was sufficient. But the court found that the reports were too remote to show that the city knew of a dangerous condition at the time Thompson fell. An expert witness for Thompson testified that the city must have known of the dangerous condition because its employees were in the vicinity and walking over the coverplate in the hours prior to Thompson’s fall. But the court stated that without evidence showing how long the alleged protrusion had existed, the proximity of the employees was no evidence of actual knowledge. OPINION:Per curiam.

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