Union Pump Co. v. Allbritton Case Brief

Summary of Union Pump Co. v. Allbritton, 898 S.W.2d 773 (Tex. 1995)

Facts: A pump manufactured by D and used by the company in which P worked caught fire. The fire was extinguished. P followed another employee to block a nitrogen purge valve. Instead of taking the safer route, the employee took a dangerous route where they had to go over many pipes. P tripped over one of the pipes and was injured. P brought suit alleging negligence, gross negligence, and strict liability.

Procedure: The trial court granted summary judgment and Court of Appeal reversed.

Issue: Was there any causative link between the defective pump and P’s injuries as a matter of law?

Holding: No

Rationale: Negligence requires a showing of proximate cause and producing cause is the test in strict liability. Proximate cause includes both actual cause and foreseeability. Producing cause is an efficient, exciting, or contributing cause, which in a natural sequence, produced injuries or damages complained of. Both proximate cause and producing cause require D’s product to be a substantial factor in bringing about P’s injuries. In the current case, no such substantial factor is found. According to the court, “Even if the pump fire were in some sense a philosophic or but for cause of P’s injuries, the forces generated by the fire had come to rest when P fell off the pipe rack." Therefore, the circumstances surrounding P’s injuries are too remotely connected with D’s conduct or pump to constitute a legal cause for her injuries. Reversed.

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