Supreme Court Rules Against Family of Man Killed

Recently, the Texas Supreme Court protected the City of Waco, and all landowners, from bearing responsibility for their negligence in failing to warn recreational users of known dangerous land formations. The case is entitled City of Waco v. Kirwan. It represents another decision by the court to deny a person harmed by the negligence of others from having an opportunity to present his case to a jury.

College student Brad McGehee was simply watching boat races in a municipal park from a cliff when it collapsed under him causing him to fall to his death. Beforehand, the city had received reports of the dangers of the formation, and others had been injured and killed. Nevertheless, the city did not block access to the area, but merely posted an allegedly inadequate sign. The court broadly held that landowners owe no duty to recreational users of naturally occurring conditions. Although there may be some exceptions that could occur in the future, here the city could not be required to bear responsibility for its negligence. This result follows trends of the court to insulate political subdivisions from being held liable for the effects of their negligence, and to deny victims the right to pursue their claims in court.