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Neglect constitutes the act of acting unreasonably against others in a manner that a rational individual would not to and causing physical injuries, property damage or death (Leiter, 2014). However, mental anguish can be considered under the negligent conduct. Caution is an element of neglect since it defines the actual or proximity to the cause. It is evident that the loss of personal property is closely related to the resulting mental anguish that is based on the negligence of property damage. The cases that are examined in this study experienced significant difficulties in proving the liability of the defendant to property damage as a result of their operation.
Shade v. City of Dallas
The issue involves the lack of a sewage backup system linked to a home. Shade was observed to build his home in Dallas, Texas. The home was built after the presence of the primary sewer line. Therefore, Shade integrated his drainage system to the City’s principal sewer line for service. However, Shade was observed to experience a sewage back up that occurred on three separate incidents in 1975, the early 1980s and 1988, which formed the subject for the suit. Shade’s wife revealed that the sewer back up had resulted in floods in the house. Raw sewage was present in the bathrooms and different places in the house.
Shade noted that he experienced a significant increase in the mold growth in the house and odor. It is important to note that Shade also closed his business as a result of the issues that were present in the house. Shade tried to repair the damage resulting in further mental anguish and frustration since he had to live with the situation. Shade sued the City for negligence resulting in property damage.
The case referred to the rules that were set by the appellate court that reviewed the case in the Supreme Court filled by Nixon v. Mr. Property Management Co. The case noted that the movant for judgement possessed the burden of illustrating the presence of a genuine issue possessing material fact and the entitlement to judgement as a matter of law. In addition, it must have been possible to decide on the presence of a disputed material fact that had evidence, which favored the non-movant. Each reasonable inference should have been indulged to favor the non-movant, including the elimination of all doubts.
In reference to Shade’s second theory on recovery for negligence, Shade alleged that the City was responsible and had the government function of facilitating the operation, construction and maintenance of the sewer system. The City possessed immunity for the negligent acts to the level that the Tort Claims Act waived. The Texas Tort Claims Act offered for the compensation for personal injury damages that resulted from the negligence of a government unit. Despite recovery of the mental anguish damages, Shade would not be able to recover for the property damages that were present in the negligence claim.
The summary of the judgement noted that there lacked evidence that a City employee was responsible for the floods that resulted from the sewer line. The City failed to prove that as an issue of law, the sewer backup did not result from the negligence of the City. There emerged a primary question on the involvement of the City in the operation and maintenance of the sewer system. The court dismissed the Callaway’s point of error noting that there was nothing that was innately dangerous resulting from the negligence of the use and maintenance of the sewer system.
City of Tyler v. Likes
The plaintiff had suffered house damages after flooding water engulfed her house floor. The owner of the house sued the City of Tyler for neglect having failed to construct and maintain the environment, particularly the culverts in her neighborhood. The argument was that the channels were responsible for diverting the flood water. The plaintiff suffered no physical injuries in connection with the flooding. Like in the first example, the plaintiff was seeking to recover damages for mental anguish and property damage resulting from negligence
The two cases were held in Texas, and hence the court referred to the Boyles v. Kerr case ruling because Texas does not have legal recognition of the statutory duty to evade neglect inflicting mental anguish. In reference to the Texas Tort Claims Act, a government unit that was present in the state was liable for facilitating property damage, death and personal injury that resulted from the omission or negligence of employees acting within the given scope of employment. In addition, any property damage resulting from the operation and use of a motor-driven equipment or vehicle should be compensated and the employees would be liable by law.
The record failed to disclose that the damages arose from the use and operation of a motor driven vehicle and motor driven equipment. Few individuals are observed to sustain body injuries, consequently, there should be consideration of the property that is damaged to ensure that the victims are able to get back the full value of the lost property. The loss of property should be quantified based on the market and sentimental value to ensure that there is proper consideration of the feelings and emotions of the owner. The property measure that was recorded by Like’s damagers was in reference to the claims that the City possessed sovereign immunity to separate themselves from the suit that sought to recover property damages based on the market value and the loss in market value that resulted from the defendant’s negligence.
The ruling noted that such neglect could be a subject of damage recovery given that the defendant violated any duties they may have to the plaintiff depending on nature whereby the breach can be taken as proof. The plaintiff had no physical injuries and was unable to prove that the city had acted intentionally with intent to cause malice. Thus, it was noted that the summary of the judgement proof failed in establishing that Likes suffered compensable property damage.
The case involved the duty of the city to take care of the environment in the neighborhoods. The existence of the culverts shows that the city had already met its mandates. The plaintiff was unable to prove that the city infrastructure had been constructed with the intention of directing flood waters into her house. The nature of the incident suggests that the city was not responsible. Though the property was damaged and she underwent mental anguish, the responsibility cannot be pinned on the city, and thus the city did not pay damages.
- Leiter, B. (2014). Legal Realism and Legal Doctrine. U. Pa. L. Rev., 163, 1975.
- Likes v. City of Tyler | 910 S.W.2d 525 (1995) | w2d52511395 | Leagle.com. (2017).
- Shade v. City of Dallas, 819 S.W.2d 578 – CourtListener.com. (2017). CourtListener.