law-res-ipsa-loquitur | negligence per se based on violation of statute |

What is Res Ipsa Loquitur?

Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of evidence whereby negligence of the alleged wrongdoer
may be inferred from the mere fact that the accident happened, provided (1) the
character of the accident and the circumstances attending it lead reasonably to the
belief that, in the absence of negligence, it would not have occurred, and (2) the thing
which caused the injury is shown to have been under the management and control of
the alleged wrongdoer. Haddock v. Arnspiger, 793 S.W.2d 948, 950 (Tex. 1990);
Honea v. Coca Cola Bottling Co., 183 S.W.2d 968, 969 (Tex. 1944). In Mobil Chemical
Co. v. Bell, 517 S.W.2d 245, 255 (Tex. 1974), the supreme court stated that in a “res
ipsa” case, where several negligent acts may be inferable from the circumstances of
the accident, a single broad issue inquiring generally about negligence would be
proper. See also Burk Royalty Co. v. Walls, 616 S.W.2d 911, 924 (Tex. 1981)
(supreme court restated what it said in Bell concerning res ipsa loquitur). 01-01-00815-
CV

RES IPSA LOQUITUR CASE LAW FROM HOUSTON COURTS OF APPEALS

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur permits a trier of fact to base an inference of negligence on
circumstantial evidence of negligence.  See Lampasas v. Spring Ctr., Inc., 988 S.W.2d 428, 435
(Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, no pet.).  However, the doctrine does not permit an inference
that the defendant had actual and constructive knowledge of a condition on the premises.  See
Parks v. Steak & Ale of Tex., Inc., No. 01-04-00080, 2006 WL 66428, at *2–3 (Tex. App.—Houston
[1st Dist.] Jan. 12, 2006, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (recognizing that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur
does not satisfy plaintiff’s burden to supply evidence of defendant’s knowledge of dangerous
condition in premises-liability case); Aaron v. Magic Johnson Theatres, No. 01-04-00426-CV, 2005
WL 2470116, at *5 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 6, 2005, no pet.) (mem. op.).  
Silas v. St. Lukes' Episcopal Properties Corp. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 28, 2010)(Seymore)
(summary judgment against res ipsa loquitur premises liability claim affirmed, no proof that defendant knew of
dangerous defect on premises)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Seymore      
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Seymore and Sullivan    
14-08-00353-CV  Kimberly Silas v. St. Luke's Episcopal Properties Corporation and The Women's Specialist
of Houston, PLLC    
Appeal from 234th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Reese Rondon    
Because Silas presented no evidence supporting the claim that Defendants had knowledge of a defective
condition on their premises, Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  

Losier v. Ravi, M.D. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist] Sep. 10, 2009)(Brown)
(res ipsa loquitur, complaint of improper conduct of juror overruled, communication with party's agent outside
the courtroom)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Brown   
Before Justices Seymore, Brown and Sullivan  
14-08-00399-CV  Orville Losier and Wife Joelle Losier v. Shivarajpur K. Ravi, M.D., and Ambika Medical
Group, P.A.   
Appeal from 129th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Samuel Grant Dorfman


Carlson v. Remington Hotel Corp. (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] May 22, 2008)(Nuchia)
(premises liability, res ipsa loquitur)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Nuchia  
Before Justices Nuchia, Hanks and Higley
01-07-00376-CV Lori Carlson and Shannon Carlson v. Remington Hotel Corporation d/b/a Hilton Houston
NASA Clear Lake; New Clear Lake Hotel d/b/a Nassau Bay Hilton; and New Clear Lake Group, GP, LLC
Appeal from 55th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jeffrey Brown  


Walters v. Cleveland Regional Med. Ctr. (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 20, 2007)(Hanks)
(HCLC,medical malpractice, limitations defense, discovery of injury, sponge left in body, res ipsa loquitur)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks
Before Justices Taft, Hanks and Higley
01-06-01068-CV Tangie Walters v. Cleveland Regional Medical Center, et al
Appeal from 125th District Court of Harris County (Judge John Coselli)


Mathis v. Restoration Builders, Inc. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] May 22, 2007)(Fowler)(negligence
premises liability, negligence, res ipsa loquitur, causation, NE-MSJ]
REVERSED AND REMANDED: Opinion by Justice Fowler
Before Justices Fowler, Edelman and Frost
14-05-00996-CV George Mathis, Jr. v. Restoration Builders, Inc
Appeal from 215th District Court of Harris County (Judge Levi James Benton)
Justice Edelman dissented in Mathis v. Restoration Builders, Inc.



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