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Texas Supreme Court Rules That Contractor Can't File Negligence Suit Against GE


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11/17/2008
Brent Adams
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On June 13, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that General Electric Company bears no liability for the personal injuries a contractor sustained when he fell from a loading ramp at a GE warehouse after his bungee cord broke.

Five of nine justices agreed that Arthur Moritz could not claim negligence against GE for failure to install a hand rail on the ramp.

Justice Scott Brister said that GE had no responsibility to keep Moritz safe, “no matter how he chose to do his own work.”

Three justices dissented, saying that GE’s duty to warn Moritz of on-premises defects was not relieved because of his contractor status.

Moritz worked for a company which delivered parts manufactured by GE to customers. Each day he would drive a pickup truck to a loading dock at a Tarrant County, Texas GE warehouse. He would either back the truck up a ramp through a door and into the warehouse or park at ground level below a door which had no ramp.

One day he parked on the ramp because of supplies blocking both doors. He was aided by two GE employees in filling the bed of the truck with electrical conduits.


He secured the load with ratchet straps and as he was beginning to tighten it with a bungee cord, the cord broke and caused him to fall from the side of the ramp and fracture his pelvis, hip, and thumb.

 



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