Sitting for the court: Justice Paul W. Green, Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Justice Phil Johnson, Justice David Medina, Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice Don R. Willett, Justice Eva Guzman, Justice Debra Lehrmann
Nicholas Traxler v. Entergy Gulf States Inc.
from Orange County and the Ninth District Court of Appeals, Beaumont
For petitioner: Jane S. Leger, Beaumont
For respondent: Jacqueline M. Stroh, San Antonio
The issues in this case involving an electrocution are (1) whether “transmission line” defined by the Texas Utility Code (and requiring a certain height above a roadway) applies to the power line above the road in this case and (2) whether a utility has a duty to agree on safety precautions for lines across a roadway. In this case Traxler sued Entergy, a power-distribution company, for negligence and negligence per se after a distribution line strung across a roadway burned him. Traxler, an employee of a house-moving company, was riding atop a house to assure obstacles were cleared as the house proceeded along a road. He alleges the power line he contacted was two feet lower than the Utility Code requires for a transmission line. He also contends Entergy failed to agree with the moving company about safety procedures as he argues the state Health and Safety Code requires. A jury awarded Traxler more than $1 million. The court of appeals reversed, holding in part that the power line that burned Traxler was not a transmission line covered by the Utility Code’s height requirement. The appeals court also held that state law did not impose a duty on Entergy to assure safety procedures.
This advisory serves only as an abbreviated guide to oral argument. Summaries are prepared by the Court's staff attorney for public information and reflect his judgment alone on facts and legal issues and in no way represent the Court's opinion about case merits.
Texas Supreme Court advisory
Contact: Osler McCarthy,
Staff Attorney for Public Information
(512) 463.1441 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org