William L. Lanius v. Steven Blane Fountain

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William L. Lanius v. Steven Blane Fountain

Court: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Rusk County, Texas

Cause No.: BM-2013-SC-0007

Trial Date: July 24, 2014

Summary: Plaintiff and Defendant owned adjoining property. Defendant went out one hot July day to mow his field and clear land with a brush hog. The tractor got stuck in some mud, so Defendant took a few hours off to eat, take a nap, and hang out. He returned later on his four-wheeler and saw a fire going near the fence line. He tried to put the fire out by using his coffee cup and scooping water out of his stock pond and tossing it on the fire. It didn’t work. I argued to the jury that the Plaintiff simply couldn’t prove negligence. Plaintiff’s theory was that either the tractor caught on fire or that the blade on the mower hit a rock that sparked and burned the pasture. I likened, in closing argument, the rock/blade scenario with a car on a highway running over a rock that kicks up and strikes your windshield, causing a crack. “Was the car in front of you negligent,” I asked. One juror actually answered me! “Nah, that’s not negligence; he couldn’t help it.”

Case Type: Personal Injury

Economic Damages: $3,375.00

Last Demand: $3,375.00

Evaluated Amount: $0.00

Verdict: No negligence.

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