Monday, June 26, 2006

The Texas Supreme Court issued one new opinion last week. In the case of The State of Texas & the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dep't v. Shumake, Justice Medina wrote this majority opinion that discusses the effect of the recreational use statute on a premises liability claim against the state. The Court held that "[w]hile the recreational use statute raises the burden of proof by classifying the recreational user of state-owned property as a trespasser and requiring proof of gross negligence, malicious intent, or bad faith, it does not reinstate sovereign immunity but rather immunizes the state only to the extent of the elevated standard."

Justice Wainwright wrote this concurring opinion and Justice Brister wrote this dissenting opinion that includes this interesting paragraph: "Nature is not safe. In many instances, that is its beauty. We can make a river safer by removing every rock and posting warning signs every 50 feet, but it is no longer a river — it is a waterpark. We can make a bridge safer by creating higher and longer spans, but only at some cost in both dollars and scenic beauty."