Alamo National Bank v. Kraus

In Alamo National Bank v. Kraus, 616 S.W.2d 908 (Tex. 1981), a passing motorist was killed when the unsupported wall of a three-story building that was in the process of being demolished collapsed onto an adjacent public street. 616 S.W.2d at 909. Based on evidence that the building owner did nothing to protect the passing pedestrians and motorists during the months-long demolition project and that it had been warned the day of the accident that the wall in question was leaning and posed a dangerous condition, the jury found the building owner negligent and grossly negligent. Id. at 909-10. In upholding the award of exemplary damages, the supreme court acknowledged that the "owner or occupant of premises abutting a highway has a duty to exercise reasonable care not to jeopardize or endanger the safety of persons using the highway as a means of passage or travel." Id. at 910.