Dallas, Garland, & Northeastern Railroad v. Hunt County – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Dallas, Garland, & Northeastern Railroad v. Hunt County, 195 S.W.3d 818 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2006, no pet.), a Hunt County road maintenance crew used a motor vehicle to repair a county road and in the process negligently left road-base material on the plaintiff's railroad tracks. Id. at 819.

This road-base material later caused a train to derail, resulting in damage to both the train and the tracks. Id. at 823.

The Court denied relief to the railroad on the grounds that by applying the road-base material to the tracks, the motor vehicle did no more than furnish the dangerous condition that allowed the train to derail and the derailment was the actual cause of the injuries to the train and the tracks. Id.

However, the court specifically noted that if, while applying the road-base material, the motor vehicle had itself caused damage to the tracks, there would have been a waiver of sovereign immunity under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 101.021 for those damages. Id.