Elements of Gross Negligence In Texas

In Transportation Insurance Company v. Moriel, 879 S.W.2d 10, 23 (Tex. 1994), the court explained that gross negligence involves two components: (1) viewed objectively from the actor's standpoint, the act or omission complained of must involve an extreme danger of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; a (2) the actor must have actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeds in conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others. See Moriel, 879 S.W.2d 10, 23 (Tex. 1994); Scott Fetzer Co. v. Read, 945 S.W.2d 854, 870 (Tex. App.--Austin 1997), aff'd, 990 S.W.2d 732, 737 (Tex. 1999) (adopting punitive damages analysis of court of appeals). The objective component of gross negligence is a function of both the magnitude and the probability of the potential injury. See Scott Fetzer, 945 S.W.2d at 870. It is not satisfied if the defendant's conduct creates only a remote possibility of serious injury. See id. (discussing Universal Servs. Co., Inc. v. Ung, 904 S.W.2d 638, 641 (Tex. 1995)). To establish the subjective component, the plaintiff must show that the defendant knew about the peril, but his acts or omissions demonstrate that he did not care. See Louisiana-Pacific Corp. v. Andrade, 19 S.W.3d 245, 1999 (1999); Williams v. Steves Indus., Inc., 699 S.W.2d 570, 573 (Tex. 1985).