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Hironymous v. Allison – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Hironymous v. Allison, 893 S.W.2d 578 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 1994, writ denied), owners of personal property sued the manager of a storage warehouse for wrongful sale of their property, including appliances, dishes, and furniture. Id. at 580.

In addressing the serious harm element, the court stated that, while "one might interpret the complete loss of any property to be the most serious harm possible," the items lost were replaceable, and the property loss could not be considered serious harm. Id. at 584.

Rejecting the owners' contention that the lost property included precious memorabilia, the court reiterated that "to support a finding of gross negligence . . . the appellants must have subjectively understood the existence of the risk of losing difficult-to-replace material goods and irreplaceable memorabilia." Id.

Because there was no evidence that the warehouse owners "had any idea of the enormity of the property owners' potential loss," and were not told of the special contents of the warehouse, they could not be found grossly negligent. Id.