Texas Amusement Ride Operators Standard of Care Cases

In Texas, amusement ride operators are held to a standard of ordinary care. See, e.g., Scroggins v. Harlingen, 131 Tex. 237, 112 S.W.2d 1035, 1038 (Tex. 1938), op. on reh'g, 131 Tex. 237, 249 (addressing new questions, but affirming original opinion as to all issues addressed in original opinion); Vance v. Obadal, 256 S.W.2d 139, 140 (Tex. Civ. App.-El Paso 1953, writ ref'd). In short, amusement ride operators are not common carriers. In Markham v. Houston Direct Navigation Co. 73 Tex. 247, 11 S.W. 131, 133 (Tex. 1889) the Court held amusement ride operators to a higher standard of care.. In that case the plaintiff, a passenger in an excursion tug boat, suffered injuries when the boat collided with a rope that defendant had stretched over the water. Id. at 131. In remanding the case for trial against the defendant under an ordinary negligence standard, the Court observed in passing that the tug boat owner owed a "higher degree of care to its passenger than did the defendant." Id. at 133. The Court never stated, however, what that higher standard was, and this ambiguous reference formed no part of the Court's holding nor a necessary part of its reasoning.