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Knox v. Eagle Water Management, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

February 15, 2018

KYE AND DENISE KNOX AND RAYMOND AND JACQUELINE MUCKLEROY, Appellants
v.
EAGLE WATER MANAGEMENT, INC., Appellee

         On Appeal from the 270th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2016-17286

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Higley and Bland.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Jane Bland, Justice

         After wastewater pumps in their neighborhood failed during a heavy rainfall, four homeowners sued the pumping facility operator, alleging that the operator's negligence caused wastewater to flood their homes. The trial court granted summary judgment. The homeowners appeal, contending that they adduced evidence that raises a fact issue as to each element of their negligence claim. Because no evidence raises facts to support a finding that the operator's negligence caused the homes to flood, we affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         Harris County Water Control and Improvement District 114 is a conservation and reclamation district. It is a political subdivision of the State, created under Article 16, Section 59 of the Texas Constitution, and it operates under Chapter 54 of the Texas Water Code.

         The District owns a water production and distribution system and a waste water collection and treatment system. The District hired Eagle Water Management, Inc. to operate and maintain its equipment and facilities. Under its contract with the District, Eagle Water assumed numerous duties, including the following services:

1) Dispensing any and all chemicals necessary for the proper disinfection of supplied potable water, utilizing such chemicals and dispensing or vending equipment as may be owned, purchased, or provided by the District;
2) Lubricating pumps, motors, and related equipment, and the normal packing of pumps, using lubricants and packing materials purchased or provided at the District's expense;
3) Adjusting valves as required to maintain proper system operation (cost for required location of and repair or construction of valves to be borne by the District);
4) Inspecting belts and couplings to insure safe and proper equipment operation and replace as required at District expense;
5) Changing the flow recorder charges and replacing burned out light bulbs as required or needed (cost of materials to be borne by District);
6) Inspecting water ground storage tanks and elevated storage tanks for proper levels and for proper operation at each operating visit;
7) Collecting and submitting or cause to be collected and submitted for testing and analysis those water samples required by statute, regulatory agencies, or proper facility ...

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