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Morton v. Burton-Lingo Co. - 136 Tex. 263, 150 S.W.2d 239 (1941)

Rule:

Where there is no agreement by the landlord to repair the demised premises and he is not guilty of any fraud or concealment by failing to disclose hidden defects of which he has knowledge, the tenant takes the risk of their safety and the landlord is not liable to him or to any person entering under his title or by his invitation for injury caused by reason of their unsafe condition.

Facts:

Mrs. B. Morton’s husband, E. H. Morton, died from an injury received by him when a porch or gallery leading to the entrance of their apartment gave way. Mrs. B. Morton and others alleged that the husband's accident was the result of a defect or rotten condition of the lumber in the porch structure. There was no evidence of any reservation of any part of the upper story of the building to which the stairway and porch were necessary and under the evidence the stairway and porch were not reserved by the landlord, Burton-Lingo Lumber Company, for the use of several different tenants in going in and out of the apartment. The trial court entered judgment in favor Mrs. B. Morton at al. in their damages action. The appellate court reversed.

Issue:

Can Mrs. B. Morton recover damages from Burton-Lingo Lumber Company for the death of her husband?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The Court held that Mrs. B. Morton stated a good cause of action as against a general demurrer. The Court held that there was no reversible error resulting from Mrs. B. Morton’s counsel's statement that it appeared from photographs that Burton-Lingo Lumber Company had painted over the old rotten timber because it might look pretty to somebody who had not known they had covered it up with a little paint. The evidence presented by Mrs. B. Morton did not support a cause of action against Burton-Lingo Lumber Company. The record as presented showed no knowledge on the part of lessors of any hidden defect.

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