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Under the terms of Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-19, § 14, the provisions of the Texas Tort Claims Act do not apply to: (12) Any claim arising from the absence, condition, or malfunction of any traffic or road sign, signal, or warning device unless such absence, condition, or malfunction shall not be corrected by the governmental unit responsible within a reasonable time after notice.
Plaintiffs, Mary Louise Maxwell, and her husband, filed suit against defendants, Mrs. J.T. Sparkman and the City of Wichita Falls, after a collision caused by Sparkman’s left-hand turn at an intersection controlled by a traffic light with a red arrow signal. Intervenor insurance carrier asserted a subrogation claim for damage to plaintiffs' automobile. In response to the special issues submitted, the jury found that Sparkman’s entering the intersection while a red arrow was facing her was the proximate cause of the collision but refused to find that such conduct was negligence, or that Sparkman was negligent in any other respect. The jury further found that the collision was proximately caused by the negligence of the Traffic Engineer in installing the red arrow and in failing to warn the public of its installation, and by the negligence of the Traffic Engineer and the City in permitting the installation to remain. The trial court rendered judgment in Maxwell’s favor against Sparkman and the City jointly, and in favor of the intervenor against Sparkman, for the amount of damages found by the jury and supported by the evidence. Sparkman and the City appealed to the Court of Civil Appeals, which affirmed judgment against Sparkman but reversed the judgment against the City and rendered judgment that plaintiffs and Sparkman take nothing against the City. Sparkman appealed.
The court reversed the damage award to plaintiffs holding that it was error to hold defendant driver negligent as a matter of law because it was the jury's role to determine whether defendant driver's conduct was reasonable under the circumstances and the jury found for defendant driver. The award of damages to the intervenor was reversed because the Texas Tort Claims Act, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-19, did not provide for liability for property damage caused in the performance of a governmental function. The court found defendant city liable to plaintiffs under Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-19, § 14, because the city had prior notice of the problem with the traffic signal.