Moore v. El Paso Chamber of Commerce

220 S.W.2d 327 (Tex. Civ. App. 1949)



Contributory negligence is never a defense to an intentional wrong.


As part of a livestock show and exposition, the chamber sponsored a rodeo and encouraged the residents to dress in western wear. Those residents that were not dressed in western fashion were roped and placed into a corral where they received a light shock from a chair wired with hot wires. As the pedestrian and her mother were walking along the street, three young ropers approached them. The pedestrian fled. As she tried to escape from her pursuer, she pushed her hand through a glass panel of a door and was injured. The pedestrian had commenced a lawsuit seeking to recover damages for a personal injury. The jury found that even though her pursuer was negligent, the pedestrian was contributorily negligent. On appeal, the court held that it was error for the trial court to consider contributory negligence as a defense. 


Was contributory negligence a defense?




The court reversed the trial court's judgment and entered judgment in favor of the pedestrian. The court found that the pursuer's conduct was intentional. Thus, contributory negligence was not a defense. The court also held that, contrary to the jury's finding, the chamber was liable for the pursuer's acts. Even though the pursuer's services were voluntary, they were done for and in the interest of the chamber in furtherance of its project. Moreover, the corrals were set up and maintained by the chamber.


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