You and the Law: Oops! Analysis of a Slip and Fall Hazard


  • Drake E. Belt
  • Sarah J. Young


City of Corpus Christi v. Ferguson
2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 1299

In December 2009, Janette Ferguson traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas, to participate in the Harbor Lights Festival boat parade. The day prior to the festival, Ferguson spent the night on her family’s sailboat that was kept in a slip on the city marina’s C pier. Upon waking the following morning, Ferguson walked to the marina’s bathroom facility to take a shower and was returning to her family’s sailboat when she slipped and fell on a sheet of ice after passing through the pier gates. Apparently, marina employees had drained the water from a hose overnight to prevent the water line from freezing, and employees claimed that signs were placed around the facility warning marina users of this circumstance. Ron Hebert, who leased a slip on the same pier, observed the spigot on the morning of Ferguson’s accident with water trickling out of it and alerted marina employees that ice had formed at the gate. The City disputed Hebert’s claim in that he had failed to check in with the marina office upon arrival that evening; therefore, he could not have alerted the employees of the hazard.

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