First Texas Bank v. Carpenter (Opinion)Annotate this Case
While investigating a leak in First Texas Bank’s roof, Chris Carpenter fell, crushing two vertebrae. Carpenter sued the Bank, alleging that its ladder was defective. In response, the Bank argued that it could not be liable for Carpenter’s injuries pursuant to Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code because it did not control Carpenter’s work or know of any defect in its ladder. Chapter 95 limits a property owner’s liability to a contractor who “constructs, repairs, renovates, or modifies an improvement to real property.” The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Carpenter was not a “contractor” under the statute because a contractor must have an “actual” contract to perform specific work for stated compensation. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding (1) in the context of Chapter 95, a contractor is simply someone who works on improvement to real property; but (2) the record in this case did not establish that the Bank had retained Carpenter to perform work covered by the statute at the time he was injured.