Hillis v. McCall (Opinion)Annotate this Case
In this premises-liability case arising out of a brown recluse spider bite the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals ruling that the property owner failed conclusively to establish the absence of a duty and thus reversing the trial court's summary judgment in his favor, holding that the landowner owed no duty to his bitten invitee.
Defendant leased a cabin to Plaintiff on property in Fredericksburg, Texas. Plaintiff accessed a neighboring home, also owned by Defendant, at Defendant's request and, while there, was bitten by a brown recluse spider. Plaintiff sued for negligence under a premises-liability theory. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that under the doctrine of ferae naturae, he owed no duty to Plaintiff with respect to indigenous wild animals that Defendant had neither introduced to nor harbored on the property. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant owed Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law under the circumstances of this case.