Gross Negligence for Purposes of Recreational Use Statute Addressed.

A father and two daughters drowned at a beach near a city dike.  The surviving wife/mother sued the defendant city on a gross negligence theory for failure to post more warning signs that were posted or close the beach.  The trial court dismissed the case and the state (TX) Supreme Court affirmed.  There was no evidence that the defendant was aware that perils at the beach exceeded what a reasonable recreational user of the beach could expect - there was no extreme degree of risk.  In addition, the mere fact that existing warning signs had been destroyed in a hurricane and had not yet been replaced (2 years later when the beach reopened and the drownings occurred) did not mean that the city had any actual knowledge of any risks beyond inherent risks of open-water swimming.  In addition, the plaintiff failed to offer any evidence of the extent or nature of any previous drownings during the dike's 100-year existence.  As a result the TX recreational use statute barred liability for the defendant.  Suarez v. City of Texas City, 465 S.W.3d 623 (Tex. 2015).     

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