In torts we often discussed plaintiff conduct questions such as assumption of the risk or comparative negligence. A case out of Texas shows how dominant such defenses can be in potential tort actions — negating any potential liability. Tommie Woodward, 28, suffered severe trauma after he reportedly ignored signs, staff warnings, and jumped into a Texas bayou after he taunted an alligator. You can guess the rest of the story.
The marina put up signs saying that an alligator was seen in the area. Nevertheless, Woodward ignored the warnings of the employees at Burkhart’s Marina in Orange and went swimming around 2:30am. He immediately called for help and an unidentified woman entered the water to try to rescue him but returned.
Orange County Justice of the Peace Rodney Price reported that “He said blank the alligators and thereupon jumped into the water.”
Woodward was the first person killed by an alligator in Texas since 1836.