Pecuniary Interests

The court of appeals has affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of the owner of Las Colinas Country Club, in a case arising out of the death of a man who was diving for golf balls in the water hazard at the 18th green. The worker’s widow claimed that the country club was liable under the theory that it was engaged in a joint enterprise with the company it had contracted to recover lost golf balls, which had also employed the decedent. The country club obtained summary judgment on the basis that there was no evidence of a “community of pecuniary interest,” as required by the joint enterprise doctrine. The court of appeals agreed, holding that it was insufficient for the plaintiff to show that the country club paid the ball retrieval company 12 cents for each ball recovered. Joint enterprise theory does not rest on the fact that the defendants each had a common business interest in the enterprise. ¬†Instead, it requires a common interest that is “shared without special or distinguishing characteristics” in the relevant common purpose. Although each party to the ball retrieval contract benefited from it, that fact alone was not capable of establishing that the defendants had a community of pecuniary interest.

Logan v. Irving Club Acquisition Corp., No. 05-11-01314-CV