Update: teen who rode oil pump loses case

Reversing a state appeals court, the Louisiana Supreme Court has reinstated summary judgment in favor of a defendant manufacturer in the case of a 13-year-old injured while playing unsupervised with an oil pump, “finding that riding an oil-well pump like it was an amusement park ride was not a reasonably anticipated use of the pumping unit at the time of its manufacture in the 1950’s.” [Wajert; Payne v. Gardner, PDF; earlier]


  • This certainly seems to be the correct decision, but I wonder why suit was not brought against the operator of the pump rather than the manufacturer? An oil company would seem likely have, if anything, deeper pockets than a pump manufacturer, and, without knowing the specifics of this case, it seems plausible that an oil pump might be considered an attractive nuisance.

  • I would think that suing an oil company in Louisiana is a losing deal, considering the amount of *ahem* political patronage.


  • These pumps are all over the place down here and there is no way to make them safe. I used to work them in the 60’s and at that time we thought they were about a dangerous as it got. We would deligate one person to approach to well to see if any of the 440 voltage was leaking from the line, then we began to clear out the thousands of wasp that chose to inhabit the structure. There was usually at least one rattlesnake somewhere around the area. But I can’t believe a lawyer was stupid enough to put this case up in Louisiana. I hope he has good life insurance!!

  • “was not a reasonably anticipated use of the pumping unit at the time of its manufacture in the 1950’s”

    So the judge is of the opinion that were the pump manufactured today the manufacturer would be liable because these days it IS considered “reasonably anticipated use of the pumping unit” to use it as a themepark ride?

  • J.T.,
    Sure. I’d a done it. Sounds like a hoot.
    (My roots are showing.)

  • Hmmm.. now that one jackass has tried it, are all of the current owners/operators/manufacturers of said equipment on notice that these pumps might be used in this way by another jackass? And are they therefore obliged to put some sort of fence around them or otherwise deter such behavior, or even detect it and shut down the pump if it happens?