United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
November 19, 2014
VERA JANE LANDRY and PERCY JAMES LANDRY
GOLDEN CORRAL CORPORATION.
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JAMES J. BRADY, District Judge.
The matter before this Court arises from an incident that occurred at a Golden Corral restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 11, 2012. Vera Landry, Plaintiff in this matter, alleges that she fell in the restaurant as a result of water on the floor (Doc. 1, Exhibit 1.). Mrs. Landry also alleges that she sustained injuries to her ankle which required two surgeries (Doc. 1, Exhibit 1). Mrs. Landry filed a complaint based on the claim that Golden Corral Corporation (Golden Corral) was liable under Louisiana's Merchant Liability Statute, La. R.S. 9:2800.6. Golden Corral filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 44) on in August of 2014, which is now before this Court. Golden Corral has also filed multiple Motions in Limine to exclude various types of evidence.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 dictates that a Motion for Summary Judgment shall be granted if "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact." The party seeking summary judgment carries the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The moving party must show that the evidence is insufficient to prove one or more essential elements to the non-moving party's claim. Id. at 330. The Court will view the facts in light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). However, the non-moving party is required to set forth specific facts showing a genuine issue of fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986). If no reasonable juror could find for the non-moving party after that party has been given the opportunity to raise facts showing a genuine issue of material fact, the motion for summary judgment will be granted. Id. at 251.
Mrs. Landry claims that Golden Corral is liable as a merchant under the Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute. La. R.S. 9:2800.6. For Golden Corral to be liable under this statute, Mrs. Landry must prove all of the following: (1) the condition of the restaurant presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the claimant and that risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable; (2) the merchant either created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage, prior to the occurrence; and (3) the merchant failed to exercise reasonable care.
After carefully considering this matter, the court finds that Mrs. Landry has failed to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. To sufficiently prove that Golden Corral had constructive notice of the spill, she has to show that the water remained on the floor for "such a period of time that it would have been discovered if the merchant had exercised reasonable care." La. R.S. 9:2800.6. Mrs. Landry has come forth with no evidence as to the temporal element of her claim. The statute "does not allow for the inference of constructive notice absent some showing of its temporal element." Allen v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 850 So.2d 895, 898 (La.App. 2 Cir. 6/25/03).
For the reasons more fully argued by Golden Corral in support of its Motion, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to point to any evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact for trial.
For the reasons stated therein, the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Defendant's Motions in Limine to Exclude Expert Testimony and Evidence of Other Accidents are also GRANTED.