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Semar v. Wal-Mart Louisiana LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

January 12, 2017

HEATHER SEMAR
v.
WAL-MART LOUISIANA LLC

          WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          REBECCA F. DOHERTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before this Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 14] filed by defendant Wal-Mart Louisiana LLC. The motion is opposed by the plaintiff, Heather Semar [Doc. 16], For the following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         The plaintiff filed this lawsuit after she was struck by a line of shopping carts in her right hip at the Crowley, Louisiana Wal-Mart store on May 3, 2014. The following facts appear to be undisputed:

• The plaintiff was struck in her right hip by a line of carts at the Crowley, Louisiana Wal-Mart store on May 3, 2014.[1]
• At her deposition, the plaintiff testified she seeks damages for a labral tear in her left hip.[2]
• The plaintiff testified at her deposition that she had experienced pain in her left hip prior to the Wal-Mart accident.[3]
• The plaintiff also testified that in September 2014, after the Wal-Mart accident and before she sought treatment for the pain in her left hip, she was walking on the beach when she began having snapping and popping in the left groin area.[4]
• The plaintiff was treated by two orthopedists - Dr. Michael Holland and Dr. Judson Penton - beginning in November 2015, When she presented to Dr. Holland on November 5, 2014, the plaintiff stated she "had been in pain for the last 3 years." The location of her pain was described as the "lateral aspect of the left hip."[5]
• Dr. Brett Cascio performed a left hip arthroscopy on the plaintiff on July 27, 2015, over one year after the Wal-Mart accident.[6]
• The plaintiff testified she was unsure whether she injured her left hip in the Wal-Mart accident, instead deferring to her doctors.[7]
• Dr. Cascio testified that, based upon the plaintiff s November 11, 2014 MRI Report, he could not say whether or not "all of the findings on the MRI" (i.e., labral tears - in the plaintiffs left hip) were more likely degenerative-type (chronic) findings as opposed to traumatic (acute) findings.[8]
• Dr. Cascio further testified that the type of findings found on the plaintiffs MRI can occur in the absence of trauma.[9]
• Finally, Dr. Cascio testified he could not give an opinion on whether or not the accident at Wal-Mart - which impacted plaintiffs right hip - caused the plaintiffs labral tear in her left hip.[10]
• The plaintiff filed suit in the Fifteenth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Acadia on April 21, 2015. In her petition, the plaintiff alleged a negligence claim against Wal-Mart, as well as a negligence claim against Wal-Mart employee John Doe for failure to warn of the danger and failure to supervise and instruct other employees.
• Wal-Mart removed the matter to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction on July 29, 2015.

         Wal-Mart filed the instant motion for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff cannot prove medical causation and is, therefore, entitled to summary dismissal of all of the plaintiffs claims, The plaintiff opposes the motion, which is now ripe for consideration.

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         "A party against whom a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted or declaratory judgment is sought may, at any time, move with or without supporting affidavits for summary judgment in the parties favor as to all or any part thereof." Fed. R. Civ, Pro, 56(b). Summary judgement is appropriate if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any ...


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