United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE PEREZ-MONTES
DRELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is the motion of defendant Fred's Stores of
Tennessee ("Fred's"), for summary judgment.
(Doc. 23). All responsive pleadings have since been filed
(Docs. 25, 26), and the matter is ready for disposition. For
the following reasons, Fred's Motion for Summary Judgment
will be GRANTED.
Background and Procedural History
Fred's removed this suit pursuant to diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1332. (Doc. 1, p. 1). Adam
and Joyce Deville ("Plaintiffs") filed the original
action on February 13, 2015 in the 12th Judicial
District Court (Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana), which was
subsequently removed by Fred's alleging complete
diversity between the parties as Fred's is incorporated
in Tennessee and Plaintiffs are domiciled in Louisiana. (Doc.
1, p. 2). Fred's also urged that Plaintiffs claim damages
in excess of $75, 000, fulfilling the monetary requirement
for diversity jurisdiction.
suit arises out of an accident that occurred in a Fred's
Store located in Bunkie, Louisiana. (Doc. 1-2, p. 1). The
undisputed facts are few. On May 15, 2015, Mr. Deville was
walking in the Fred's store when he slipped and fell on
something wet on the floor. Id. After he fell, a
bottle of Pine Sol with a missing lid was found on a nearby
shelf. (Doc. 23-1, p. 1). Mr. Deville claims he suffered
personal injuries as a result of Fred's negligence or
fault under Louisiana's Merchant Liability statute, La.
R.S. 9:2800.6. (Doc. 1-2, p.l). Additionally, Mrs. Deville
makes a loss of consortium claim under L.S.A. Civil Code
2315. (Doc. 1-2, p. 2).
filed this motion for summary judgement claiming Plaintiffs
cannot carry their burden of establishing that Fred's
created or had actual or constructive notice of the spill at
the time of the accident. (Doc. 23). Plaintiffs have opposed
Fred's motion for summary judgement (Doc. 25) and
Fred's timely replied (Doc. 26), completing the record
with all necessary briefs.
carefully considered the motion, supporting documents, and
briefs, we find the following:
Law and Analysis
Summary Judgment Standard
court "shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). If the non-movant bears the burden of
proof at trial, the movant need not disprove every element of
the non-movant's case; rather, the movant can satisfy his
burden by pointing to the absence of evidence to support the
non-movant's case. Little v. Liquid Air Corp..
37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Further, we consider
"all evidence in the light most favorable to the party
resisting the motion." Seacor Holdings, Inc. v.
Commonwealth Ins. Co., 635 F.3d 675, 680 (5th Cir. 2011)
(internal quotations omitted). In this analysis, we review
facts and draw all inferences most favorable to the
nonmovant; "[h]owever, mere conclusory allegations are
not competent summary judgment evidence, and such allegations
are insufficient, therefore, to defeat a motion for summary
judgment." Eason v. Thaler. 73 F.3d 1322, 1325
(5th Cir. 1996). It is important to note that the standard
for a summary judgment is two-fold: (1) there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact, and (2) the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Applying Louisiana's Merchant Liability Statute
Louisiana's merchant liability "slip and fall"
statute governs Plaintiffs claims. The Plaintiffs' burden
of proof is set forth in the Louisiana Merchant Liability