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Edwards v. The Kroger Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

May 25, 2017

CAROLYN EDWARDS
v.
THE KROGER CO.

          KATHLEEN KAY, MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          ROBERT G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant The Kroger Co. (“Kroger”), seeking dismissal of all claims by Plaintiff Carolyn Edwards (“Edwards”). [Doc. No. 12');">2]. Edwards filed a response in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 14], and Kroger filed a reply to the response, [Doc. No. 15].

         For the following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.

         I.FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case involves a trip and fall at a grocery store. On November 17, 2');">2014, Edwards and her son visited the Kroger store located at 600 12');">2th Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana. [Doc. No. 12');">2-4, para. 1; Doc. No. 12');">2-2');">2, p1');">p. 14-15]. Edwards entered the store through the east entryway, [Doc. No. 12');">2-2');">2, pp. 16-17], crossing the rug located just inside the entrance. [Doc. No. 12');">2-3, starting at timestamp 16:18:15 CST, Monday, November 17, 2');">2014]. Edwards and her son shopped for thirty to forty-five minutes. [Doc. No. 12');">2-2');">2, 1');">p. 17');">1');">p. 17]. When they finished their shopping, they began to exit the store using the same entryway as the one they used to enter. Id. at 1');">p. 16. Edwards' son was pushing the shopping cart, and Edwards was walking beside the cart. [Doc. No. 12');">2-3, starting at time stamp 16:39:14 CST, Monday, November 17, 2');">2014; Doc. No. 12');">2-2');">2, p1');">p. 17');">1');">p. 17-18]. As she was approaching the doorway, Edwards claims that her foot got stuck under the rug, and she fell. [Doc. No. 12');">2-2');">2, p1');">p. 17');">1');">p. 17-18]. Edwards stated that she did not look at the rug when she entered the store, nor as she was leaving. Id. at p1');">p. 16, 18-19. As a result of the fall, Edwards suffered injuries to her face, head, neck, shoulders, back, torso, and right knee. [Doc. No. 1-2');">2, 1');">p. 1].

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment should be granted 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). “A fact is material only when it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and a fact is genuinely in dispute only if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Fordoche, Inc. v. Texaco, Inc., 463 F.3d 388, 392');">2 (5th Cir. 2');">2006) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 2');">242');">2');">477 U.S. 2');">242');">2, 2');">248 (1986)). The moving party bears the initial burden of showing that there is an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 17');">477 U.S. 317, 32');">23 (1986). After such a showing, the burden shifts to the non-movant to show that there is a genuine factual issue for trial by citing specific evidence in the record, beyond the pleadings, that supports its assertions that a material fact is genuinely in dispute. Id.at 32');">24; see also Diaz v. Kaplan Higher Educ., L.L.C., 2');">20 F.3d 172');">2');">82');">20 F.3d 172');">2, 176 (5th Cir. 2');">2016) (citing Ragas v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455');">136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998)). “Conclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic argumentation do not adequately substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.” TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of Wash., 2');">276 F.3d 754');">2');">276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2');">2002');">2) (citing Sec. & Exch. Comm'n v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093');">10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1993)). The Court will construe all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, but will not presume the existence of evidence not presented. Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 1');">497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990).

         B. Choice of Law

         Edwards brings claims of negligence under Louisiana tort law. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction based on the diversity of citizenship of the parties and the amount in controversy. See [Doc. No. 1]. As this is a diversity action brought within the state of Louisiana, the Court must apply Louisiana's choice-of-law rules. See Cole v. Gen. Motors Corp., 17');">484 F.3d 717, 72');">24 (5th Cir. 2');">2007) (citing Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg. Co., 13 U.S. 487');">313 U.S. 487, 496 (1941)). The Louisiana Civil Code provides a specific choice-of-law selection rule for “[i]ssues pertaining to standards of conduct and safety.” La. Civ. Code art. 3543. Those issues “are governed by the law of the state in which the conduct that caused the injury occurred.” Id. Furthermore, if “both the conduct and the injury occur [in the same state, that state] has the best, if not the exclusive, claim for applying its law.” Id. cmt d. Because both the injury and the alleged conduct occurred in Louisiana, the Court applies Louisiana law in considering this Motion for Summary Judgment.

         C. Merchant Liability

         Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2');">2800.6 governs claims of negligence ...


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