United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 18) by
Defendant Otis Elevator Company. The Motion seeks the
dismissal of all claims brought against it by Plaintiff
Ongaletta Davis and the State of Louisiana ("the
State"). (Doc. 18). Only Plaintiff Davis filed a
response and Defendant filed a reply. (Docs. 24, 28). For
reasons explained fully herein, the Motion is GRANTED.
case arises from injuries incurred by Plaintiff Davis
involving an elevator at the Iberville State Office Building,
where she worked for the State as an IT specialist. (Doc.
18-2 at p. 1). On July 10, 2014, Davis entered the elevator
behind a woman who was utilizing a medical walker. (Doc. 18-3
at p. 2:1-19). Davis's ability to enter the elevator was
slowed by the walker, requiring her to stop in the threshold
of the elevator. (Id.). As this happened, the
elevator's "nudging" mechanism initiated.
(See Doc. 31-1 at p. 2:14-20). The nudging mechanism
is a mechanism in the elevator that prevents an elevator from
being obstructed for a prolonged period of time. (Doc. 18-2
at p. 2). A beeping sound is then initiated, and the elevator
doors begin to close at a reduced speed without the benefit
of the "protective device" that prevents the doors
from closing around an object. (See Id.).
nudging mechanism of the elevator began to close the doors,
Plaintiff Davis held her hands up against the doors before
stepping out of the elevator. (Doc. 18-3 at p. 3:21-23).
Before she could step back from the elevator however, her
hands made contact with the closing doors, which caused
injury to her hands and arms. (Doc. 24 at pp. 1-2). Plaintiff
Davis then took the next elevator up to her place of
employment, and she informed her supervisor about the injury.
(Doc. 18-3 at p. 4:15-18).
result of the incident, Plaintiff Davis has sought, and been
awarded, workers' compensation by her employer, the
State. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 2). Plaintiff Davis also filed an
action in state court against Defendant, claiming violations
of Louisiana Products Liability Law for failure to properly
design the elevator and for failure to warn about the
improper defect, and a general negligence claim.
(Id. at 15). The State also filed a complaint in
state court, seeking recompense for the workers'
compensation benefits paid to Plaintiff Davis. (Id.
at 11-14). The State alleges that "[t]he sole cause of
damages that gives rise to this matter was the breach of
contract and/or negligent acts of omission of [Defendant OTIS
ELEVATOR COMPANY." (Id. at 13).
Motion seeks dismissal of all claims against it. (Doc. 18-2
at p. 14). The State has filed no opposition. Plaintiff Davis
has filed an opposition in which she only argues
that there is sufficient evidence to sustain the negligence
claim, but fails to point to evidence in the record that
would suggest summary judgment is improper on her products
liability claims. (See generally Doc. 24).
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[W]hen a properly supported motion
for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and footnote
determining whether the movant is entitled to summary
judgment, the Court "view[s] facts in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw[s] all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman u. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997). At this
stage, the Court does not evaluate the credibility of
witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve factual disputes.
Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939
F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991), cert, denied, 502
U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the evidence in the record is
such that a reasonable jury, drawing all inferences in favor
of the non-moving party, could arrive at a verdict in that
party's favor, the motion for summary judgment must be
denied. Int'l Shortstop, Inc., 939 F.2d at 1263.
On the other hand, the non-movant's burden is not
satisfied merely upon a showing of "some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts, by conclusory allegations, by
unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of
evidence." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
summary judgment is appropriate if, "after adequate time
for discovery and upon motion, [the non-movant] fails to make
a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary
judgment will lie only "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with affidavits if any, show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact, and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Sherman v.
Hallbauer, 455 F.2d 1236, 1241 (5th Cir. 1972).
The State's Contract Claim
record in the case reveals the existence of a contract
between the State and Defendant. (See Doc. 18-5 at
pp. 5-8). However, under Louisiana Law, to prove a breach of
contract the State must identify a specific provision which
the Defendant allegedly breached. See Lamar Contractors,
Inc. v. Kacco, Inc., 2015-1430 (La. 5/3/16), 189 So.3d
394, 398. However, the State does not-in its complaint or
elsewhere in the ...