United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 14) filed
by FCA U.S. LLC ("Defendant"). In its Motion, the
Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiff s claim on the ground
that Plaintiff cannot demonstrate proximate cause, which is a
necessary element of her claim. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff filed a
response, Defendant filed a reply, and Plaintiff filed a
sur-reply. (Docs. 15, 18, 21). Accordingly, the Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 14) is DENIED.
case arises from a single car accident. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 2).
Plaintiff alleges that on or about September 5, 2014, she was
driving a 2009 Dodge Ram produced by Defendant on Interstate
10. (Id. at 1-2). Plaintiff had owned the vehicle
for 5 years, and had driven the vehicle over 100, 000 miles.
(Doc. 14-3 at p. 2:6-25). While driving the vehicle,
Plaintiff alleges that the "driveshaft of her 2009 Dodge
Ram separated from the rear differential, causing petitioner
to lose control of the vehicle and careen into the center
concrete dividing wall." (Doc. 1-1 at p. 1). This
particular make and model of the vehicle had been the subject
of a recall by the manufacturer. (Doc. 14-4).
to the recall:
The problem is . . . [t]he rear axle pinion nut on your
vehicle . . . may loosen due to undersized pinion shaft
splines. A loose pinion nut could cause the rear axle to
seize or cause the driveshaft to separate resulting in a loss
of motive power. Either situation could cause a crash without
(Doc. 14-4 at p. 1). After the accident, the vehicle was
taken to Ralph Sellers, which is a car dealership and repair
shop, and repaired. (See 15-5 at pp. 1-2). In
response to the accident, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit,
naming the manufacturer of the vehicle, FCA U.S. LLC and ABC
Insurance Company. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 2).
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 v. 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).
Defendant moves for summary judgment on the sole issue that
Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that the manufacturing defect in
the vehicle caused the accident. (Doc. 14-1 at p. 1).
Defendant argues that since the defective part was not
preserved, and since Plaintiff presents no other evidence in
admissible form that demonstrates a manufacturing defect that
caused the accident, Plaintiff cannot demonstrate an issue of
material fact as to the issue of proximate cause.
(Id. at 1-2; Doc. 18 at pp. 1-2). According to the
Defendants, Plaintiff has submitted unauthenticated
documents, including reports from the repair of the vehicle,
and contends that these documents should be considered for
the purposes of summary judgment to demonstrate an issue of