United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are Defendant “General Motors LLC's
Motion for Summary Judgment, ” (Rec. Doc. 60) and
“Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' Expert Mechanic, Sid
Gearhart” (Rec. Doc. 63), as well as Defendant Avis
Budget Car Rental, L.L.C. and Budget Rent A Car System,
Inc.'s “Motion for Summary Judgment, ” (Rec.
Doc. 62) and “Motion in Limine to Strike Sid Gearhart
as Plaintiff's Expert Witness and to Exclude His
Testimony at Trial” (Rec. Doc. 64). The motions were
set for submission on August 23, 2017. Pursuant to Local Rule
7.5, Plaintiff's memoranda in opposition were due on or
before August 15, 2017. No memoranda in opposition were
filed. Further, no party filed a motion to continue the
noticed submission date or a motion for extension of time
within which to oppose the motions. Thus, the motions are
deemed to be unopposed. As discussed below, it further
appears to the Court that the motions have merit.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the motions
(Rec. Docs. 60, 62-64) are GRANTED AS
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case arises out of an April 22, 2015 motor vehicle accident.
Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 2-3, ¶¶ 5-6. Tanya Leone
(“Plaintiff”) alleges that her 2014 Chevrolet
Cruze (VIN number 1G1PG5SB9E7407408) “suddenly,
unexplainably and unintentionally accelerated in speed . . .
[and] application of the brakes failed to stop the
vehicle.” Id. at 3, ¶¶ 5, 8. To
avoid hitting another vehicle, Plaintiff “swerved the
vehicle left, over the median . . . and thereafter hit the
base of a traffic signal.” Id. at 3, ¶ 6.
She insists that both she and her minor son, Nikko Leone,
suffered damage as a result of the accident. Id. at
3, ¶¶ 8, 11.
Chevrolet Cruze was manufactured by Defendant General Motors
LLC (“GM”) and owned and maintained by Defendant
Avis Budget Car Rental, L.L.C. (“Avis”) and/or
Defendant Budget Rent A Car System, Inc.
(“Budget”). Rec. Docs. 1-1 at 3-4, ¶¶
9-10, 17; 13 at 1-2.
April 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit in the 24th Judicial
District Court for the Parish of Jefferson, alleging that the
Cruze was defectively designed and/or manufactured and that
Defendants were liable pursuant to the Louisiana Products
Liability Act (“LPLA”), La. Rev. Stat. Ann.
§ 9:2800.51. Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 3-4, ¶¶ 12-14,
23, 2016, GM removed the matter pursuant to this Court's
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Rec. Doc.
1 at 3, ¶¶ VIII-IX.
this Court's scheduling order, Plaintiff's expert
reports had to be exchanged no later than June 9, 2017. Rec.
Doc. 22 at 2. On June 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to
continue the trial date, arguing that her second expert
required additional time to conduct discovery and complete
his report. Rec. Doc. 28-1 at 2. However, Plaintiff's
expert completed his inspections in 2015, Plaintiff knew
about the June 9, 2017 deadline as early as August 5, 2016,
and Plaintiff waited to file a motion to continue until two
days before the expert report deadline and set the motion for
submission more than a month later. Rec. Doc. 55 at 4.
Accordingly, this Court determined that there was no good
cause to modify the scheduling order and we denied the motion
to continue. Id.
this Court's order, Plaintiff filed a witness list on
July 10, 2017 identifying Sid Gearhart as an “expert
mechanic.” Rec. Doc. 51 at 1. Because Plaintiff failed
to exchange Gearhart's expert report, Defendants moved to
strike Gearhart from the witness list. Rec. Docs. 63-64.
THE PARTIES' SUMMARY JUDGMENT CONTENTIONS
argues that Plaintiff has not identified experts who will
testify at trial, supplied expert reports, identified defects
in the Cruze, or specified whether any such defect is due to
the vehicle's design, composition, specification,
warnings, or express warranty. Rec. Doc. 60-2 at 5.
and Budget argue that Plaintiff failed to allege that their
ownership and/or maintenance of the vehicle “caused or
contributed to the existence of any defect(s) in the vehicle,
or that [they] knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care
should have known, of the alleged ruin, vice or defect(s)
which allegedly caused or contributed to the accident,
” such that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted. Rec. Doc. 62-3 at 4. They
further argue that, even if Plaintiff had alleged such
claims, she cannot produce any evidence to support those
both Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not produced
sufficient evidence to meet her burden of proof.