Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Young v. Waller

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

October 19, 2017

ERVIN YOUNG, ET AL
v.
GREGORY WALLER, ET AL

          HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          JAMES T. TRIMBLE, JR. JUDGE

         Before the court is a "Motion for Summary Judgment" (R. #71) wherein defendant, Flames Logistics, Inc. and Tower Ins. Company seek to be dismissed with prejudice from the instant lawsuit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         This matter arises out of a motor vehicle accident which occurred on April 25, 2014 involving a 2005 Volvo truck driven by Gregory Waller and a 2004 Chrysler automobile driven by plaintiff, Ashley Dauzat. Ervin Young and his minor children M.Y. and X. Y. were passengers.

         On October 18, 2013, Norma Spence, the principal and owner of Defendant, Flames Logistics, Inc. entered into a Volvo Truck Sale Agreement (the "Agreement")[1] on behalf of Flames Logistics to sell the 2005 Volvo tractor to Defendant, Murray's Trucking. Flames Logistics asserts that it did not own, operate or direct the operation of the 2005 Volvo truck involved in the accident, nor did Flames Logistics employ or contract the driver of the Volvo truck involved in the accident. Flames Logistics notes that Plaintiffs named two separate trucking companies as responsible defendants in this lawsuit.

         The Agreement entered on October 18, 2013 provided that the final payment of the purchase price was July 18, 2015; the Agreement further required Murray's, who is designated as the "contractor", to maintain liability insurance, DOT tags, DOT titles, DOT licensure and to use the truck for its designed purpose and cover all expenses through the payment terms.[2]

         The Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Report identifies the carrier as Murray's Trucking, the owner, as Norma Spence, and the insurer, as Tower.[3]

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, indicate 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.[4] A fact is "material" if its existence or nonexistence "might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law."[5] A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.[6] As to issues which the non-moving party has the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy this burden by demonstrating the absence of evidence supporting the non-moving party's claim."[7] Once the movant makes this showing, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.[8] The burden requires more than mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings. The non-moving party must demonstrate by way of affidavit or other admissible evidence that there are genuine issues of material fact or law.[9] There is no genuine issue of material fact if, viewing the evidence in the light more favorable to the non-moving party, no reasonable trier of fact could find for the non-moving party.[10] If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.[11] The court will construe all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, but will not infer the existence of evidence not presented.[12]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         In the instant motion, Defendants, Flames Logistics and Tower move to be dismissed because there is no causal connection between Flames Logistics and the accident at issue, and there is no viable legal theory under which Flames Logistics can be held vicariously liable. Defendants allege that the Volvo truck operated by Mr. Waller at the time of the accident was owned by Flames Logistics prior to the date of the accident, and that prior to the date of the accident, Flames Logistics had transferred possession and ownership of the truck to Murrays. Defendants further assert that Mr. Waller was not employed, controlled or directed by Flames Logistics at the time of the accident.

         Plaintiffs assert that on the date of the accident, Flames Logistics/ Norma Spence was still the owner of the vehicle pursuant to the Agreement, Tower was the liability insurer, and ownership of the truck had not been transferred to Murrays. Plaintiffs argue that the Agreement sounded more in lease than in sale because ownership would not be transferred until the last payment was made, and because the Agreement required Murrays to maintain liability insurance, DOT tags, DOT titles, DOT licensure, and that Murrays was to use the truck for the purpose for which it was designed. In other words, Plaintiffs maintain that Flames Logistics retained ownership until Murrays made the final payment. Plaintiffs remark that because the Uniform Motor Vehicle Crash Report listed Mr. Waller as the driver, Murrays as the carrier, and Norma Spence as the owner, Mr. Waller was apparently driving the truck under the employment of either Flames Logistics or Murrays. Thus, Plaintiffs assert that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial as to whether ownership had transferred to Murrays, and whether Murrays was acting as the agent of Flames Logistics.

         Plaintiffs rely on Louisiana Civil Code article 2623 which defines a bilateral promise of sale or a contract to sell as "[a]n agreement whereby one party promises to sell and the other promises to buy a thing at a later time, or upon the happening of a condition, or upon performance of some obligation by either party." Such an agreement gives either party the right to demand specific performance. A contract to sell must ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.