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Rogers v. Progressive Direct Insurance Co.

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

October 25, 2017

JAMIE ROGERS, ET AL.
v.
PROGRESSIVE DIRECT INSURANCE CO., ET AL.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the court is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [doc. 20] filed pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by Jamie Rogers and Cara Rogers (collectively, “plaintiffs”). Defendants oppose the motion. Doc. 23.

         I.

         Background

         This action arises from a two-car motor vehicle accident that occurred on the afternoon of March 6, 2016, in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. See doc. 1, att. 1, pp. 3-7 (state court complaint). On that date, Ray Schwegler, a professional truck driver who is the owner of Big Rig Trucking, Inc., was traveling southbound on WPA Road while hauling dirt to a work site in an eighteen-wheeler. Id. at 3-4; doc. 20, att. 4, pp. 8, 18, 32-34 (Schwegler deposition). At the same time, Jamie Rogers was traveling west on Highway 90. Doc. 20, att. 3, p. 12 (Rogers deposition).

         Schwegler testified that he approached a stop sign at the intersection of WPA Road and Highway 90, came to a stop, and looked both ways, intending to make a right turn in order to go west on Highway 90. Doc. 20, att. 4, p. 55. He stated that when he looked to his left, he saw Rogers' vehicle approaching from an estimated distance of two to three telephone poles away, and with Rogers flashing his lights. Id. at 55-59. Schwegler then began to make the turn, after which he made impact with Rogers' vehicle, striking immediately behind Rogers' passenger cab and causing the latter vehicle to spin out into the road. Id.; see doc. 20, att. 3, pp. 60-66 (accident report). In his deposition Rogers denied ever seeing Schwegler's vehicle “until he was right there on top of me, ” and admitted he did not see whether Schwegler had stopped at the stop sign. Doc. 20, att. 3, pp. 11, 16. He also stated that he did not brake before impact was made. Id. at 16. Finally, he recalled that traffic was light at the time of the accident, and that the only vehicle he noticed traveling west in front of him was “probably a couple of miles ahead.” Id. at 12. As a result of the accident, Schwegler received a citation for failure to yield. See Id. at 61-62.

         Rogers alleges that he suffered numerous and extensive injuries from the accident. Doc. 1, att. 1, p. 5. His wife, Cara, alleges that she has suffered a loss of consortium. Id. at 6. They maintain that the accident was a result, in relevant part, of Schwegler's negligence.[1] Id. at 5. Accordingly, they filed suit against Schwegler, Big Rig Trucking, Inc., and insurers Progressive Direct Insurance Company and United Financial Casualty Company on October 14, 2016, in the Fourteenth Judicial District, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Id. at 3-7. Schwegler removed the matter to this court on November 21, 2016, on the basis of federal diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Doc. 1.

         Plaintiffs have now filed the instant Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [doc. 20], alleging that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of Schwegler's liability. Defendants oppose the motion. Doc. 23.

         II.

         Legal Standards

         A. Summary Judgment

         A court should grant a motion for summary judgment when it is shown “that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment is initially responsible for demonstrating the reasons justifying the motion for summary judgment by identifying portions of pleadings and discovery that show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Tubacex, Inc. v. M/V Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1995). The court must deny the moving party's motion for summary judgment if the movant fails to meet this burden. Id.

         Once the movant makes this showing, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986). The burden requires more than mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings. Instead, the nonmovant must submit “significant probative evidence” in support of his claim. State Farm Life Ins. Co. v. Gutterman, 896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th Cir. 1990). If the evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 106 S.Ct. at 2511.

         A court may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence in ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2110 (2000). The court is also required to draw all inferences based on underlying facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Clift v. Clift, 210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). There is no genuine issue of material fact if, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the ...


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