United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
MAURICE HICKS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Defendants Brookshire Grocery Company
("Brookshire") and Travelers Indemnity Company of
Connecticut's ("Travelers") Motion for Summary
Judgment (Record Document 11) under Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure seeking dismissal of all of
Plaintiff, Quandrala Peterson's ("Peterson")
claims. For the reasons stated in the instant Memorandum
Ruling, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
case arises from a slip and fall at Super One Foods, which is
owned and operated by Brookshire. See Record
Document 1-1 (Peterson's state court petition). On
November 2, 2016, Peterson filed suit in state court against
Brookshire pursuant to the Louisiana Merchant Liability Act,
La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.6 ("LMLA"). See id.
Brookshire then removed the action to this Court based on 28
U.S.C. § 1332, diversity jurisdiction. See
Record Document 1. On March 9, 2017, both Peterson and Super
One Foods' store manager, George Neill
("Neill"), gave depositions. The deposition
testimony was attached to Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment and Peterson's Opposition to Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment. The Defendants also attached
video surveillance, labeled Exhibit C, to their Motion for
facts that make up this present action are as follows: on
November 24, 2015, Peterson and her mother, Tammy Peterson,
were shopping at Super One Foods. See id.;
see Record Document 11-5 (Peterson's deposition
page 26, lines 5-9). The store closes at 10:00 pm and just
prior to closing, an announcement was made over the intercom
system notifying all remaining customers of the impending
closure. See Record Document 11-4 (Neill's
deposition page 18, lines 18-23); see Record Document 11-5 at
38, lines 5-10. As Peterson was finishing up her shopping at
the rear of the store, in the dairy/beer section, Peterson
realized she had forgotten the whipping cream needed for her
macaroni and cheese recipe. See Record Document 11
-5 at 39, lines 10-23. Peterson stopped her buggy and
"trotted down" the aisle to grab the whipping cream
and "trotted back" to her buggy. See id.
at 45, lines 2-12. Upon reaching the buggy, Peterson slipped
and fell on what has been described as a clear liquid.
See id. at 40, lines 19-24. As a result of the fall,
Peterson sustained an injury to her right knee. See
id. at 25, lines 3-6.
to the slip and fall, Neill arrived at the scene and took a
photograph of the clear liquid and drafted a "Customer
Accident Report" detailing the facts as they occurred to
Peterson. See Record Document 11-4 at 47-49
(photograph and customer accident report). In his deposition,
Neill testifies and the video surveillance affirms that Neill
was at the scene of the incident approximately twenty-two
minutes prior to Peterson's slip and fall. See
id. at 29 and 30, lines 18-25 and 1; see Exhibit C.
Neill testified that he did not recall seeing any water at
that point in time. See id. at 32, lines 18-20. In
her deposition, Peterson testified that she walked through
the area where she fell on two prior occasions without
incident and without notice of any substance on the floor and
did not see the substance prior to her fall. See
Record Document 11-5 at 41, lines 1-23. The video
surveillance illustrates that the scene of the incident was
heavily traversed from the time Neill was at the scene
twenty-two minutes prior to the time of Peterson's slip
and fall. See Exhibit C. Peterson testified and the
photograph illustrates no signs of grocery shopping tracks,
footprints, or any other marks or skidding through the
liquid. See Record Document 11-5 at 42, lines 10-18;
see Record Document 11-4 at 47 (photograph).
their Motion for Summary Judgment, the Defendants argue that
Peterson must prove that "Brookshire knew or should have
known about the clear substance on the floor prior to
Peterson falling." Record Document 11 at 2, ¶ 6.
Specifically, the Defendants focus their Motion for Summary
Judgment on whether Brookshire had "constructive
notice" of the condition which caused the damage, prior
to the occurrence. See Record Document 11 at 2-3,
¶¶ 6-7. The Defendants further argue that Peterson
has failed to prove that the clear liquid existed for such a
period of time that it would have been discovered had
Brookshire exercised reasonable care. See id.
Lastly, the Defendants argue that the presence of an employee
of Brookshire, Neill, in the vicinity in which the condition
existed does not, alone, constitute "constructive
notice, " unless it is shown that the employee knew, or
in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, of the
condition. See id. The Defendants contend that
Peterson has only offered speculation in an attempt to
support an inference of "constructive notice."
See id. at 3, ¶ 7.
opposes the Motion for Summary Judgment asserting that there
are numerous genuine issues of material fact. See
Record Document 13-1 at 1-2. Specifically, Peterson alleges
(1) Brookshire's manager, George Neill, failed to
discover the hazardous liquid.
(2) Brookshire's manager trains his employees to keep
watch for dangerous hazards like this liquid on the floor.
(3) Video surveillance from the store indicates that
Brookshire's manager walked over the hazard approximately
twenty-two (22) minutes before the plaintiff's fall.
(4) Brookshire's manager testified that the liquid could
be seen and was visible.
(5) Brookshire's manager walked within a few feet of the
liquid and admits he should have been able to see the liquid.
(6) Video surveillance from the store does not show anyone
spilling a liquid on the floor in the twenty-two (22) minutes
after Brookshire's manager walked ...