United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Gatekeeper
Systems, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #68) is
GRANTED, and plaintiffs' claims against
it are DISMISSED.
matter is before the court on a motion for summary judgment
filed by defendant, Gatekeeper Systems, Inc.
19, 2015, Dalton Baham, III was driving a motorcycle north in
the center lane of Carrollton Avenue, under the I-10 overpass
near Tulane Avenue in New Orleans when he struck a shopping
cart that was in the roadway. Baham was ejected from the
motorcycle, hit a wall, and died on the scene.
October 5, 2016, plaintiffs, Latory Jones (Baham's wife),
individually and as natural tutrix of her minor child S.J.B.
(Baham's daughter), Dalton Baham, IV (Baham's son),
and Brandi Payton, as natural tutrix of her minor child
B.B.P. (Baham's son), filed this action in the Civil
District Court, Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana against
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. and Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper sells a
shopping cart containment system to equip carts with a
special wheel that responds to a radio frequency around the
perimeter of the property and locks the wheel if the cart is
moved beyond the perimeter. Plaintiffs allege that Family
Dollar had a master service agreement with Gatekeeper to use
Gatekeeper's cart containment system on its shopping
allege that Gatekeeper is liable for the accident under the
Louisiana Products Liability Act ("LPLA"), La. Rev.
Stat. § 9:2800.51, et seq., because the
Gatekeeper wheel on the subject shopping cart was
unreasonably dangerous in design, construction and
composition, failed to provide adequate warnings and failed
to conform to safety warranties.
filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that it is not
liable under the LPLA because there is no evidence that the
accident was proximately caused by an unreasonably dangerous
condition of the Gatekeeper wheel in construction or
composition, design, inadequate warning, or not conforming to
an express warranty. Plaintiffs argue that Gatekeeper is
liable under the LPLA because the Gatekeeper wheel was
unreasonably dangerous in design for failing to incorporate
reflective tape that would have made it more visible at
Summary Judgment Standard
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the
"court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Granting a motion for summary judgment is proper if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
admissions on file, and affidavits filed in support of the
motion demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-10 (1986). The
court must find "[a] factual dispute . . . [to be]
'genuine' if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party . . .
[and a] fact . . . [to be] 'material' if it might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
substantive law." Beck v. Somerset Techs.,
Inc., 882 F.2d 993, 996 (5th Cir. 1989) (citing
Anderson, 106 S.Ct. at 2510).
moving party meets the initial burden of establishing that
there is no genuine issue, the burden shifts to the
non-moving party to produce evidence of the existence of a
genuine issue for trial. Celeotex Corp. v. Catrett,
106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986). The non-movant cannot satisfy
the summary judgment burden with conclusory allegations,
unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence.
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994) (en banc). If the opposing party bears the burden
of proof at trial, the moving party does not have to submit
evidentiary documents properly to support its motion, but
need only point out the absence of evidence supporting the
essential elements of the opposing party's case.
Saunders v. Michelin Tire Corp., 942 F.2d 299, 301
(5th Cir. 1991).