United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
HOMELIFE IN THE GARDENS, LLC ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a motion filed by HomeLife in the Gardens, LLC
(“HomeLife”) and Donald E. Rankey, Jr.
“counterclaim-defendants”) for summary judgment
as to all counterclaims asserted by Leigh Landry
(“Landry”). The motion is
judgment is proper when, after reviewing the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits, the court determines that there is no genuine
dispute of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
“[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The
party seeking summary judgment need not produce evidence
negating the existence of material fact, but need only point
out the absence of evidence supporting the other party's
case. Id.; Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d
1190, 1195 (5th Cir. 1986).
the party seeking summary judgment carries its initial
burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific
facts showing that there is a genuine dispute of material
fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The showing of a
genuine issue of material fact is not satisfied by creating
“‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts, ' by ‘conclusory allegations, ' by
‘unsubstantiated assertions, ' or by only a
‘scintilla' of evidence.” Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). Instead, a genuine issue of material
fact exists when the “evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
party responding to the motion for summary judgment may not
rest upon the pleadings, but must identify specific facts
that establish a genuine issue. Id. However, the
nonmoving party's evidence “is to be believed, and
all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [the nonmoving
party's] favor.” Id. at 255; see also
Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999).
the substance or content of the evidence submitted to support
or dispute a fact on summary judgment must be admissible . .
., the material may be presented in a form that would not, in
itself, be admissible at trial.” Lee v. Offshore
Logistical & Transp., LLC, 859 F.3d 353, 355 (5th
Cir. 2017) (quoting 11 Moore's Federal Practice-Civil
¶ 56.91 (2017)). “This flexibility allows the
court to consider the evidence that would likely be admitted
at trial . . . without imposing on parties the time and
expense it takes to authenticate everything in the
record.” Maurer v. Independence Town, No.
16-30673, 2017 WL 3866561, at *3 (5th Cir. Sept. 5, 2017).
“[a] motion for summary judgment cannot be granted
simply because there is no opposition, ” but “a
court may grant an unopposed summary judgment motion if the
undisputed facts show that the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Day v. Wells Fargo Bank Nat.
Ass'n, 768 F.3d 435 (5th Cir. 2014) (per curiam);
see also Hibernia Nat'l Bank v. Adminitracion Cent.
Sociedad Anonima, 776 F.2d 1277, 1279 (5th Cir. 1985).
“If a party fails to properly support an assertion of
fact or fails to properly address another party's
assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c) [of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure], the court may . . . consider the
fact undisputed for purposes of the motion.”
Court has reviewed the counterclaim-defendants' motion
and the uncontroverted evidence submitted in support of the
motion. For the non-sanction-related reasons urged by the
counterclaim-defendants,  the Court concludes that summary
judgment in their favor as to all but one of Landry's
counterclaims is warranted. More specifically, the Court will
grant summary judgment in the counterclaim-defendants'
favor as to Landry's Title VII hostile work environment
claim, intentional infliction of emotional distress claim,
whistleblower claim, Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act
claim, defamation claim, and fraud claim. However, the Court
concludes that summary judgment in favor of the
counterclaim-defendants is not warranted with respect to
Landry's assault and battery claim.
counterclaim-defendants' memorandum in support of their
motion for summary judgment, the only ground urged by the
counterclaim-defendants to justify dismissal of Landry's
assault and battery claim is Landry's alleged perjury
during her deposition. In rare cases, a district may indeed
dismiss one or more of a party's claims with prejudice as
a sanction for the party's conduct during the course of
the litigation. See, e.g., Brown v. Oil States
Skagit Smatco, 664 F.3d 71 (5th Cir. 2011) (affirming a
district court's dismissal of a plaintiff's entire
complaint with prejudice where the plaintiff had
“committed fraud upon the court” through his
“perjured [deposition] testimony, ” id.
order for a party's conduct to justify dismissal of her
claims, however, there must be “a clear record of delay
or contumacious conduct by the [party], ” and
the court must determine that “lesser sanctions would
not serve the best interests of justice.” Id.
at 77 (emphasis in original). “[I]t is not a
party's negligence-regardless of how careless,
inconsiderate, or understandably exasperating-that makes
conduct contumacious; instead, it is ‘the stubborn
resistance to authority' which justifies a dismissal
with prejudice.” Id. (emphasis and alteration
the start of her deposition, Landry took an oath to testify
truthfully.This oath is crucial to the proper
administration of justice and the integrity of the judicial
process. Our legal system depends on people following their
appears to have defied her oath during her deposition
testimony relating to her knowledge of the circumstances
surrounding the death of the counterclaim-defendants'
former counsel's son. In response to the question,
“Do you know what happened to his son?, ” Landry
testified: “I do, and I do know what happened, and I do
know that it was his fault, because I know the policeman that
was on duty that day.” Landry then went on to attribute
the death of the former counsel's son to the former
counsel “being drunk and driving a
asked what evidence she had as to the former counsel
“being drunk, ” Landry at first refused to answer
the question. The following exchange then took place
between Landry and the counterclaim-defendants' current
Q: How do you know that [the former counsel] had alcohol in
his blood that day?
A: Because I know the police.
Q: And who told you ...