United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. Hornsby, U.S. Magistrate Judge
Weaver (“Plaintiff”) slipped and fell in a
bathroom at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Bossier City,
Louisiana. Plaintiff managed to catch himself before he hit
the floor, but he alleges that he injured his knee during the
incident. Plaintiff filed suit against Horseshoe in state
court, and Horseshoe removed the case based on diversity
parties filed written consent to have the case decided by the
undersigned Magistrate Judge, and the matter was referred
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Before the court is
Horseshoe's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 17) that
challenges Plaintiff's ability to present evidence that
Horseshoe either created or had actual or constructive notice
of the condition that caused Plaintiff to slip. For the
reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.
Louisiana law, a merchant owes a duty to all persons who use
its premises “to exercise reasonable care to keep his
aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe
condition.” La. R.S. 9:2800.6(A). Regardless of a
merchant's affirmative duty to keep the premises in a
reasonably safe condition, a merchant is not the insurer of
the safety of his patrons. Noel v. Target Corp. of
Minn., 2007 WL 2572308, *1 (W.D. La. 2007), citing
Jones v. Brookshire Grocery Co., 847 So.2d 43, 49
(La.App. 2d Cir. 2003). To impose liability on a merchant
under the statute, the claimant has the burden of proving all
of the following:
(1) The condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm to
the claimant and that risk of harm was reasonably
(2) The merchant either created or had actual or
constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage,
prior to the occurrence.
(3) The merchant failed to exercise reasonable care. In
determining reasonable care, the absence of a written or
verbal cleanup or safety procedure is insufficient, alone, to
prove failure to exercise reasonable care.
La. R.S. 9:2800.6(B). Horseshoe's motion challenges
Plaintiff's ability to present evidence to support the
emphasized elements of the statute.
judgment is appropriate “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.” Fed. R.
Civ. Pro. 56(a). A fact is “material” if it might
affect the outcome of the suit under governing law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505,
2510 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” if there is
sufficient evidence so that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for either party. Anderson, supra;
Hamilton v. Segue Software Inc., 232 F.3d 473, 477
(5th Cir. 2000).
party seeking summary judgment has the initial responsibility
of informing the court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those parts of the record that it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548
(1986). If the moving party carries his initial burden, the
burden then falls upon the nonmoving party to demonstrate the
existence of a genuine dispute of a material fact.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
106 S.Ct. 1348, 1355-56 (1986).