Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Conner v. Brookshire Brothers, Inc.

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

February 16, 2018

CYNTHIA CONNER, ET AL
v.
BROOKSHIRE BROTHERS, INC, ET AL

          KAY MAG. JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          JAMES T. TRIMBLE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court are three (3) motions: (1) motion for summary judgment (R. #21) filed by Defendant, Brookshire Brothers Inc., (2) motion for summary judgment (R. #25) filed by Defendant, Coca Cola Bottling Co. United Inc. ("Coca-Cola") and (3) a motion for oral argument (R. #28) filed by Plaintiffs, Cynthia Conner and Tim Conner. Both Defendants seek to be dismissed pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs request oral arguments as to both motions.

         FACTUAL STATEMENT

         On March 12, 2016, Plaintiffs, Cynthia Conner and her husband, Tim Conner were shopping at the Brookshire Brothers Grocery Store in Sulphur, Louisiana.[1] While purchasing her groceries, Mrs. Conner realized she left her keys in her vehicle. Mrs. Conner walked towards the store's exit and as she passed in front of several glass-door beverage coolers, [2] she slipped and fell in a clear liquid substance.[3]

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, indicate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[4] A fact is "material" if its existence or nonexistence "might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law."[5] A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.[6] As to issues which the non-moving party has the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy this burden by demonstrating the absence of evidence supporting the non-moving party's claim."[7] Once the movant makes this showing, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.[8] The burden requires more than mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings. The non-moving party must demonstrate by way of affidavit or other admissible evidence that there are genuine issues of material fact or law.[9] There is no genuine issue of material fact if, viewing the evidence in the light more favorable to the non-moving party, no reasonable trier of fact could find for the non-moving party.[10] If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.[11] The court will construe all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, but will not infer the existence of evidence not presented.[12]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Both Defendants, Brookshire Brothers, Inc. and Coca Cola Bottling Co. United Inc. have filed motions for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court will consider each motion separately due to the distinct claims assert against each Defendant.

         Brookshire Brothers, Inc.

         Defendant, Brookshire Brothers, maintains that Plaintiffs cannot establish that (1) the condition that may have caused Mrs. Conner to slip and fall was created by Brookshire Brothers, nor (2) Brookshire Brothers had actual or constructive notice of the condition. Brookshire Brothers submits that Mrs. Conner did not see the liquid that accumulated on the floor and could provide few details. Brookshire Brothers allege that Plaintiffs surmise that the clear liquid came from a nearby glass-door cooler. Brookshire Brothers further asserts that there is no evidence to suggest that it had knowledge, or should have been aware, of the liquid on the floor prior to Mrs. Conner's fall.

         In White v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a two-prong analysis requires Plaintiff to (1) "come forward with positive evidence showing that the damage causing condition existed for some period of time, " and (2) show "that such time was sufficient to place the merchant defendant on notice of its existence."[13]

         Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.6 governs slip-and-fall accidents in merchant retail stores and is as follows:

A. A merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition. This includes a reasonable effort to keep the premises free of any hazardous conditions which reasonably might give rise to damage.
B. In a negligence claim brought against a merchant by a person lawfully on the merchant's premises for damages as a result of an injury, death, or loss sustained because of a fall due to a condition existing in or on a merchant's premises, the claimant shall have the burden of proving, in addition to all other elements of his cause of action, all of the following:
(1) The condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the claimant and that risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable.
(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 uniform cleanup or safety procedure is insufficient, alone, to prove failure to exercise reasonable care.
C. Definitions
(1) "Constructive notice" means the claimant has proven that the condition existed for such a period of time that it would have been discovered if the merchant had exercised reasonable care. The presence of an employee of the merchant in the vicinity in which the condition exists 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.
(2) "Merchant" means one whose business is to sell goods, food, wares, or merchandise at a fixed place of business. For purposes of this Section, a merchant includes an innkeeper with respect to those areas or aspects of the premises which are similar to those of a merchant, including but not limited to shops, restaurants, and lobby areas of or within the hotel, motel, or inn.
D. Nothing herein shall affect any liability which a merchant may have under Civil Code arts. 660, 667, 669, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.