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Franco v. Mabe Trucking Co., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

March 19, 2018

DAVID FRANCO
v.
MABE TRUCKING CO., INC.

          KAREN L. HAYES, MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          ROBERT G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 43] filed by Defendant Mabe Trucking Co, Inc. Plaintiff David Franco opposes the motion. [Doc. No. 45]. For reasons assigned below, the motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This controversy arises out of a November 24, 2015 vehicular accident in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. On November 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. [Doc. No. 1]. Plaintiff did not serve Defendant until January 20, 2017.

         On February 10, 2017, Defendant moved to either dismiss or transfer the proceeding, arguing that the Eastern District of Texas lacked personal jurisdiction and was an improper venue. [Doc. No. 4]. On June 13, 2017, Judge Roy S. Payne, a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, granted Defendant's motion and transferred the proceeding to this Court. [Doc. No. 13]. Judge Payne opined: “Because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over [Defendant], and hence venue under § 1391(b)(1) is improper, the Court finds it suitable in the ‘interests of justice' to transfer the case to the Western District of Louisiana, the district where the accident occurred. See 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).” Id. at 2.

         Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on January 23, 2018, moving to dismiss “because Plaintiff's lawsuit was filed in an improper venue, and Plaintiff failed to serve [Defendant] until well after the one-year prescriptive period ran . . . .” [Doc. No. 43, p. 1]. Plaintiff responded to the motion on February 8, 2018. [Doc. No. 45]. Defendant replied on February 21, 2018. [Doc. No. 50]. Plaintiff filed a surresponse on March 2, 2018 [Doc. No. 53], and Defendant filed a surreply on March 6, 2018 [Doc. No. 58');">58].

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the evidence before a court 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.P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under applicable law in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is such that a reasonable fact finder could render a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         “[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 pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247). “The moving party may meet its burden to demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact by pointing out that the record contains no support for the non-moving party's claim.” Stahl v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 283 F.3d 254, 263 (5th Cir. 2002). Thereafter, if the non-movant is unable to identify anything in the record to support its claim, summary judgment is appropriate. Id. “The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).[1]

         In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, courts “may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence” and “must resolve all ambiguities and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the non-moving party.” Total E & P USA Inc. v. Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corp., 719 F.3d 424, 434 (5th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted). While courts will “resolve factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving party, ” an actual controversy exists only “when both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts.” Little v. Liquid Air. Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). To rebut a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the opposing party must show, with “significant probative evidence, ” that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Hamilton v. Segue Software, Inc., 232 F.3d 473, 477 (5th Cir. 2000) (emphasis added). “‘If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, ' summary judgment is appropriate.” Cutting Underwater Tech. USA, Inc. v. Eni U.S. Operating Co., 671 F.3d 512, 517 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).

         Relatedly, there can be no genuine dispute as to a material fact when a party fails “to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23. This is true “since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Id. at 323.

         B. Whether Plaintiff's ...


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