United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TOBIE LEDET ET AL.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ORDER & REASONS
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. R.
Doc. 39. Plaintiffs have responded in opposition. R. Doc. 40.
Having considered the parties' arguments and the
applicable law, the Court issues this Order & Reasons.
case arises from injuries Plaintiff Tobie Ledet (“Mrs.
Ledet”) sustained when exiting one of Defendant's,
United States Postal Service (“USPS”), offices in
Metairie, Louisiana. R. Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff brought this
action under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Id.
Ledet alleges that she sustained personal injuries as a
result of Defendant's negligence when she slipped and
fell on the sidewalk outside Defendant's USPS office. R.
Doc. 1 at 3. Mrs. Ledet claims Defendant was negligent by not
ensuring that the walkway was appropriately textured and
thereby causing her fall. Id. at 4. Mrs. Ledet also
claims Defendant was negligent in failing to inspect,
discover, maintain, and remedy the untextured walkway.
Id. Mrs. Ledet claims she suffered a concussion, a
disk herniation, and a shoulder tear that required surgery as
a result of her alleged fall. Id. Plaintiff claims
this case is governed by Louisiana law and that the doctrines
of res ipsa loquitor and respondeat superior apply.
Id. at 3.
Ledet is also a Plaintiff in this case. Id. at 5.
Mr. Ledet claims that he was forced to exhaust his sick and
annual leave, he had to resort to leave without pay, and
suffered loss of society damages as a result of Mrs.
Ledet's alleged fall. Id.
answers and denies all allegations made by Plaintiffs. R.
Doc. 17 at 2-3. Defendant alleges that Plaintiff failed to
state a cause of action. Id. at 3. Defendant also
asserts the affirmative defenses of contributory/comparative
negligence, Plaintiffs' failure to mitigate damages, and
argues Plaintiffs' injuries were caused by an open and
obvious condition, and that Mrs. Ledet's injuries were
caused by preexisting or subsequent conditions. Id.
Defendant argues that federal law limits Plaintiff's
recovery for attorney fees, prejudgment damages and recovery
against the USPS. Id. at 3-4.
has filed a motion for summary judgment with some requests in
the alternative. R. Doc. 39. First, Defendant argues that the
Court should grant summary judgment because Plaintiff cannot
demonstrate that the sidewalk on which she fell was defective
or that Defendant knew that it was defective. R. Doc. 39-1 at
1. Defendant alleges that Plaintiffs' expert on the
sidewalk defect reaches “unsupported, conclusory
opinions” because he only visually inspected the
sidewalk and did not perform a slip resistance test. R. Doc.
39-1 at 6. On the contrary, Defendant's expert performed
a slip resistance test and found that the sidewalk, even when
wet, was “well above OSHA's minimum slip
resistance.” R. Doc. 39-1 at 7. Therefore, Defendant
argues that Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that the sidewalk
where she fell was defective. Furthermore, Defendant argues
that Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that Defendant had
knowledge of any defect because 1) there was no defect and 2)
there were no falls reported prior to Plaintiff's fall.
R. Doc. 39-1 at 9. Additionally, Defendant suggests that
Plaintiff's own negligence caused her fall because she
was wearing slippery shoes. R. Doc. 39-1 at 9.
and in the alternative, Defendant moves to strike the
testimony of Plaintiffs' treating physicians. R. Doc. 39.
Defendant alleges that Plaintiffs' have failed to comply
with the Federal Rules because they have not provided a
disclosure for the treating physicians, listed as experts. R.
Doc. 39-1 at 10. Therefore, Defendant argues, 1) the treating
physicians should not be permitted to testify or 2) their
testimony should be limited to lay testimony. R. Doc. 39-1 at
and in the alternative, Defendant asks the Court to limit
Plaintiffs' request for damages. R. Doc. 39. Defendant
alleges that Plaintiffs filed an administrative claim in
October 2014 asking for a sum certain of $181, 685.46. R.
Doc. 39-1 at 12. Defendant argues that because 1) Plaintiffs
have not shown any new information, 2) Plaintiffs knew the
extent of the injuries in October 2014, and 3) Plaintiffs
could have made out their worst case scenario in October 2014
the Court should limit Plaintiffs' damages to the sum
certain requested in the administrative claim. R. Doc. 39-1
at 16. Plaintiff agrees that she is limited to the sum
certain stated in the original administrative claim. R. Doc.
40 at 3.
LAW & ANALYSIS
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). “Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of
summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon
motion, against a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case, and on which the party will bear
the burden of proof at trial.” Id. A party
moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating the basis for summary judgment and identifying
those portions of the record, discovery, and any affidavits
supporting the conclusion that ...