United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
W. deGRAVELLES JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on a Motion for Summary
Judgment, (“Motion, ” Doc. 49), filed by
Plaintiff Susan Tendler (“Plaintiff” or
“Tendler”). Defendant Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
(“Defendant” or “Hobby Lobby”)
opposes the Motion, (Doc. 57), and Plaintiff has filed a
Reply in further support of the Motion, (Doc. 59). Oral
argument is not necessary. Having carefully considered the
law, the record, and the arguments of the parties, the Court
grants the motion in part and denies the motion in part.
Relevant Factual Background
February 11, 2016, Plaintiff was shopping at a Hobby Lobby
store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Doc 49-2 at 1). Plaintiff
went to the Hobby Lobby store to purchase a stool.
(Id.). Plaintiff found a bar stool that she was
interested in purchasing, but the stool collapsed when
Plaintiff attempted to sit on it. (Id.).
stool required assembly prior to being put in the Hobby Lobby
showroom and was assembled by a Hobby Lobby employee at the
Hobby Lobby store. (Id.). All furniture sold at
Hobby Lobby stores is assembled in-store. (Doc. 49-3 at 53).
The component parts of the stool were sent to Hobby Lobby by
Hillsdale Furniture. (Doc. 57-2 at 2).
Lobby affixed a temporary price tag to the stool, and Hobby
Lobby is the sole entity named on that tag. (Doc. 49-2 at 2;
Doc. 49-4 at 5).
Motion for Summary Judgment
court shall grant summary judgment 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.P. 56(a). If the mover bears his burden of showing
that there is no genuine issue of fact, “its opponent
must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts . . . [T]he nonmoving party
must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.'” See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 586-587 (1986) (internal citations omitted). The
non-mover's burden is not satisfied 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 and internal quotations omitted).
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party,
there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587.
In resolving the motion, the court may not undertake to
evaluate the credibility of the witnesses, weigh the
evidence, or resolve factual disputes; so long as the
evidence in the record is such that a reasonable jury drawing
all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party could arrive
at a verdict in that party's favor, the court must deny
International Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc.,
939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
The Louisiana Products Liability Act
Motion concerns Hobby Lobby's alleged manufacturer status
and liability under the LPLA. (See Doc. 49-1 at 1).
The LPLA establishes the “exclusive theories of
liability for manufacturers for damage caused by their
products.” La. Rev. Stat. § 9:2800.52. In relevant
part, the LPLA defines a manufacturer as follows:
(1) “Manufacturer” means a person or entity who
is in the business of manufacturing a product for placement