United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. HAYES JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY MAG. JUDGE
before the Court is the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
filed by Defendants Mabe Trucking Co., Inc.
(“Mabe”), National Interstate Insurance Company
(“NIIC”), and Richard Agee (“Agee”)
[Doc. No. 85]. Defendants move the Court for partial summary
judgment, contending that Plaintiff David Franco
(“Franco”) cannot simultaneously pursue both (1)
a negligence cause of action against Agee, for which Mabe
will be vicariously liable if Agee is found liable; and (2) a
direct negligence claim for Mabe's alleged negligent
entrustment, hiring, and training. Franco has filed an
opposition to the motion [Doc. No. 97]. Defendants have filed
a reply to the opposition [Doc. No. 100].
following reasons, the Defendants' Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment is GRANTED, and Franco's negligence
claims against Mabe for allowing Agee to operate the vehicle,
failing to train him, and failing to maintain the vehicle,
are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
case arises out of a motor vehicle accident. On or about
November 24, 2015, Franco's vehicle was involved in a
collision with an 18-wheel truck owned by Mabe and being
driven by Agee on Interstate 20 in Louisiana shortly after
crossing the border between Texas and Louisiana. On November
22, 2016, Franco filed suit against Mabe in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall
Division, alleging diversity of citizenship jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). On July 6, 2017, the suit was
transferred to this Court. On May 3, 2018, Franco filed a
Supplemental and Amended Complaint adding Agee and NIIC as
alleges that the accident was caused by the negligent
operation of the truck by Agee in pulling onto Interstate 20
directly in front of him. Franco further alleges that Agee
was an employee of Mabe at the time of the accident,
rendering Mabe liable for the negligence of Agee under the
doctrine of respondeat superior. Additionally,
Franco alleges that Mabe is liable for its own actions in
negligently entrusting its vehicle to Agee, negligently
hiring Agee, and negligently training Agee. Without admitting
to liability, Mabe has stipulated that Agee was acting within
the course and scope of his employment with Mabe at the time
of the accident.
August 1, 2018, the Defendants filed the instant Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. On November 1, 2018, Franco filed
an Opposition. On November 13, 2018, the Defendants filed a
Reply. The Court is now prepared to rule.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
judgment “shall [be] grant[ed] . . . 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). 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.
moving party can meet the initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the nonmoving party to establish the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact for trial. Norman v.
Apache Corp., 19 F.3d 1017, 1023 (5th Cir. 1994). The
nonmoving party must show more than “some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986). In evaluating the evidence tendered by the
parties, the Court must accept the evidence of the nonmovant
as credible and draw all justifiable inferences in its favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
Maintainability of Simultaneously Independent Causes of
diversity cases such as this, federal courts must apply state
substantive law. Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S.
64, 79 (1938). In Louisiana, the principle of vicarious
liability provides employers are “answerable for the
damage occasioned” by their employees when their
employees are exercising the functions of their employment.
La. Civ. Code Art. 2320. Vicarious liability in the
employment context imposes liability upon the employer
without regard to the employer's negligence or fault.
Sampay v. Morton Salt Co., 395 So.2d 326 (La. 1981).