SHIRLEY STELLY, ET AL.
CITY CLUB AT RIVER RANCH, LLC, ET AL.
FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 2016-3131 HONORABLE MARILYN C. CASTLE,
David Granger John Davis Granger Law Firm COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Shirley Stelly Dudley Stelly
Kristen B. Guidry Law Offices of Robert D. Ford COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Hanover Insurance Company City Club at
River Ranch, LLC CCRR Properties, LLC
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Shannon J. Gremillion, and
John E. Conery, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
Shirley Stelly and her husband, Dudley Stelly, appeal the
trial court's summary judgment granted in favor of City
Club at River Ranch, LLC, CCRR Properties, LLC, and their
insurer, Hanover Insurance Company, which dismissed the
Stellys' petition alleging that Mrs. Stelly was injured
when she fell in or around the parking lot of the City Club
at River Ranch (CCRR) in Lafayette, Louisiana.
On appeal, summary judgments are reviewed de novo. Magnon
v. Collins, 98-2822 (La.7/7/99), 739 So.2d 191. Thus,
the appellate court asks the same questions the trial court
asks to determine whether summary judgment is appropriate.
Id. This inquiry seeks to determine whether any
genuine issues of material fact exist and whether the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La.Code Civ.P.
art. 966(B) and (C). This means that judgment must be
rendered in favor of the movant if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file,
and affidavits show a lack of factual support for an
essential element of the opposing party's claim.
Id. If the opposing party cannot produce any
evidence to suggest that he will be able to meet his
evidentiary burden at trial, no genuine issues of material
fact exist. Id.
Material facts are those that determine the outcome of the
legal dispute. Soileau v. D & J Tire, Inc.,
97-318 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/8/97), 702 So.2d 818, writ
denied, 97-2737 (La.1/16/98), 706 So.2d 979. In deciding
whether facts are material to an action, we look to the
applicable substantive law. Id. Finally, summary
judgment procedure is favored and designed to secure the
just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.
La.Code Civ.P. art. 966(A)(2).
Am. Zurich Ins. Co. v. Caterpillar, Inc., 12-270,
pp. 4-5 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/3/12), 99 So.3d 739, 742-43.
these principles in mind, we will examine the documentation
submitted by the Appellees supporting their motion to
determine whether they establish an absence of factual
support for one or more essential elements of the
Stelly's claims. Then we will examine the documentation
opposing the motion to determine whether they suggest that
the Stellys will be able to meet their evidentiary burden at
support of their motion, Appellees attached the Stelly's
petition and Mrs. Stelly's deposition. The petition
alleged the basic facts of the suit: Mrs. Stelly was at the
CCRR on June 22, 2015, "when she tripped and fell on a
raised area of cement." This fall allegedly injured Mrs.
Stelly, and her husband suffered a loss of consortium because
of her injuries.
Stelly's deposition testimony is summarized as follows:
On the date in question, Mrs. Stelly arrived at the CCRR to
get a facial and massage at the River Spa. Mrs. Stelly had
been to the spa many times. She drove her car into the
parking lot and parked at the second-to-last space along the
building before which she parked. The building was separated
from the parking spaces by a sidewalk. She removed some
packages from her car and set them on the sidewalk. Mrs.
Stelly testified that nothing obstructed her view of the
sidewalk. She then attempted to mount the sidewalk when her
foot slipped on the edge of the curb. Mrs. Stelly fell
forward and stretched forth her arms to arrest her fall. Her
head hit the sidewalk, and her arm was broken. In her
affidavit, Mrs. Stelly testified that she was not aware that
the curb was "higher than a normal sidewalk edge."
contend that the sidewalk represents an open and obvious
condition that does not pose an unreasonable risk of harm.
Based upon the foregoing, we conclude that the motion was
properly supported; therefore, the burden shifted to the
Stellys to produce evidence that would suggest that they will
be able to meet their burden of proof at trial.
Stellys presented the same deposition excerpt of Mrs. Stelly,
an affidavit from her, and an affidavit of Mr. William J.