JOHN C. OWENS
MCILHENNY COMPANY, ET AL.
FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF IBERIA,
NO. 129546 HONORABLE KEITH RAYNE JULES COMEAUX, DISTRICT
L. Marrero Robert L. Marrero, LLC COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: John C. Owens
Kimberly G. Anderson COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES:
McIlhenny Company Jungle Gardens, Inc.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Billy
Howard Ezell, and John E. Conery, Judges.
HOWARD EZELL JUDGE
Owens filed suit against McIlhenny Company and Jungle
Gardens, Inc., for injuries he sustained when he tripped and
fell on a concrete pad while walking through the gardens. The
trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the
Defendants, and Mr. Owens filed the present appeal. For the
following reason, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
to Mr. Owens' petition, he and his wife and three cousins
visited Jungle Gardens at Avery Island on February 16,
2016. After touring other areas of the gardens,
the group went to the Palm Garden area. Mr. Owens stepped
onto a concrete pad on a pathway and began to fall. He broke
his fall by stretching out his hands. In the process, Mr.
Owens severely injured both his wrists, which required
surgery. He also claims he injured his neck and back.
Owens filed suit against McIlhenny Company and Jungle Gardens
on January 9, 2017. The Defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment on May 24, 2018. A hearing was held on July 18,
2018. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court
determined that the Defendants were entitled to summary
judgment under La.Civ.Code art. 2317.1 . Mr. Owens then filed
the present appeal.
reviewing a trial court's determination of whether
summary judgment is appropriate, an appellate court utilizes
a de novo standard of review and applies the same standard of
review that the trial court does. Schroeder v. Bd. of
Supervisors of La. State Univ., 591 So.2d 342 (La.1991).
motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion,
memorandum, and supporting documents show that there is no
genuine issue as to material fact and that the mover is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." La.Code Civ.P.
art. 966(A)(3). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment,
the trial court's role is not to evaluate the weight of
the evidence, but instead to determine whether there is a
genuine issue of triable fact. Hines v. Garrett,
04-806 (La. 6/25/04), 876 So.2d 764.
mover bears the burden of proving it is entitled to summary
judgment unless "the mover will not bear the burden of
proof at trial on the issue that is before the court on the
motion for summary judgment[.]" La.Code Civ.P. art.
966(D)(1). In that case, the mover is not required to negate
all essential elements of the adverse party's claim but
only need point out the absence of factual support for one or
more elements essential to the adverse party's claim.
Id. The burden is then "on the adverse party to
produce factual support sufficient to establish the existence
of a genuine issue of material fact or that the mover is not
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Id.
the applicable substantive law that determines whether the
trial court's grant of summary judgment was appropriate.
Davidson v. Sanders, 18-308 (La.App. 3 Cir.
12/6/18), __ So.3d__. At the hearing, the trial court was
presented with the issue of the applicability of the
Louisiana Merchant Liability Act under La.R.S. 9:2800.6 or
premises liability under La.Civ.Code art. 2317.1. The trial