United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
W. deGRAVELLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary
Judgment Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure (Doc. 20) filed by Defendant Pinnacle
Entertainment, Inc. (“Pinnacle”). Plaintiff Inga
Myles has filed no opposition to the motion.
filed suit on July 21, 2017, against Pinnacle, alleging that
she sustained serious injuries after violently falling on an
escalator at L'Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
(Doc. 1-2). The casino is owned and operated by
Pinnacle. (Id. at 3). Myles alleges that
“suddenly and without warning, ” her walking cane
“became caught in the escalator[, ] causing her to fall
backwards violently as her leg and hair were caught in the
escalator.” (Id. at 4). She claims that
Pinnacle “failed to properly maintain, inspect, control
and/or operate the escalator so as to render it dangerously
slippery and unsafe for use, ” and that this dangerous
condition caused her to fall. (Id.). She further
alleges that Pinnacle failed to warn Myles and other casino
guests of the dangerous condition, and failed to inspect the
escalator when it knew or should have known that “said
inspection was necessary to prevent injury.”
(Id.). As a result of the fall, Myles injured her
knee and neck, “causing her severe pain and
suffering.” (Id. at 5). Myles asserts a
state-law claim for negligence against Pinnacle.
(Id. at 5-6).
March 1, 2019, Pinnacle filed the instant motion supported by
security video footage of Myles' fall. The Court viewed
the footage, which shows Myles begin to step onto the
escalator before losing her footing and suddenly falling
backward. The footage shows the escalator functioning both
before, during, and after Myles' fall, and does not
portray any sudden change in the escalator's movement,
such as a stop or sudden increase or decrease in speed. The
video also shows another individual, Myles' daughter,
travel up the escalator ahead of Myles with no apparent issue
immediately prior to the fall.
judgment is appropriate “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). “Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A dispute of material fact is genuine if “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
moving party “always bears the initial responsibility
of informing the district court of the basis for its motion,
and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate
the absence of a genuine [dispute] of material fact.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)
(internal quotation marks omitted). In responding to a
properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving
party “must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material fact.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The nonmovant must
“go beyond the pleadings” and submit competent
evidence demonstrating “specific facts showing that
there is a genuine [dispute] for trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (internal quotation marks
omitted). If the evidence is “merely colorable, or is
not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations
Fifth Circuit has further explained:
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
Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939
F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
motion for summary judgment cannot be granted simply because
there is no opposition.” Day v. Wells Fargo Bank
Nat'l Ass'n, 768 F.3d 435, 435 (5th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Hibernia Nat'l Bank v. Administracion Cent.
Sociedad Anonima, 776 F.2d 1277, 1279 (5th Cir. 1985)).
“However, a court may grant an unopposed summary
judgment motion if the undisputed facts show that the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Day, 768 F.3d at 435.
deposition, Myles testified that she was approximately four
or five steps from the bottom of the escalator when there was
a sudden “jerk” and she fell backward. (Doc. 20-2
at 64 & 71). However, the Court must “assign
greater weight, even at the summary judgment stage, to the
facts evident from video recordings taken at the
scene.” Carnaby v. City of Hous., 636 F.3d
183, 187 (5th Cir. 2011). When a party's
“description of the facts is discredited by the record,
” the Court need not accept the party's version of
events “but should view the facts in the light depicted
by the videotape.” Newman v. Guedry, 703 F.3d
757, 761 (5th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Viewing the facts in the light depicted by the videotape
here, it is clear that the escalator was functioning properly
and that there was no sudden jolt, change in speed, or any
other malfunction which could have caused Myles' fall.
Indeed, the video depicts Myles' daughter traveling up
the escalator without any issue, buttressing this conclusion.
even if Myles had met her burden to contradict the video
footage with some colorable evidence of a sudden malfunction
in the escalator, she has not established that Pinnacle (or
any other entity) had actual or constructive notice of a
defect in the escalator. See La. C.C. art 2317.1
(providing that the owner or custodian of an object is liable
for damage caused by its faulty condition “only upon a
showing that [it] knew or, in the exercise of reasonable
care, should have known of the ruin, vice, or defect which
caused the damage, that the damage could have been prevented
by the exercise of reasonable care, and that [it] failed to
exercise such reasonable care.”).
for the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED
that the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 20), unopposed by
Plaintiff Inga Myles, is GRANTED, and all
claims asserted by Myles are DISMISS ...