United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
MARTIN[L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are two motions by the defendant: (1) motion for
summary judgment; and (2) motion for partial summary judgment
on the absence of medical causation and motion in
limine. For the reasons that follow, the motion for
summary judgment is GRANTED, and the motion for partial
summary judgment on the absence of medical causation and
motion in limine are DENIED as MOOT.
premises liability lawsuit arises from the plaintiff's
allegations that she was injured after slipping on silicon
packets on the shoe aisle floor at a Dollar General store.
16, 2017, Cheryl Pledger and her sister went shopping for
“beach slippers” at a Dollar General store in
Houma, Louisiana. After being in the store for about five
minutes, Ms. Pledger slipped and fell in the shoe aisle.
After she fell, she saw silicon packets on the
floor. Ms. Pledger was on the floor for only a
few seconds and she was able to stand up on her own.
Meanwhile, Ms. Pledger's sister went to find a Dollar
General employee. The employee, Ms. May, checked on Ms.
Pledger and then alerted the store manager of the incident.
The manager asked Ms. Pledger questions, including whether
she wanted an ambulance (she declined), and completed an
incident report. About 10 minutes after her alleged fall, Ms.
Pledger went home.
January 3, 2018, Ms. Pledger sued Dollar General Louisiana,
LLC in state court, alleging that Dollar General's
negligence caused her accident. Alleging that the fall caused
injuries to her hands, right leg, right thigh, left elbow,
and left wrist, she seeks to recover for past and future
medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental pain
and anguish. DG Louisiana, LLC removed the lawsuit to this
Court, invoking the Court's diversity jurisdiction. The
defendant now moves for summary judgment.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 instructs that summary judgment is
proper if the record discloses no genuine dispute as to any
material fact such that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. No. genuine dispute of fact
exists if the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.
See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). A genuine dispute of
fact exists only "if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Court emphasizes that the mere argued existence of a factual
dispute does not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion. See id. Therefore, "[i]f the evidence
is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative,"
summary judgment is appropriate. Id. at 249-50
(citations omitted). Summary judgment is also proper if the
party opposing the motion fails to establish an essential
element of his case. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). In this regard, the non-moving
party must do more than simply deny the allegations raised by
the moving party. See Donaghey v. Ocean Drilling &
Exploration Co., 974 F.2d 646, 649 (5th Cir. 1992).
Rather, he must come forward with competent evidence, such as
affidavits or depositions, to buttress his claims.
Id. Hearsay evidence and unsworn documents that
cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in
evidence at trial do not qualify as competent opposing
evidence. Martin v. John W. Stone Oil Distrib.,
Inc., 819 F.2d 547, 549 (5th Cir. 1987); Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(2). "[T]he nonmoving party cannot defeat summary
judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated
assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence."
Hathaway v. Bazany, 507 F.3d 312, 319 (5th Cir.
2007)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In
deciding whether a fact issue exists, courts must view the
facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris,
550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). Although the Court must
"resolve factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving
party," it must do so "only where there is an
actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted
evidence of contradictory facts." Antoine v. First
Student, Inc., 713 F.3d 824, 830 (5th Cir.
2013)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
law governs this diversity case. Louisiana Revised Statute
§ 9:2800.6 establishes the plaintiff's burden of
proof in slip and fall claims against merchants like Dollar
A. A merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to
exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and
floors in a reasonably safe condition. This duty includes a
reasonable effort to keep the premises free of any ...