United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
ANASTASIA SINEGAL, ET AL.
PNK (LAKE CHARLES), LLC
D. CAIN, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [doc. 12]
and Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 31] filed under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 by defendant PNK (Lake Charles),
LLC ("PNK") and former defendant Cheryl Tezeno.
Plaintiffs Anastasia Sinegal and Lewis Dervis oppose both
suit arises from injuries that plaintiff Anastasia Sinegal
allegedly sustained at L'Auberge Casino Resort in Lake
Charles, Louisiana, on the morning of May 6, 2017. Sinegal
approached a slot machine on the casino floor. See
doc. 31, att. 4, at 08:52 (L'Auberge security footage).
In the brief time Sinegal's back was turned, a
L'Auberge employee operating a carpet sweeper turned from
the perpendicular aisle into the aisle behind the row of
machines where Sinegal was standing. Id. Sinegal
turned around and began walking away from the slot machines,
at which time she tripped over the carpet sweeper and fell to
the ground. Id.
and her husband, Lewis Dervis, filed suit against PNK and the
employee (later identified as Cheryl Tezeno) in the
Fourteenth Judicial District Court, Calcasieu Parish,
Louisiana. Doc. 1, att. 1. PNK removed the action to this
court, alleging that there was no basis for Tezeno's
liability and that she had been improperly joined to the suit
to defeat the court's diversity jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1332. Doc. 1. They also moved for partial
summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the claims against
Tezeno. Doc. 12.
moved to remand the matter. Doc. 9. The court denied the
motion, finding that Tezeno was improperly joined and
dismissing the claims against her, but has not ruled on the
motion for partial summary judgment. See docs. 28,
33. Before that ruling, PNK and Tezeno also moved for summary
judgment seeking dismissal of all claims in the matter. Doc.
31. They assert, in relevant part, that plaintiffs will not
be able to show that PNK is liable under Louisiana's
Merchant Liability Act. Doc. 31, att. 1. Plaintiffs oppose
the motion and PNK has filed a reply. Docs. 34, 36.
should grant a motion for summary judgment when 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. The party moving for
summary judgment is initially responsible for identifying
portions of pleadings and discovery that show the lack of a
genuine issue of material fact. Tubacex, Inc. v. M/V
Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1995). The court must
deny the motion for summary judgment if the movant fails to
meet this burden. Id.
movant makes this showing, however, the burden then shifts to
the non-moving party to "set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986) (quotations omitted). This requires more than mere
allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings.
Instead, the nonmovant must submit "significant
probative evidence" in support of his claim. State
Farm Life Ins. Co. v. Gutterman, 896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th
Cir. 1990). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is
not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence
in ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,530 U.S. 133, 150
(2000). The court is also required to view all evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Clift v.
Gift,210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). Under this
standard, a genuine issue of material fact exists if a