Linda Adams and Stacy King, on Behalf of Her Minor Child, D.K.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Store #542
Appealed from the Thirty-Second Judicial District Court In
and for the Parish of Terrebonne • State of Louisiana
Docket Number 175888 • Division "A" The
Honorable George J. Larke, Jr., Presiding Judge
G. Johnson, Jr. Jennifer O. Robinson Sophia Riley Derek E.
Elsey Baton Rouge, Louisiana ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS
PLAINTIFFS- Linda Adams and Stacy King, on behalf of her
minor child, D.K.
A. Tafaro Isidro Rene Derojas Christopher James -Lomax New
Orleans, Louisiana ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES DEFENDANTS-
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart Louisiana, L.L.C.
Before: McClendon, Welch, and Holdridge, JJ.
patron appeals a summary judgment dismissing her slip and
fall suit against the store. The trial court determined the
patron failed to produce factual evidence to establish that
she could carry her burden of proof at trial under the
Merchant Liability Statute, La. R.S. 9:2800.6. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Adams filed suit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Store #542 ("Wal-Mart"), claiming she was injured
on November 29, 2014, when she slipped and fell in a liquid
substance on the floor at the Wal-Mart in Houma, Louisiana.
After answering, Wal-Mart filed a motion for summary judgment
claiming the plaintiffs could not prove that Wal-Mart created
the condition or had actual or constructive notice of the
liquid substance on the floor. The plaintiffs opposed
Wal-Mart's motion. After a hearing, the trial court
signed a judgment on August 14, 2018, granting Wal-Mart's
motion and dismissing the plaintiffs' claims with
prejudice. The plaintiffs appeal, contending the trial court
erred in granting summary judgment.
must be rendered in Wal-Mart's favor, as the mover, if
the pleadings, memoranda, affidavits, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, certified medical records, written
stipulations, and admissions show that there is no genuine
issue as to material fact and that Wal-Mart is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. La. C.C.P. art. 966(A)(3) and
burden of proof on a motion for summary judgment rests with
the mover, Wal-Mart. La. C.C.P. art. 966(D)(1). In this
matter, Wal-Mart will not bear the burden of proof at trial;
that burden of proof at trial rests with the plaintiffs.
Accordingly, once the motion for summary judgment has been
properly supported, then under La. C.C.P. art. 966(D)(1),
Wal-Mart need only point out to the trial court the absence
of factual support for one or more elements essential to the
plaintiffs' slip and fall claim.
the burden shifts to the plaintiffs to produce factual
support sufficient to establish the existence of a genuine
issue of material fact, or that Wal-Mart is not entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See La. C.C.P. art.
966(D)(1). The plaintiffs may not rest on the mere
allegations of denials in their pleadings, but their
responses must set forth specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial. If the plaintiffs do not so
respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be rendered
against them. See La. C.C.P. art. 967(B).
once the motion for summary judgment has been properly
supported by Wal-Mart, the failure of the plaintiffs to
produce evidence of a material factual dispute mandates the
granting of the motion. See Holt v. Torino,
2012-1579 (La.App. 1st Cir. 4/26/13), 117 So.3d
182, 184, writ denied, 2013-1161 (La. 8/30/13), 120
So.3d 267. If, however, Wal-Mart fails in its burden to show
an absence of factual support for one or more of the elements
of the plaintiffs' slip and fall claim, the burden never
shifts to the plaintiffs, and Wal-Mart is not entitled to
summary judgment. See Mitchell v. Aaron's
Rentals, 2016-0619 (La.App. 1st Cir.
4/12/17), 218 So.3d 167, 172.
determining whether summary judgment is appropriate,
appellate courts review evidence de novo under the
same criteria that govern the trial court's determination
of whether summary judgment is appropriate. Juge v.
Springfield Wellness, L.L.C., 2018-0736 (La.App.