United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
AMBER BOWLES, ET AL.
DG LOUISIANA, LLC
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KAY
D. CAIN, JR., JUDGE
the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 15] filed by
defendant DG Louisiana, LLC (“Dollar General”),
in response to the personal injury suit brought by plaintiffs
Matthew and Amber Bowles. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. Doc.
suit arises from injuries allegedly suffered by plaintiff
Amber Bowles when she slipped while shopping at a Dollar
General store in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on March 6, 2017.
See doc. 1, att. 1. She contends that the floor was
slippery because of shampoo that had spilled or leaked, and
that there was no wet floor sign present. Id. at
¶ 3. Ms. Bowles and her husband, Matthew Bowles, filed
suit in the Fourteenth Judicial District Court, Calcasieu
Parish, Louisiana, seeking to hold Dollar General liable for
her injuries under the Louisiana Merchant Liability Act.
Dollar General then removed the suit to this court on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
General now moves for summary judgment, alleging that
plaintiffs cannot satisfy their burden of showing that it had
actual or constructive notice of the alleged spill. Doc. 15;
doc. 15, att. 1. It also asserts that some of plaintiffs'
evidence - namely, statements from witness Patricia Runnels -
must be disregarded as inadmissible hearsay. Id.
Plaintiffs oppose the motion and argue that genuine issues of
material fact exist as to whether Dollar General had
constructive notice of the condition. Doc. 17. In the
alternative, they request that the court delay consideration
of the motion under Rule 56(d) so that they might have
additional time to conduct discovery. Id.
Rule 56(a), “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment
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.” The moving party 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). He may meet his burden by pointing out
“the absence of evidence supporting the nonmoving
party's case.” Malacara v. Garber, 353
F.3d 393, 404 (5th Cir. 2003). The non-moving party is then
required to go beyond the pleadings and show that there is a
genuine issue of material fact for trial. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To this
end he 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.
Clift, 210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). Under this
standard, a genuine issue of material fact exists if a
reasonable trier of fact could render a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Brumfield v. Hollins, 551 F.3d 322,
326 (5th Cir. 2008).