Appealed from the Third Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Lincoln, Louisiana Trial Court No. 59352 Honorable
Bruce Edward Hampton, Judge
MCKERNAN INJURY ATTORNEYS By: Harold Dean Lucius, Jr. Counsel
BLANCHARD, WALKER, O'QUINN & ROBERTS By: Stacey
Denise Williams Scott R. Wolf Counsel for Appellee
WILLIAMS, PITMAN, and STONE, JJ.
Lanette Lewis ("Ms. Lewis"), appeals the trial
court decision granting summary judgment in favor of
defendant, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ("Wal-Mart"),
finding that there are no genuine issues of material fact
with respect to the temporal period in an action to impose
merchant liability. For the following reasons, we reverse and
remand for further proceedings.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
December 27, 2017, Ms. Lewis filed suit against Wal-Mart and
its liability insurer, XYZ Insurance Company, under the
merchant theory of liability pursuant to La. R.S.
9:2800.6. Ms. Lewis alleged that on or about January
2, 2017, she began shopping at Wal-Mart Store #23 located in
Ruston, Louisiana, between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. She
completed her shopping and attempted to pay for her items at
a register in the garden center, but was redirected by a
sales associate to complete her purchase at a cash register
located at the front of the store instead. As she was walking
from the garden center toward the front of the store, she
slipped in a puddle of water on the floor in or near the
pharmacy department and sustained severe and painful
February 8, 2018, Wal-Mart filed its answer, denying any
liability for Ms. Lewis' injuries, and further alleged
that Ms. Lewis' own failure to keep a proper lookout,
observe her surroundings, and exercise reasonable care for
the safety and protection of her own person, were the causes
of her injuries. Wal-Mart filed a motion for summary judgment
on December 11, 2018, arguing that Ms. Lewis cannot carry her
burden of proving that "the defendant either created the
condition or had actual or constructive notice of the
condition which caused the damage prior to the
hearing on Wal-Mart's motion for summary judgment was
held on February 14, 2019, after which time the trial court
took the matter under advisement. On April 8, 2019, the trial
court issued its "Reasons on Ruling," finding that
based on the law and evidence presented, there remains no
genuine issues of material fact with respect to the temporal
period, and summary judgment is appropriate. The trial court
filed its written judgment to that effect on May 3, 2019. Ms.
Lewis filed this instant appeal.
single assignment of error, Ms. Lewis argues that the trial
court was incorrect in granting Wal-Mart's motion for
summary judgment, finding that there are no genuine issues of
material fact present to be decided by the trier of fact. She
contends that the trial court failed to consider the written
discovery she submitted in opposition which would preclude
granting summary judgment. We agree.
motion for summary judgment is a procedural device used when
there is no genuine issue of material fact for all or part of
the relief prayed for by a litigant. Samaha v. Rau,
2007-1726 (La. 02/26/08), 977 So.2d 880; Chesney v.
Entergy La., L.L.C., 51, 718 (La.App. 2 Cir. 11/15/17),
245 So.3d 281, writ denied, 2017-2095 (La. 2/9/18);
Driver Pipeline Co., Inc. v. Cadeville Gas Storage,
L.L.C., 49, 375 (La.App. 2 Cir. 10/01/14), 150 So.3d
492, writ denied, 2014-2304 (La. 01/23/15), 159
So.3d 1058. On appeal, a trial court's ruling on a motion
for summary judgment is reviewed pursuant to the de novo
standard of review. Jones v. Estate of Santiago,
03-1424 (La. 04/14/04), 870 So.2d 1002; Chesney,
supra; Henderson v. Union Pac. R.R., 41, 596
(La.App. 2 Cir. 11/15/06), 942 So.2d 1259.
courts review summary judgments under the same criteria that
govern the district court's consideration of whether
summary judgment is appropriate. Schroeder v. Board of
Sup'rs of La. State Univ., 591 So.2d 342 (La. 1991);
Weaver v. City of Shreveport, 52, 407 (La.App. 2
Cir. 12/19/18), 261 So.3d 1082; Chesney, supra; Lewis v.
Coleman, 48, 173 (La.App. 2 Cir. 06/26/13), 118 So.3d
492, writ ...