Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Reeves v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

January 12, 2018

LINDA REEVES and STEVEN REEVES, Plaintiffs,
v.
HOME DEPOT, U.S.A., INC. d/b/a THE HOME DEPOT Defendant.

          ORDER

          SAM SPARKS, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         BE IT REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the above-styled cause, and specifically Defendant Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc. d/b/a The Home Depot (Home Depot)'s Motion for Summary Judgment [#27], Plaintiffs Linda and Steven Reeves's Response [#35] in opposition, and Home Depot's Reply [#43] in support. Having reviewed the documents, the governing law, and the file as a whole, the Court now enteres the following opinion and order.

         Background

         On October 19, 2015, Linda and Steven Reeves were shopping in a Home Depot in Kyle, Texas. Resp. Mot. Summ. J. [#35] at 1. While browsing the cabinet aisle of the Home Depot, Plaintiffs encountered an unattended "order picker." Mot. Summ. J. [#27-1] Ex. B (Linda Reeves Dep.) at 16.[1] An order picker is a type of drivable lift equipment similar to a forklift which is used to load and unload merchandise in store aisles. Resp. Mot. Summ. J. [#35] at 1 n.l. It is a large piece of machinery. Linda Reeves Dep. at 16. Instead of forks, order pickers have a platform that extends forward from the front of the machine. Id. at 13.

         Linda Reeves immediately noticed the order picker when she stepped into the cabinet aisle, and in her deposition, she described the order picker as a "big, colorful machine." Id. at 13, 16. After spotting the order picker, Linda Reeves walked around it and proceeded to the end of the aisle. Id. at 16-17. She then turned around and retraced her steps, walking past the order picker for a second time. Id. at 16-17. Linda Reeves then reversed course again and began to walk down the aisle past the order picker for a third time, this time accompanied by her husband. Id. at 16-17. On this third trip past the order picker, Linda Reeves tripped over the end of the order picker's platform and fell to the ground, fracturing her right shoulder. Id. at 16-17; Resp. Mot. Summ. J. [#35] at 2.

         In her deposition, Linda Reeves testified that she had not noticed the platform of the order picker because she was distracted looking at the cabinets on the shelves and because the platform "was not as colorful" as the order picker itself. Linda Reeves Dep. at 18; see also Resp. Mot. Summ. J. [#35-1] Ex. A at 6-7 (testifying platform was the same color as Home Depot's concrete floor). At the time of the incident, the platform of the order picker was empty of merchandise. Linda Reeves Dep. at 18. Home Depot had not placed any cones or flags on the end of the platform to draw it to the attention of its shoppers. Resp. Mot. Summ. J. [#35] at 2.

         Following Linda's injury, the Reeveses brought premises liability, negligent activity, and loss of consortium claims against Home Depot in state court. Notice Removal [#1-2] Ex. B-2 (Original Pet.). The action was subsequently removed to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, and Home Depot has moved for summary judgment. Not. Removal [#1]; Mot. Summ. J. [#27]. This pending motion is now ripe for review.

         Analysis

         I. Legal Standard

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment shall be rendered when the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-25 (1986); Washburn v. Harvey, 504 F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir. 2007). A dispute regarding a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to view all inferences drawn from the factual record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Washburn, 504 F.3d at 508. Further, a court "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); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254-55.

         Once the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the party opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary judgment evidence establishing the existence of a genuine fact issue. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Mere conclusory allegations are not competent summary judgment evidence, and thus are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007). Unsubstantiated assertions, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation are not competent summary judgment evidence. Id. The party opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner in which that evidence supports his claim. Adams v. Travelers Indent. Co. of Conn., 465 F.3d 156, 164 (5 th Cir. 2006). Rule 56 does not impose a duty on the court to "sift through the record in search of evidence" to support the nonmovant's opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Id.

         "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing laws will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Disputed fact issues that are "irrelevant and unnecessary" will not be considered by a court in ruling on a summary judgment motion. Id. If the nonmoving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to its case and on which it will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must be granted. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.

         A ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.