United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
GEIGER LEWIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tammy Payne (Plaintiff) filed this lawsuit as an action for
negligence and wanton and willful conduct against Defendant
Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P. (Defendant). The Court has
jurisdiction over the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Pending before the Court is Defendant's motion for
summary judgment under Federal Civil Procedure Rule 56.
Having carefully considered the motion, the response, the
reply, the record, and the applicable law, it is the judgment
of the Court Defendant's motion for summary judgment will
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
shopping at Walmart store #1382 in Greenwood, South Carolina
on October 24, 2014, Plaintiff slipped on a foreign substance
on the floor, which she later learned to be milk. Plaintiff
alleges she sustained injuries to her right knee and hips and
subsequently her left knee and back as a result of the
incident. Plaintiff failed to see milk on the floor prior to
her fall and could not quantify how much milk was on the
floor, how long the milk had been on the floor, or how the
milk came to be on the floor. Surveillance video from October
24, 2014, shows a child dropped a carton of milk on the floor
four minutes prior to Plaintiff's fall. Plaintiff lacks
knowledge of any Walmart employee having notice of the milk
on the floor prior to her fall.
filed her Complaint in this action on May 16, 2016, in the
Greenwood County Court of Common Pleas. In the Complaint, she
alleges claims for negligence and wanton and willful conduct
against Defendant. Defendant timely filed its Answer and
Notice of Removal on June 23, 2016.
subsequently filed its motion for summary judgment on May 4,
2017. Plaintiff filed her response in opposition to
Defendant's motion for summary judgment on May 28, 2017,
to which Defendant filed its reply on June 1, 2017. The
Court, having been fully briefed on the relevant issues, is
now prepared to make a determination on the merits of the
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is only appropriate “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In deciding whether a genuine issue of
material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is
to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn
in his favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The moving party has the burden of
proving summary judgment is appropriate. Once the moving
party makes this showing, however, the opposing party may not
rest upon mere allegations or denials, but rather must, by
affidavits or other means permitted by the Rule, set forth
specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A party asserting
a fact is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by
“citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A litigant “cannot create a
genuine issue of material fact through mere speculation or
the building of one inference upon another.” Beale
v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985). Therefore,
“[m]ere unsupported speculation . . . is not enough to
defeat a summary judgment motion.” Ennis v.
Nat'l Ass'n of Bus. & Educ. Radio, Inc., 53
F.3d 55, 62 (4th Cir. 1995).
the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier
of fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by
summary judgment is appropriate.” Teamsters Joint
Council No. 83 v. Centra, Inc., 947 F.2d 115, 119 (4th
Cir. 1996). “Summary judgment is proper only when it is
clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of
the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those
facts.” Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810
F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). The court must determine
“whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Defendant's motion for summary judgment, it first alleges
Plaintiff has failed to create any genuine issue of material
fact regarding whether Defendant created the hazard.
Defendant also maintains Plaintiff alleges no facts that show
Defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the
milk's presence on the floor but failed to remove it.
disputes each ...