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Parker v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

January 31, 2019

William L. Parker, Plaintiff,
v.
Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Defendant. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
Danny Blue, Third-Party Defendant

          ORDER

          DONALD C. COGGINS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and to Strike Plaintiff's Expert's Opinions and Supplemental Report and Plaintiff's Motion for Relief Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). ECF Nos. 24, 38, 45. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition the Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Expert's Opinions and Supplemental Report and a Response in Opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment; Defendant filed a Reply. ECF Nos. 35, 37, 43. Defendant filed a Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Relief Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). ECF No. 55. A hearing on the Motions was held on November 28, 2018.[1] ECF No. 53.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brought this action alleging negligence, gross negligence, and premises liability in the Pickens County, South Carolina Court of Common Pleas. Defendant filed a timely Notice of Removal.

         On September 8, 2014, Plaintiff and two companions stopped at Murphy Oil USA, Inc., gas station in Central, South Carolina to fill up a pontoon boat. ECF Nos. 1-1 at 3; 24-2 at 12. Danny Blue, Plaintiff's brother-in-law, began dispensing gas by engaging the “hold open” latch so that the fuel would dispense automatically. ECF Nos. 24-2 at 13; 24-3 at 7-8. Plaintiff realized that gasoline was overflowing onto the ground, creating an approximately six-foot puddle, so he returned the nozzle to the pump. Id. at 14. He retrieved some paper towels from approximately five feet away, walked back to dry off the boat, and then threw the paper towels away. Id. He returned to the pump and retrieved the receipt; when he turned to hand it to Blue, he slipped and broke his ankle. Id. at 14-15. Plaintiff contends that there was an existing oil stain on the concrete that mixed with the gasoline and created a slippery surface. Id. at 15; ECF No. 1-1 at 4.

         APPLICABLE LAW

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Rule 56 states, as to a party who has moved for summary judgment, “[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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or non-existence would affect disposition of the case under applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if the evidence offered is such that a reasonable jury might return a verdict for the non-movant. Id. at 257. When determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).

         The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings. Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, the existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is insufficient to withstand the summary judgment motion. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. Likewise, conclusory allegations or denials, without more, are insufficient to preclude granting the summary judgment motion. Ross v. Commc'ns Satellite Corp., 759 F.2d 355, 365 (4th Cir.1985), overruled on other grounds, 490 U.S. 228 (1989). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Further, Rule 56 provides in pertinent part:

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) 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; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). Accordingly, when Rule 56(c) has shifted the burden of proof to the non-movant, he must produce existence of a factual dispute on every element essential to his action that he bears the burden of adducing at a trial on the merits.

         South ...


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