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.

Jimenez v. CRST Specialized Transportation Management, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

September 30, 2016

RICARDO JIMENEZ and GLADYS HUERTAS, Plaintiffs,
v.
CRST SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT, INC., and AL THOMPSON, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          RUDY LOZANO, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on: (1) Plaintiff Ricardo Jimenez' Partial Motion for Summary Judgment, filed on October 13, 2015 (DE #77); and (2) Defendants' Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, filed on November 13, 2015 (DE #80). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff Ricardo Jimenez' Partial Motion for Summary Judgment (DE #77) is DENIED, and Defendants' Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Plaintiff Ricardo Jimenez' claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count IX of the Amended Complaint) is DISMISSED.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         On October 7, 2013, Plaintiffs Ricardo Jimenez (“Jimenez”) and Gladys Huertas (“Huertas”) initiated this action in the Allen Circuit/Superior Court. The case was removed to federal court and subsequently amended. The Amended Complaint alleges nine counts against two Defendants (CRST Specialized Transportation Management, Inc. (“CRST”) and Al Thompson): negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent retention, negligence based on failure to warn of dangerous premises, assault and battery, tortious interference with a business relationship/expectancy, tortious interference with contract relations, loss of consortium, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed all claims except the assault and battery, loss of consortium, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. Following the close of discovery, Jimenez filed the instant motion for partial summary judgment. Jimenez seeks summary judgment on his claims for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress only. In response, Defendants have filed a cross-motion seeking summary judgment in their favor on Jimenez' claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The instant motions are now fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.

         DISCUSSION

         Summary judgment must be granted when “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 genuine dispute of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Not every dispute between the parties makes summary judgment inappropriate; “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Id. In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, the deciding court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Ogden v. Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010). “However, our favor toward the nonmoving party does not extend to drawing inferences that are supported by only speculation or conjecture.” Fitzgerald v. Santoro, 707 F.3d 725, 730 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Harper v. C.R. Eng., Inc., 687 F.3d 297, 306 (7th Cir. 2012)).

         A party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion may not rely on allegations or denials in his own pleading, but rather must “marshal and present the court with the evidence” that he contends will prove the case. Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). If the non-moving party fails to establish the existence of an essential element on which he or she bears the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment is proper. Massey v. Johnson, 457 F.3d 711, 716 (7th Cir. 2006). Where the parties file cross-motions for summary judgment, the court must consider each motion; but despite the parties' agreement that no genuine dispute of material fact exists, the court can deny all motions if the parties do not establish their rights to judgment as a matter of law. Grabach v. Evans, 196 F.Supp.2d 746, 747 (N.D. Ind. 2002).

         Facts

         Jimenez entered into a contract with CRST to provide over-the-road trucking services. (Jimenez Dep. at 47-48). Jimenez was required to attend a driver orientation program at CRST's facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from January 7, 2013, through January 11, 2013. (Id. at 51-54). Al Thomson (“Thomson”)[2] was assigned to teach the driver orientation training classes. (Id. at 56). Carol Hollingsworth (“Hollingsworth”) and James Stewart (“Stewart”) also attended those classes. (Id.).

         On the fourth day of the driver orientation class, while Thomson was discussing cargo handling and showing trailers to the three drivers, an incident occurred that led to both an internal complaint and this lawsuit. (Id. at 70; Hollingsworth Dep. at 16-19). While Thomson was teaching, Hollingsworth asked Jimenez a question about an electrical connection or cord on the trailer. (Jimenez Dep. at 70; Hollingsworth Dep. at 16). Jimenez took Hollingsworth to the front of the trailer to show Hollingsworth where the electrical cord was plugged in. (Hollingsworth Dep. at 16).

         At this point, Jimenez' and Thomson's versions of events begin to differ. According to Jimenez, while he was answering the question, Thomson charged at him with two fingers raised and shouted: “[Y]ou motherfucker... [i]f you want to teach this class, if you want my job, you need to come over here and teach this class.”[3] (Jimenez Dep. at 70). He then pushed his fingers into Jimenez' chest, causing Jimenez to move backwards. (Id.). Jimenez told Thomson: “Don't you ever put your hands on me again.” (Id.).

         According to Defendants, Thomson raised his voice to Jimenez, pointed his finger at Jimenez, and a sharp verbal exchange occurred between the two men. (Thomson Dec. ¶¶ 3-6). Thomson does not recall using profanity during this exchange. (Thomson Dec. ¶ 5; Thomson Dep. at 20). He also does not recall making any physical contact with Jimenez during the exchange. (Thomson Dec. ¶ 6; Thomson Dep. at 20). After the exchange, the class continued uneventfully. (Stewart Dep. at 64, 68; Hollingsworth Dep. at 30; Thomson Dec. ¶ 7).

         Thomson claims that, at the point the incident occurred, Jimenez had already interrupted class several times that day. (Thomson Dec. ¶ 3). According to Thomson, his purpose in engaging in this exchange was to re-direct Jimenez' attention and continue with the portion of the class so they could get out of the cold. (Thomson Dec. ¶ 4, Thomson Dep. at 20). Jimenez denies that he interrupted class. (Jimenez Dep. at 111-12).

         CRST's Driver Support Manager, Camille Smith, investigated this incident and determined that a physical altercation had taken place between Thomson and Jimenez. (Smith Dep. at 21-29). Defendants point out, however, that Camille Smith determined that “some type of contact” occurred, but “not to the extent that [Jimenez] was pushed or shoved.” (Smith Dep. at 27).

         Jimenez asserts that he has received treatment from a mental health professional since ...


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.