United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
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.
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.
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
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).
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”) was assigned to teach the driver
orientation training classes. (Id. at 56). Carol
Hollingsworth (“Hollingsworth”) and James Stewart
(“Stewart”) also attended those classes.
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).
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.” (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
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).
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
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).
asserts that he has received treatment from a mental health
professional since ...