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Williams v. Meijer Stores Limited Partnership

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 26, 2019

TERESA WILLIAMS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MEIJER STORES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP d/b/a MEIJER, et al., Defendants.

          ENTRY ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge

         This cause is before the Court on the motions for summary judgment filed by Defendants FacilitySource, LLC (“FacilitySource”) (Dkt. No. 21) and Meijer Stores Limited Partnership (“Meijer) (Dkt. No. 42). The motions are ripe for review, and the Court, being duly advised, DENIES the motions for the reasons set forth below.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On December 15, 2015, FacilitySource and Meijer executed a Master Services Agreement (“MSA”), pursuant to which FacilitySource agreed to provide services to Meijer as described in a statement of work. On October 4, 2016, FacilitySource and Meijer executed a statement of work (“SOW”) for snow and ice management.

         On December 13, 2016, the Indianapolis, Indiana area received 3.9 inches of snow. On December 14, 2016, Brownsburg Plowing, a subcontractor of FacilitySource, performed snow and ice removal services at the Meijer grocery store located at 10841 E. U.S. 36 in Avon, Indiana. On December 16, 2016, Plaintiff Teresa Williams slipped, fell, and was injured while walking between cars in the Meijer parking lot.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's favor. Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”). However, a party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must show what evidence it has that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Meijer's Motion for Summary Judgment

         The Plaintiffs allege that Mrs. Williams's fall and resulting injuries were caused by the Defendants' negligence. “In Indiana, the tort of negligence is comprised of three elements: (1) a duty on the part of defendant in relation to the plaintiff; (2) the defendant's breach of that duty; and (3) an injury to the plaintiff resulting from that failure.” Kolozsvari v. Doe, 943 N.E.2d 823, 826-27 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011).

         For the purposes of this motion, both the Plaintiffs and Meijer agree that the Mrs.

         Williams was an invitee. In determining the standard of care owed to invitees, the parties look to Section 343 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which states that:

A possessor of land is subject to liability for physical harm caused to his invitees by a condition on the land if, but only if, he
(a) knows or by the exercise of reasonable care would discover the condition, and should realize that it involves an unreasonable ...

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