United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
Charles B. Day United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
(“Defendant's Motion”), ECF No. 15. The Court
has reviewed Defendant's Motion, the opposition thereto,
and Defendant's Reply. No. hearing is deemed necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion.
August 3, 2018, Plaintiff suffered a slip-and-fall accident
at the Shoppers Food Warehouse, LLC (“Shoppers”)
located in Clinton, Maryland, operated and controlled by
Defendant. Compl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 1. According to
Plaintiff's deposition testimony, she was walking through
an aisle of the store with her son and grandchildren when she
stepped in a puddle of water and fell. Pinto Dep. 25:15-17,
29:8-30:20, ECF No. 15-2. Plaintiff does not know the source
of the water or how long it was on the floor before the
accident. Id. at 33:10- 14. Plaintiff further stated
that she had no reason to believe that Shoppers employees
knew that there was water on the floor. Id. at
33:15-34:6. Plaintiff also stated that after she fell, she
did not talk to any of the employees. Id. at
with Plaintiff at the time of the accident, Plaintiff's
son Rafael Huertas (“Huertas”) also testified
that he did not notice any water on the floor while walking
through the area in which Plaintiff fell. Huertas Dep.
14:5-8, ECF No. 15-3. Huertas stated that he had no idea
where the water came from or how long it was on the floor.
Id. at 20:10-13. Huertas further stated that he had
no reason to believe that Shoppers employees knew that there
was water on the floor before the accident. Id. at
Hunter, the co-manager of the store at the time of the
accident, testified that he responded to the occurrence and
found a small puddle of water near Plaintiff, but that he was
unable to locate the source of the water. Hunter Dep.
10:13-18, 21:10-12, ECF. No. 15-4. Shoppers employee Gervey
Letherbury (“Letherbury”) testified that
approximately five to ten minutes prior to Plaintiff's
fall, he had cleaned up another spill which was on the other
side of the same aisle. Letherbury Dep. 15:15-18, ECF No.
15-5. After cleaning the prior spill, Letherbury testified
that he walked up and down the aisle to make sure he did not
miss a spot and did not find any water on the floor.
Id. at 12:15-14:12, 17:17-18, 25:20-26:18.
the fall, Plaintiff alleges that she sustained significant
injuries to her hip, left arm, and her entire left side.
Pinto Dep. 43:5-44:10; Compl. ¶ 5. Defendant now moves
for summary judgment.
Standard of Review
may grant summary judgment “if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A court must construe
the facts alleged and reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369
U.S. 654, 655 (1962).
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party
must demonstrate that no genuine issue of fact exists and
that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Pulliam Inv. Co., Inc. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d
1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). The moving party bears the
initial burden of “informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of
‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.”
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. “[T]he burden
on the moving party may be discharged by ‘showing'
- that is, pointing out to the district court - that there is
an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case.” Id. at 325.
the moving party discharges its burden . . . the nonmoving
party must come forward with specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Kitchen v.
Upshaw, 286 F.3d 179, 182 (4th Cir. 2002). Where the
nonmoving party has the burden of proof, it is that
party's responsibility to confront the motion for summary
judgment with affirmative evidence. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986). “The
disputed facts must be material to an issue necessary for the
proper resolution of the case.” Everett, Inc. v.
Nat'l Cable Adver., L.P., 57 F.3d 1317, 1323 (4th
Cir. 1995). There must be “sufficient evidence favoring
the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations
alleges that Defendant's negligence in failing to warn
patrons of an existing hazard, and failure to properly
“maintain the premises of the store in a safe and
prudent manner” caused Plaintiff's injuries. Compl.
¶ 7. Defendant argues that summary judgment should be
granted in its favor because Plaintiff failed to produce
enough evidence to support ...