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Roberson v. McDonald Transit Assocs., Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

November 12, 2013

CARROL D. ROBERSON, PLAINTIFF
v.
MCDONALD TRANSIT ASSOCIATES, INC., DEFENDANT

Carrol D. Roberson, Plaintiff, Pro se, Oxford, MS.

For McDonald Transit Associates, Inc., Defendant: Nicholas E. Bragorgos, LEAD ATTORNEY, MCNABB BRAGORGOS & BURGESS, PLLC, Memphis, TN.

OPINION

Page 708

MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE SUMMARY JUDGMENT EVIDENCE,[1]DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING, AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Glen H. Davidson, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Presently before the Court are the following: Plaintiff's motion to strike summary judgment evidence [82], Plaintiff's motion for an evidentiary hearing [85], and Defendant's motion for summary judgment [65]. After careful review of the motions, responses, attachments, and entire record, the Court finds that Plaintiff's motion to strike [82] should be denied; Plaintiff's motion for an evidentiary hearing [85] should be denied; and Defendant's motion for summary judgment [65] should be granted.

A. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff Carrol D. Roberson (" Plaintiff" ), who is proceeding pro se, is a 71-year-old retired pilot and aircraft mechanic who is attending classes at the University of Mississippi on a senior scholarship program. This action arises out of alleged injuries sustained by Plaintiff while riding an Oxford University Transit bus (the " bus" ) operated by Defendant McDonald Transit Associates, Inc. (" Defendant" ). Plaintiff alleges that while riding the bus on April 6, 2011 " a bus driver assistant" who was sitting two rows in front of Plaintiff on the opposite aisle named Jerry Pegues (" Pegues" ) assaulted Plaintiff by striking him on his right knee four times with a closed fist. Pl.'s Compl. [1] ¶ 17; Pl.'s Dep. [66-1] at 26. As a result of the alleged incident, Plaintiff claims that he suffered serious injuries to his back and knee, as well as mental anguish. Pl.'s Compl. [1] ¶ 17. Plaintiff also alleges that before the alleged assault he became concerned that several bus drivers were driving unsafely and that there was inadequate bus maintenance; he alleges he privately voiced his concerns to the general manager of the bus orally and via " 'confidential' written reports." Id. ¶ ¶ 8, 10. Plaintiff claims that Defendant " rejected outright" his concerns, id. ¶ 8; " set out to destroy [Plaintiff] through whatever means available" and " to force Plaintiff to discontinue riding [the bus]," id. ¶ 13; " creat[ed] fear [among bus drivers and mechanics] that jobs would be lost if Plaintiff continued making complaints," id. ¶ 14; and " through

Page 709

the rumor circle of drivers and friends of drivers, spread false and damaging rumors against Plaintiff which included the assertions that Plaintiff is a 'Negro Hater,' a 'Homosexual Hater,' and a felon," id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff further asserts that some of the bus drivers " began to harass and intimidate Plaintiff while a passenger aboard the bus by partially closing the bus door expecting Plaintiff to collide with it, accelerating the bus before Plaintiff had time to be seated, and sometimes passing on by a bus stop where Plaintiff was waiting alone to catch the bus." Id. ¶ 16.[2]

On April 5, 2013, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment [65]. Plaintiff filed a response, and Defendant filed a reply. Plaintiff then filed a motion for the Court to extend discovery deadlines so that the parties could further engage in discovery prior to a ruling on the motion for summary judgment; the Court entered an Order [72] granting this request and deferring ruling on the motion for summary judgment until discovery was complete. On July 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion for oral argument [79] on the motion for summary judgment. The Court subsequently entered an Order [80] granting this request and setting the hearing. On August 14, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion [82] objecting to Defendant's summary judgment evidence and to strike the same. Subsequently, on August 27, 2013, Plaintiff filed an affidavit [84] in support of his motion to strike. Plaintiff then filed a motion for the Court to hold an evidentiary hearing [85] in order for three witnesses to provide oral testimony in the case. The Court heard oral argument on the motion for summary judgment on September 3, 2013.

B. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment " should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Weaver v. CCA Indus., Inc., 529 F.3d 335, 339 (5th Cir. 2008). The rule " mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548.

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Id. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548. Under Rule 56(a), the burden then shifts to the nonmovant to " go beyond the pleadings and by . . . affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (internal quotation marks omitted); Little ...


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