United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
CARROL D. ROBERSON PLAINTIFF
McDONALD TRANSIT ASSOCIATES, INC. DEFENDANT
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is defendant McDonald Transit Associates,
Inc.'s (“McDonald”) Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment . In response, Plaintiff Carrol D.
Roberson (“Roberson”), who is proceeding pro
se in this cause, filed a Motion to Strike
, in which he contends that McDonald's motion should
be stricken as untimely. The Court has reviewed these
submissions, in conjunction with relevant evidence and
authorities, and is now prepared to rule.
and Procedural Background
Oxford University Transit System (“OUT”) operates
multiple shuttle buses that travel throughout Oxford,
Mississippi, providing transportation services to the public.
Roberson, a student at the University of Mississippi,
frequently rides the OUT buses. McDonald is under contract
with the City of Oxford and the University of Mississippi to
provide management and oversight of OUT. This action is based
upon two separate events involving Roberson and the OUT
first alleged incident occurred on July 30, 2013. Roberson
alleges that while he was attempting to board an OUT bus, the
bus driver-Calvin Hill (“Hill”)-“slammed
the bus doors against [him] seizing him between the doors and
then quickly opened the doors causing [him] to fall upon the
steps[.]” Roberson alleges that he “suffered
spinal trauma, cuts, and bruises.” Roberson states that
prior to this incident, he had submitted several complaints
to Ron Biggs- the Vice President of McDonald and Hill's
supervisor-concerning traffic violations that Hill had
committed. On July 28, 2014, Roberson filed his complaint in
this Court against McDonald, alleging that it was liable for
the negligence of Hill.
the pendency of that suit, Roberson continued to utilize the
OUT system and alleges that on March 26, 2015, he “was
riding as a passenger aboard an OUT bus . . . when he was
tripped and kicked several times by an intoxicated passenger
who then got off the bus and ran away.” Roberson avers
that he again suffered spinal trauma, cuts, and bruises, and
was required to undergo two spinal surgeries as a result of
the July 30, 2013 incident combined with the March 26, 2015
2, 2016, Roberson filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss
without prejudice his initial lawsuit pending in this Court.
Senior Judge Biggers, the presiding judge in that case,
granted Roberson's request, and the suit was dismissed
without prejudice. Shortly thereafter, on July 20, 2016,
Roberson filed the present action, in which he sets forth
largely the same facts concerning the July 2013 incident but
added allegations concerning the March 2015 incident. In his
complaint, he asserts that McDonald is vicariously
responsible for both incidents and requests judgment in the
amount of $200, 000, together with interests and
February 15, 2017, Roberson filed an amended complaint,
adding Ron Biggs and Oxford Transit Management, Inc.
(“OTM”) as defendants. As alleged by Roberson,
Biggs served as a corporate executive for OTM, which is a
subsidiary of McDonald and was directly responsible for
oversight of OUT. Thus, Roberson now contends that Biggs,
OTM, and McDonald should be held liable for his injuries.
addition to the action pending in this Court, Roberson also
filed a complaint in the County Court for the Third Judicial
District of Lafayette County on July 25, 2016-just days after
he filed the present action in this Court. In the state court
action, Roberson named only Calvin Hill-the bus driver who
allegedly caused his injuries-as a defendant. Additionally,
Roberson's complaint in that action was based upon only
the “first event” described above-that is, the
incident involving Hill allegedly slamming the bus doors on
him and causing him to fall. That action proceeded to trial,
and a jury ultimately returned a verdict in favor of Hill,
finding that he was not negligent and awarding Roberson no
present motion, McDonald asserts that Roberson is precluded
from re-litigating the “first event” in this
action under the doctrine of res judicata. In response,
Roberson filed a motion to strike, averring that the motion
should be stricken as untimely since it was filed after the
deadline for dispositive motions set forth in the Court's
case management order. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court finds that McDonald's motion is well-taken and that
summary judgment should be partially granted. Additionally,
it finds that Roberson's motion to strike should be
judgment is proper “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists “if
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, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). At the summary judgment stage, the
court must “draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct.
2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). Once the moving party shows
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, the
nonmoving party “must come forward with specific facts
showing a genuine factual issue for trial.” Harris
ex rel. Harris v. Pontotoc Cty. Sch. Dist., 635 F.3d
685, 690 (5th Cir. 2011). “[A] party cannot defeat
summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated
assertions, or ‘only a scintilla of
evidence.'” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med.
Ctr., 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994)). “If the nonmoving party fails to meet this
burden, the motion for summary judgment must be
granted.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
forth above, McDonald avers that the doctrine of res judicata
bars Roberson from re-litigating in this Court his negligence
claim against Hill as it pertains to the “first
event” alleged in the complaint. The Fifth Circuit has
provided that “[t]o determine the preclusive effect of
a state court judgment in a federal action, ‘federal
courts must apply the law of the state from which the
judgment emerged.'” Black v. N. Panola Sch.
Dist., 461 F.3d 584, 588 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Amica Mut. Ins. Co. v. Moak, 55 F.3d 1093, 1096-97
(5th Cir. 1995)). ...