United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
KAREN DALLAS, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Melvin Dallas, III, deceased PLAINTIFF
PREMIER VEHICLE TRANSPORT, INC., and CHRISTOPHER BROUS DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
GUIROLA, JR. CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT are the  Motion for Summary Judgment as to
Plaintiff's Claim for Punitive Damages filed by the
defendants, and the  Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
filed by the plaintiff, in which Plaintiff requests judgment
as a matter of law on the issue of liability in this fatal
vehicle accident case. The motions have been fully briefed.
After due consideration of the submissions and the relevant
law, it is the opinion of the Court that there remain
questions of material fact for the jury on the issue of
liability. Accordingly, the plaintiff's Motion will be
denied. The Court further finds that the facts of this case
do not merit punitive damages. Accordingly, the
defendants' Motion will be granted and the punitive
damages claim dismissed.
Karen Dallas is the mother and personal representative of
Melvin Dallas, III, who was killed in a motor vehicle
accident in February 2015. At approximately ten o'clock
in the evening, Melvin was driving westbound on Interstate 10
in Jackson County, Mississippi. Dense fog prevented Defendant
Christopher Brous, driving a Freightliner semi-truck, from
seeing Dallas in time to avoid striking him in a rear-end
collision. Karen Dallas filed a complaint against Brous and
his employer, Premier Vehicle Transport, Inc., in Jackson
County Circuit Court under the Mississippi Wrongful Death
Act, Miss. Code § 11-7-13. She seeks compensatory
damages against both defendants and punitive damages against
the defendants removed the case to this Court, they moved for
summary judgment in regard to the demand for punitive damages
against Premier, and the plaintiff moved for summary judgment
on the issue of liability.
judgment is granted when “there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Kemp v. Holder,
610 F.3d 231, 234 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a)). The “burden of production at trial ultimately
rests on the nonmovant” and the movant must merely show
an “absence of evidentiary support in the record for
the nonmovant's case.” Cuadra v. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 626 F.3d 808, 812 (5th Cir. 2010). The
nonmoving party must then come forward with specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id.
The Court must draw justifiable inferences in favor of the
nonmovant, provided there is sufficient evidence to draw the
inference. State Farm Life Ins. Co. v. Gutterman,
896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th Cir. 1990). There is “no issue
for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249 (1986).
plaintiff argues that the collision at issue here occurred
1. Brous was following too closely behind Dallas,
2. Brous was exceeding the posted speed limit of seventy
miles per hour,
3. Brous failed to slow to forty-five miles per hour when he
encountered the fog conditions, and
4. that at the time of the collision Brous had been driving
longer than allowed by state ...