United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Omega Laboratories, Inc.'s motion for
summary judgment, Doc. #54, and motion to continue trial,
Doc. #62; and Chaquita Barnes' motion to continue trial,
Doc. #66, and “Motion Requesting Additional Time to
Amend Pleadings and Respond to Defendant's Summary
Judgment Motion, ” Doc. #67.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[s]ummary judgment is proper only when the record
demonstrates that no genuine issue of material fact exists
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Luv N' Care Ltd. v. Groupo Rimar,
844 F.3d 442, 447 (5th Cir. 2016). “A factual issue is
genuine if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury
to return a verdict for the non-moving party and material if
its resolution could affect the outcome of the action.”
Burton v. Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., 798 F.3d
222, 226 (5th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
On a motion for summary judgment, a court must
“consider the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in its
favor.” Edwards v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 841
F.3d 360, 363 (5th Cir. 2016).
seeking summary judgment, “[t]he moving party bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
record which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.” Nola Spice Designs,
L.L.C. v. Haydel Enters., Inc., 783 F.3d 527, 536
(5th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and alterations
omitted). If the moving party satisfies this burden,
“the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and
by her own 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. (internal quotation marks omitted). “Where
the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the
moving party satisfies this initial burden by demonstrating
an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case.” Celtic Marine Corp. v. James C. Justice
Cos., Inc., 760 F.3d 477, 481 (5th Cir. 2014).
13, 2016, Chaquita Barnes filed a complaint in this Court
against Omega Laboratories, Inc., alleging causes of action
for negligence and “defamation and slander”
arising from an allegedly erroneous drug test conducted by
Omega. Doc. #1. On August 1, 2016, Omega moved to dismiss
Barnes' complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Doc. #4. After considering Barnes' response in
opposition and Omega's reply, the Court granted
Omega's motion to dismiss with respect to Barnes'
defamation and slander claims, and to the extent Barnes'
negligence claim is based on chain of custody documentation
and failure to inform of the risk of false positives. Doc.
#53 at 10. However, the Court denied the motion to the extent
Barnes' negligence claim is based on inaccurate results
and the reporting of inaccurate results. Id. The
dismissed claims were dismissed without prejudice to the
filing of an amended complaint by Barnes within twenty-one
days of the order. Barnes failed to amend the complaint
within the allotted time.
3, 2017, Omega filed a motion for summary judgment on the
remaining negligence claim. Doc. #54. Barnes filed no
response to the motion within the time allowed under the
Court's procedural rules.
September 18, 2017, Omega filed a motion to continue the
trial in this case now set for November 6, 2017. Doc. #62. On
October 12, 2017, following the pre-trial conference held
October 6, 2017, Barnes filed a motion to continue trial.
Doc. #66. On October 18, 2017, five months after her response
to Omega's summary judgment motion was due, Barnes filed
a “Motion Requesting Additional Time to Amend Pleadings
and Respond to Defendant's Summary Judgment
Motion.” Doc. #67. Omega responded in opposition to the
motion on October 26, 2017. Doc. #71.
March 29, 2016, Barnes, who was enrolled at Mississippi Delta
Community College (“MDCC”), provided a hair
sample to Craig Carlock for the purpose of drug testing. Doc.
#55-1 at 3-4, 21. Carlock was an agent of Drug Free Schools,
which is a separate legal entity that contracted with Omega
to provide forensic laboratory drug testing. Id. at
3-4. Carlock certified that the hair specimen was provided by