United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
SHARION AYCOCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Pegg was injured in a fall while performing contracted
maintenance work on Severstal Columbus, LLC's premises.
Seeking damages for his injuries, Pegg sued Steel Dynamics,
Inc., Steel Dynamics Columbus, LLC, and Severstal Columbus
Holdings, LLC in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County,
Mississippi. Steel Dynamics removed the case to this
Court, and subsequently filed its Motion for Summary Judgment
 that is now before the Court. Plaintiff Pegg filed his
Response , and Defendant Steel Dynamics filed its Reply
, making this issue ripe for review.
and Procedural Background
of 2009, Plaintiff Pegg filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and
his bankruptcy plan was confirmed in March of 2010. The
Plaintiff's accident occurred on October 31, 2013. The
Plaintiff subsequently completed his bankruptcy plan, and the
Bankruptcy Court closed his case in August of 2014.
Plaintiff did not disclose the injury claim asserted in the
instant case in his bankruptcy proceedings. Because the
Plaintiff did not disclose his claim in bankruptcy, Steel
Dynamics argues that he is judicially estopped from asserting
his claim now. The Plaintiff urges this Court not to apply
judicial estoppel in this case, and in an attempt to cure his
non-disclosure, re-opened his bankruptcy case to amend his
Court must determine whether the principles of judicial
estoppel warrant application here to bar the Plaintiff's
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs summary judgment. Summary
judgment is warranted when the evidence reveals no genuine
dispute regarding any material fact, and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The rule “mandates the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient 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. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
reviewing the evidence, factual controversies are to be
resolved in favor of the non-movant, “but only when . .
. both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory
facts.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). When such contradictory facts
exist, the Court may “not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120
S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).
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.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct.
2548. The nonmoving party must then “go beyond the
pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'”
Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (citation omitted).
noted above, the Defendant argues that judicial estoppel bars
the Plaintiff's claims. The doctrine of judicial estoppel
“prevents a party from asserting a claim in a legal
proceeding that is inconsistent with a claim taken by that
party in a previous proceeding.” King v. Cole's
Poultry, LLC, No. 1:14-CV-88, 2016 WL 7191701, at *2-3
(N.D. Miss. Dec. 12, 2016) (citing Reed v. City of
Arlington, 650 F.3d 571, 573-74 (5th Cir. 2011); 18
James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice
§ 134.30 at 63 (3d ed. 2011)). The doctrine is intended
to protect the integrity of the judicial process by
“prevent[ing] parties from playing fast and loose with
(the courts) to suit the exigencies of self-interest.”
Brandon v. Interfirst Corp., 858 F.2d 266, 268 (5th
Cir. 1988) (quoting USLIFE Corp. v. U.S. Life Ins.
Co., 560 F.Supp. 1302, 1304-05 (N.D. Tex. 1983))
(citation omitted). Judicial estoppel is “an equitable
doctrine invoked by a court at its
discretion.” Reed, 650 F.3d at 574
(quoting New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742,
749-50, 121 S.Ct. 1808, 149 L.Ed.2d 968 (2001)) (emphasis
the backdrop of the bankruptcy system . . . judicial estoppel
must be applied in such a way as to deter dishonest debtors,
whose failure to fully and honestly disclose all their assets
undermines the integrity of the bankruptcy system . . .
.” U.S. ex rel. Long v. GSDMIdea City, LLC,
798 F.3d 265, 271 (5th Cir. 2015) (citing Reed, 650
F.3d at 574; see also Jethroe v. Omnova Solutions,
Inc., 412 F.3d 598, 600 (5th Cir. 2005) (“Judicial
estoppel is particularly appropriate where . . . a party
fails to disclose an asset to a bankruptcy court, but then
pursues a claim in a separate tribunal based on that
undisclosed asset.”). The Fifth Circuit has indicated:
A court should apply judicial estoppel if (1) the position of
the party against which estoppel is sought is plainly
inconsistent with its prior legal position; (2) the party
against which estoppel is sought convinced a court to accept