United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING SUMMARY JUDGMENT
T. WINGATE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Motion of the Defendant Prime Time
Healthcare, LLC, for Summary Judgment in its favor.
[docket no. 114]. The Plaintiffs, Tavita
Farani, Tyler Bunting and Michael Locke, oppose the motion.
case arises out of a vehicular accident that occurred on or
about July 23, 2014, on an interstate highway in Williams
County, North Dakota. The vehicle which collided with the
Plaintiffs' vehicle was being driven by Leslie File
(hereafter “File”), a resident of Florence,
Mississippi, located within the Southern District, Northern
Division, of the United States District Courts for
time of the collision, File was working as a travelling nurse
for Prime Time Healthcare LLC (hereafter “Prime
Time”). Plaintiffs filed their Complaint with Jury
Demand, in the Southern District of Mississippi, on
March 30, 2016, against File and Prime Time, invoking this
court's authority based on diversity of citizenship
pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
diversity of citizenship here exists, since none of the
plaintiffs resides in the same state as any of the
defendants. Additionally, the amount in controversy is stated
on the face of the amended complaint to be in excess of $75,
000, and this is not disputed by the Defendant. This court
concludes that the requirements of federal subject matter
jurisdiction based on §1332 diversity of citizenship are
Time, has filed this motion for summary judgment contending
that File, though an employee of Prime Time, was not acting
within the course and scope of her employment with Prime Time
at the time of the accident. Therefore, Prime Time submits,
the doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply
and Prime Time is not liable for File's alleged
negligence. Prime Time contends it is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law on all of the Plaintiff's
resident of Mississippi, was a travelling nurse employed by
Prime Time. She travelled to various duty assignments for
relatively short periods of time to work at medical
facilities as assigned by Prime Time. She contracted to work
at Eastern Montana Veteran's Home in Glendive, Montana
from June 15, 2014 to August 20, 2014. File was working as a
nurse at a Veterans Home facility in Glendive, Montana at the
behest of her employer at the time of the accident. File was
provided a rental car by her employer. The terms of the
arrangement are in dispute, however. File was also provided
with living quarters during her stay in Montana and a per
diem paid weekly.
accident occurred in the early morning hours on a Wednesday,
July 23, when, according to Prime Time, File was driving back
to Glendive, Montana after visiting friends in North Dakota.
Plaintiffs dispute this, but offer no proof to the contrary.
Prime Time states that File was off work and not on the clock
for Prime Time on the two days prior to Wednesday July 23,
the date of the accident.
accident at issue occurred in North Dakota. File is a
Mississippi resident. Prime Time is a Nebraska resident. The
Plaintiffs are residents of Utah and Idaho. To the extent
there is any conflict in the negligence and vicarious
liability laws of North Dakota, Mississippi, and Nebraska,
“[a] federal court sitting in diversity jurisdiction
must apply the choice of law rules of the forum state when a
conflict of law exists.” Hagan v. Mazda Motor Co.
of Am., Inc., 690 Fed.Appx. 242, 243-44 (5th Cir. 2017).
state courts use the “most significant relationship
test” to determine which law to apply. See Williams
v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 741 F.3d 617, 622 (5th Cir.
2014).. Thus, Mississippi courts would apply North Dakota law
to the Plaintiffs' claims against Prime Time.
North Dakota law, as well as that of Mississippi, a party is
entitled to summary judgment only if it can show that no
genuine issue of material fact exists. Benson v.
Northwest Airlines, Inc. 62 F.3d 1108, 1111
(8th Cir. 1995). In making its determination the
court views the facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Id. In accordance with the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, a court must grant summary judgment
when 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).
court declines to grant Prime Time's motion for summary
judgment, finding that there are genuine issues of material
fact to be resolved. First of all, the contract between Prime
Time and File is silent on the definition of “course
and scope of employment;” thus, this court is asked ...