United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Antarctic Mechanical Services,
Inc.'s (AMS) Motion for Summary Judgment. AMS seeks
summary judgment on all of Plaintiff Tracey James' claims
against it. For the following reasons, AMS's motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
Factual and Procedural History
September 18, 2015, Tracey James was waiting in her vehicle
at the intersection of Briarwood Drive and Interstate 55
Frontage Road in Jackson, Mississippi, when Defendant Phillip
Bertellotti crashed his truck into the back of her car.
Bertellotti has admitted to drinking multiple alcoholic
drinks prior to driving that day. He has also admitted to
simple negligence in causing the crash.
time of the accident, Bertellotti was driving a truck that
AMS provided him; AMS's logo and contact information were
visible on the side of the truck. He was on a travel
assignment in Mississippi to work as a foreman for AMS on a
refrigeration installation project. Bertellotti's
personal boat and boat trailer were also attached to the
truck, which he drove down with him from Illinois.
August 30, 2018, James filed this complaint in the County
Court of Hinds County, Mississippi. She raised
negligence-based claims against Bertellotti and AMS. James
sought compensatory and punitive damages for injuries
sustained as a result of the collision as well as for
“continuing physical problems and symptoms.” On
September 28, 2018, defendants removed the matter to this
Federal Procedural Law
judgment is appropriate 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). A dispute is genuine “if the
evidence supporting its resolution in favor of the party
opposing summary judgment, together with any inferences in
such party's favor that the evidence allows, would be
sufficient to support a verdict in favor of that
party.” St. Amant v. Benoit, 806 F.2d 1294,
1297 (5th Cir. 1987) (citation omitted). A fact is material
if it is one that might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
seeking to avoid summary judgment must identify admissible
evidence in the record showing a fact dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(1). That evidence may include “depositions, . . .
affidavits or declarations, . . . or other materials.”
Id. When evaluating a motion for summary judgment, a
court refrains from making credibility determinations and
does not weigh evidence or draw from the facts inferences for
the movant. Strong v. Dep't of Army, 414
F.Supp.2d 625, 628 (S.D.Miss. 2005).
case, James failed to respond to AMS's arguments
regarding all claims except for her vicarious liability
claim. “A motion for summary judgment cannot be granted
simply because there is no opposition.” Day v.
Wells Fargo Bank Nat. Ass'n, 768 F.3d 435, 435 (5th
Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). However, “a court may
grant an unopposed summary judgment motion if the undisputed
facts show that the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Id. (citation omitted).
State Substantive Law
this case is proceeding in diversity, the applicable
substantive law is that of the forum state, Mississippi.
Capital City Ins. Co. v. Hurst, 632 F.3d 898, 902
(5th Cir. 2011). State law is determined by looking to the
decisions of the state's highest court. St. Paul Fire
& Marine Ins. Co. v. Convalescent Servs., Inc., 193
F.3d 340, 342 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted).
no such holdings exist, [the Court] predicts how that
tribunal would rule.” CentennialIns. Co.
v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 149 F.3d 378, ...