Hendrix et al v. Werner Enterprises, Inc. et al, No. 4:2009cv01079 - Document 151 (E.D. Mo. 2011)

Court Description: OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 68 ORDERED that Defendant Werner Enterprises, Inc. and Defendant Drivers Management, LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No.68], is denied, without prejudice. Signed by Honorable Henry E. Autrey on 6/6/11. (CEL)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI EASTERN DIVISION JOHN HENDRIX, et al., Plaintiffs, vs. LARRY W. CURTIS, Deceased, et al., Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No. 4:09CV1079 HEA OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER This matter is before the Court on Defendant Werner Enterprises, Inc. and Defendant Drivers Management, LLC s Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 68]. Plaintiff opposes the Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied, without prejudice. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking damages for alleged injuries sustained by John L. Hendrix and Justin Hendrix as a result of a motor vehicle collision on May 1, 2008. Plaintiffs allege Defendants Curtis and Hilaire were negligent in the operation of their respective motor vehicles. The standard for summary judgment is well settled. In determining whether summary judgment should issue, the Court must view the facts and inferences from the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Woods v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 409 F.3d 984, 990 (8th Cir. 2005); Littrell v. City of Kansas City, Mo., 459 F.3d 918, 921 (8th Cir. 2006). The moving party has the burden to establish both the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Enterprise Bank v. Magna Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). Once the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on the allegations in his pleadings but by affidavit or other evidence must set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson 477 U.S. at 256; Littrell , 459 F.3d at 921. The party opposing summary judgment may not rest on the allegations in its pleadings; it must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co. v. Honea, 458 F.3d 788, 791 (8th Cir.2006) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)); Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Hitt v. Harsco Corp., 356 F.3d 920, 923 (8th Cir. 2004). An issue of fact is genuine when a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party on the question. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Woods, 409 F.3d at 990. To survive a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must substantiate his allegations with -2- sufficient probative evidence [that] would permit a finding in [his] favor based on more than mere speculation, conjecture, or fantasy. Wilson v. Int l Bus. Machs. Corp., 62 F.3d 237, 241 (8th Cir. 1995)(quotation omitted). Putman v. Unity Health System, 348 F.3d 732, 733-34 (8th Cir. 2003). A plaintiff may not merely point to unsupported self-serving allegations, but must substantiate allegations with sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in the plaintiff's favor. Wilson v. Int l Bus. Mach. Corp., 62 F.3d 237, 241 (8th Cir.1995). The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff. Anderson, 477 U.S. 242 at 252; Davidson & Associates v. Jung, 422 F.3d 630, 638 (8th Cir. 2005). Summary Judgment will be granted when, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and giving the nonmoving party the benefit of all reasonable inferences, there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Samuels v. Kansas City Mo. Sch. Dist., 437 F.3d 797, 801 (8th Cir. 2006). Mere allegations, unsupported by specific facts or evidence beyond the nonmoving party s own conclusions, are insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment. Thomas v. Corwin, 483 F.3d 516, 5267(8th Cir. 2007). Simply referencing the complaint, or alleging that a fact is otherwise, is insufficient to show there is a genuine issue for trial. Kountze ex rel. -3- Hitchcock Foundation v. Gaines, 2008 WL 2609197, 3 (8th Cir. 2008). Although Defendants argue that no genuine issues of material fact remain, and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the bases upon which Defendants rely for their arguments contain the opinions of certain law enforcement officers who responded to the scene of the accident. While the trier of fact may determine that these opinions establish that Defendants are not liable for Plaintiffs injuries, the Court cannot, at this time conclude that Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant Werner Enterprises, Inc. and Defendant Drivers Management, LLC s Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 68], is denied, without prejudice. Dated this 6th day of June, 2011. _______________________________ HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -4-