United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant
Stanley Access Technologies' Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment (Doc. # 33), filed on April 13, 2018. Plaintiff Lee
Grossman Leibson responded on May 22, 2018. (Doc. # 36).
Stanley Access replied on June 5, 2018. (Doc. # 43). For the
reasons that follow, the Motion is granted.
is an elderly woman who fell while exiting a Marshalls store
in St. Petersburg, Florida, on June 3, 2016. (Doc. # 2 at
¶¶ 7, 8, 10). Leibson was struck by an automatic
sliding door that was manufactured and installed by Stanley
Access at the Marshalls. (Id. at ¶¶ 9,
10). As a result, Leibson fell and sustained injuries.
(Id. at ¶ 10).
then initiated this action in state court against Defendant
The TJX Companies, Inc., the owner of the Marshalls store,
for negligence. (Doc. # 1-1 at 4-10). Subsequently, Leibson
filed an Amended Complaint adding a negligence claim against
Stanley Access. (Doc. # 2). In the Amended Complaint, Leibson
asserts Stanley Access violated its duties to test and
inspect the door in question or its prototype, properly
design the door,
to warn of dangers involved with the use of the door or its
presence, to give adequate instructions related to the
installation, maintenance and use of the door, or to use care
to avoid misrepresentations regarding the door.
(Id. at ¶ 18). Furthermore, Leibson alleges
Stanley Access had a duty to “use due care in
installing” the door. (Id. at ¶ 19).
Access removed the case to this Court on August 16, 2017,
based on diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. # 1). The case
proceeded through discovery. The parties mediated on February
1, 2018, but reached an impasse. (Doc. # 26).
support of her claim that Stanley Access was negligent,
Leibson retained an engineering expert, Dr. Srinivas
Kadiyala. (Doc. # 36 at 9-28; Kadiyala Dep. Doc. # 34). On
April 13, 2018, Stanley Access moved to exclude Dr.
Kadiyala's testimony to the extent he sought to opine on
Stanley Access's alleged failure to warn. (Doc. # 31).
After Leibson failed to respond, the Court granted that
motion as unopposed on May 21, 2018, thereby excluding Dr.
Kadiyala's opinions on product warnings. (Doc. # 35).
Access moved for partial summary judgment on April 13, 2018.
(Doc. # 33). Specifically, Stanley Access argues that summary
judgment should be granted on the negligence claim to the
extent it relies on the duties to test and inspect the door;
to properly design the door; to warn; to avoid
misrepresentations about the door; and to use due care in
installation. (Id. at 2). Stanley Access does not
move for summary judgment on the claim that it violated its
duty to provide instructions on installation and maintenance.
Leibson responded to the Motion on May 22, 2018, (Doc. # 36),
and Stanley Access has replied. (Doc. # 43). The Motion is
ripe for review.
Judgment is appropriate “if 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 factual dispute alone is not enough to
defeat a properly pled motion for summary judgment; only the
existence of a genuine issue of material fact will preclude a
grant of summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).
issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.
Mize v. Jefferson City Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739,
742 (11th Cir. 1996)(citing Hairston v. Gainesville Sun
Publ'g Co., 9 F.3d 913, 918 (11th Cir. 1993)). A
fact is material if it may affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law. Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc.,
121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997). The moving party bears
the initial burden of showing the court, by reference to
materials on file, that there are no genuine issues of
material fact that should be decided at trial. Hickson
Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co., 357 F.3d 1256, 1260 (11th Cir.
2004)(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986)). “When a moving party has discharged its
burden, the non-moving party must then ‘go beyond the
pleadings,' and by its own affidavits, or by
‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file,' designate specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Jeffery
v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th
Cir. 1995)(quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324).
there is a conflict between the parties' allegations or
evidence, the non-moving party's evidence is presumed to
be true and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the
non-moving party's favor. Shotz v. City of
Plantation, 344 F.3d 1161, 1164 (11th Cir. 2003). If a
reasonable fact finder evaluating the evidence could draw
more than one inference from the facts, and if that inference
introduces a genuine issue of material fact, the court should
not grant summary judgment. Samples ex rel. Samples v.
City of Atlanta, 846 F.2d 1328, 1330 (11th Cir. 1988).
But, if the non-movant's response consists of nothing
“more than a repetition of his conclusional
allegations, ” summary judgment is not only proper, but
required. Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032, 1034 (11th