United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
TONI M. MORRISON, Plaintiff,
WAL-MART STORES, INC., Defendant.
JONATHAN E. HAWLEY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is the Defendant, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s
(“Wal-Mart”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
The Motion is fully briefed, and for the reasons stated,
infra, Defendant's motion is
Plaintiff,, Toni Morrison (“Morrison”), tripped
over a floor mat and fell while at Defendant's East
Peoria store in April 2014. She seeks monetary damages for
injuries she alleges she sustained as a result of her fall.
The circumstances of the incident were captured on video and
are, largely, undisputed.
was shopping in the produce department of Defendant's
store with family members. Between approximately 11:16 A.M.
and 11:19 A.M., customers walked over a floor mat creating a
pronounced “bubble” or “bump” in it.
(D. 17-3 at pg. 15) Plaintiff walked over the mat, with its
protrusion, several times between approximately 11:28 A.M.
and 11:36 A.M. At 11:36:06 A.M., Plaintiff fell after
tripping over the bump.
does not contend there was any condition aside from the
buckled floor mat which caused her fall. The mat Plaintiff
tripped over was black and the surrounding floor was white.
The mat had no known defects. The lighting in the area was
sufficient and Plaintiff's view of the floor and the mat
were never obstructed. Plaintiff said in her deposition that
she did not see the bump in the mat before falling. She
stated that she was “not paying attention” to the
mat and if she had seen the bump, she would have attempted to
fix it. (D. 17-3 at pg. 15, 21, 23)
parties dispute the extent of the presence of Defendant's
employees in the area before and at the time of the accident.
In the video footage, no Wal-Mart employee is visible in
Plaintiff's immediate vicinity when she trips. Defendant
asserts there were “no Wal-Mart employees in the
Produce section prior to [her] fall.” (D. 17 at pg. 4)
Most notably, Plaintiff states “there was an employee
in the produce section from 11:06:43 A.M. to 11:13:05 A.M.
stocking shelves” and that the Plaintiff and her family
members “encounter[ed] an employee stocking shelves
directly right of where Plaintiff fell” at the time of
the incident. (D. 26 at pg. 4)
Plaintiff alleges in her Complaint that the floor mat
“was not lying flat upon the floor and because of its
color could not be seen as representing a hazard.” (D.
1) She further alleges Defendant must compensate her for
injuries she allegedly sustained due to Defendant's
negligence related to the offending mat. Id.
Defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing no genuine
issue of material facts exist. (D. 17 at pg. 1). The Court
Court's jurisdiction in this case arises under the
diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. As such, the Court
applies Illinois law to substantive matters and federal law
to procedural matters. Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U.S.
460, 464-65 (1965); Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304
U.S. 64, 78 (1938); see also Evans v. Lederie
Laboratories, a Div. of American Cyanamid Co., 904
F.Supp. 857, 859 (C.D. Ill. 1995).
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); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317');">7477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party
has the burden of providing proper documentary evidence to
show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323- 24
(1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the
opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not
mere allegations or denials of the pleadings, which
demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112
F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997). “[A] party moving for
summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other
party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the
burden of proof.” Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum
Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183(7th Cir. 1993).
the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must
designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is
a genuine triable issue; he “‘must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material fact.'” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57
(1986)(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)); Hot Wax,
Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir.
1999). Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support of the
non-movant's position is not sufficient to oppose
successfully a summary judgment motion; “there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
[non-movant].” Anderson at 250.
argues in its Motion for Summary Judgment that there are no
genuine issues of material fact and that it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Specifically, Defendant argues
the Plaintiff is unable to present evidence that (1)
Defendant had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous
condition-the buckled floor mat, or (2) that Defendant
negligently placed said floor mat. (D. 17 at pg. 1) Defendant