United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
VIRGINIA M. KENDALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Mary Roper was injured when she slipped and fell on a patch
of ice in the parking lot of a store owned and operated by
Defendant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. d/b/a Walmart Supercenter
(“Wal-Mart”). This matter is currently before the
Court on Wal-Mart's motion for summary judgment. (Dkt.
36). For the reasons set forth below, Wal-Mart's motion
Local Rule 56.1
Northern District of Illinois, a party moving for summary
judgment must file along with its motion a Local Rule 56.1(a)
statement of undisputed facts, consisting of short numbered
paragraphs and citations to affidavits or other parts of the
record relied on to support the facts set forth in each
paragraph. N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(a); see also Malec v.
Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 583 (N.D. Ill. 2000). The
response of the party opposing the motion must contain
“a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving
party's statement, including, in the case of any
disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of
the record, and other supporting materials relied upon”
and a statement of “any additional facts that require
the denial of summary judgment.” N.D.Ill. L.R.
56.1(b)(3)(B) & (C). In this case, although Roper
responded to Wal-Mart's summary judgment motion and (1)
included about a page of “Relevant Testimony” and
(2) attached excerpts of the two depositions taken in this
case as part of that response, she failed to respond to each
numbered paragraph in Wal-Mart's statement of material
facts. (Dkt. 38). Thus, because Roper did not adhere to the
Local Rules, the Court accepts the facts of the case as
stated by Wal-Mart. Id.; see L.R.
56.1(b)(3)(C) (“All material facts set forth in the
statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be
admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing
party.”); Friend v. Valley View Cmty. Unit Sch.
Dist. 365U, 789 F.3d 707, 710 (7th Cir. 2015) (district
court properly deemed admitted facts asserted by defendants
as penalty for non-movant's noncompliance with Local Rule
56.1); Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608
(7th Cir. 2006) (affirming district court's decision to
admit the facts set forth in moving party's Local Rule
56.1 submission where nonmovant failed to timely respond);
Mintjal v. Prof'l Benefit Trust, 146 F.Supp.3d
981, 985 (N.D. Ill. 2015) (“ ‘the penalty for
failing to properly respond to a movant's 56.1(a)
statement is usually summary judgment for the movant (at
least if the movant has done his or her job correctly)
because the movant's factual allegations are deemed
admitted' ”) (quoting Malec, 191 F.R.D. at
friend Kathy Lawniczak drove Roper to a Wal-Mart store in
Round Lake Beach, Illinois on Thanksgiving-November 27,
2014-because Lawniczak wanted to shop a 6:00 p.m. sale on big
screen televisions. (Dkt. 38) at ¶¶ 5-7. Roper
testified that the temperature at the time was somewhere
around 30 degrees and snow was not falling, although there
was some snow on the ground from a previous snowfall.
See (Dkt. 38-3) (M. Roper Dep.) at 19:9-11, 40:24-
41:5. Once in the Wal-Mart parking lot, which is located to
the east of the store, Lawniczak circled for eight to ten
minutes, searching for a parking spot in the crowded lot.
(Dkt. 38) at ¶¶ 10, 12. Neither Roper nor Lawniczak
saw anyone shoveling snow or throwing salt or sand in the
lot. Id. at ¶¶ 19, 30. At approximately
6:15 p.m., Lawniczak eventually found a spot in the southeast
corner of the parking lot, although the spot she found was
the furthest east spot in its row, that is, the last parking
stall that particular row. Id. at ¶ 12. Roper
got out of Lawniczak's vehicle on the passenger side and
walked towards the back of the car without slipping or
sliding, although she felt snow under her feet. Id.
at ¶¶ 13, 33. When Roper was at the back of the
car, she turned to walk in the direction of Wal-Mart and
slipped on ice: her legs went out from underneath her, she
fall forward, she landed on her right wrist, and she slid.
Id. at ¶¶ 14, 16. Lawniczak did not see
Roper fall or the ice that caused the fall. Id. at
¶¶ 17, 22, 26.
she fell, Roper was no longer in the parking spot; instead,
she was in a driver's lane (or aisle) of the lot, and
that area was level. Id. at ¶¶ 15, 20. As
for the ice that caused Roper to fall, Roper did not see the
ice before she fell and she does not know the size or
thickness of the ice, nor could she tell how long the ice had
been there when she fell. Id. at ¶¶ 21-25.
In addition, neither Roper or Lawniczak know what caused the
ice to form at the location where Roper fell, either by an
act of Wal-Mart or otherwise. Id. at ¶¶
27-28. In the specific area where Roper fell, there was no
indication that the snow had been plowed or shoveled, and
Roper observed “lumps” that “could have
been ice or a buildup of snow” on the passenger side of
the car that could have been naturally formed or the result
of somebody else. Id. at ¶¶ 31-32.
drove Roper to the emergency room after her fall, and Roper
eventually underwent surgery for her fracture, which included
the placement of a plate and screws into her wrist.
reported the incident to Wal-Mart 17 days later, on December
14, 2014. Id. at ¶ 36. On May 25, 2016, Roper
filed suit against Wal-Mart in the Circuit Court of Cook
County, Illinois alleging negligence. (Dkt. 1-3) at 3-6.
Specifically, Roper alleges that Wal-Mart was negligent by
(1) failing to provide safe parking lots and/or walkways to
its visitors; (2) failing to take reasonable actions to
minimize the risk of personal injury during and after a
winter weather event; (3) failing to check the property
parking lots and/or walkways for ice patches; (4) failing to
provide ice treatment services at the premises before the
accumulation of winter precipitation; (5) allowing ice in the
parking lots and/or walkways to develop, creating an
unreasonably dangerous condition; (6) failing to inspect and
repair the parking lots and/or walkways after receiving
notice that an unreasonably dangerous condition existed; and
(7) failing to warn visitors of the unreasonably dangerous
condition. Id. at 5-6. Wal-Mart removed the case to
federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt.
1); see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
judgment is proper where “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 genuine issue of material fact exists
if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Although a bare contention that a factual dispute exists is
insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment,
Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 492 (7th
Cir. 2000) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247), the
Court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to
the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor (here, Roper). Majors v. Gen.
Elec. Co., 714 F.3d 527, 532 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation
omitted). Still, Roper is “only entitled to the benefit
of inferences supported by admissible evidence, not those
‘supported by only speculation or
conjecture.'” Grant v. Trs. of Ind. Univ.,
870 F.3d 562, 568 (7th Cir. 2017) (citation and quotation
is entitled to summary judgment if Roper “cannot
present sufficient evidence to create a dispute of material
fact regarding any essential element of her legal claims on
which she bears the burden of proof.” Burton v. Bd.
of Regents of the Univ. of Wis. Sys., 851 F.3d 690, 694
(7th Cir. 2017). To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving
party must go beyond the allegations of her complaint and
“set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 250 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted);
accord Hannemann v. Southern Door County Sch. Dist.,
673 F.3d 746, 751 (7th Cir. 2012). For this reason, summary
judgment is the “put up or shut up” moment in a
lawsuit-“when a party must show what evidence it has
that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of
events.” See Steen v. Myers, 486 F.3d 1017,
1022 (7th Cir. 2007). In other words, the party opposing
summary judgment “must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “The mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient; there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
[that party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
not the role of the Court to scour the record in search of
evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment; instead,
the nonmoving party bears the responsibility of identifying
evidence to defeat summary judgment. See Harney v.
Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, 526 F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th
Cir. 2008). Although a failure to timely respond to the
moving party's Local Rule 56.1 statement results in
“deeming admitted” the moving party's factual
statements, a nonmovant's failure to respond to a summary
judgment motion or failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1
does not, of course, automatically result in judgment for the
movant. Raymond ...