United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter comes before the Court on two different motions. First
is the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No.
33), and second is Plaintiff Bridgett Pullins's Motion
for Reconsideration (Dkt. No. 34) of the Court's Order
(Dkt. No. 27) ("December Order") dismissing
Defendants Samson Merger Sub, LLC ("Samson") and
Retained Subsidiary One, LLC
("Retained").Both Motions are fully briefed and are
now ripe for review. For the reasons stated below,
Defendants' Motion is GRANTED and
Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.
Events at Harvey's
complains of actions that occurred when she was shopping at a
Harvey's grocery store on December 6, 2013. Dkt. No. 6
¶ 7; Dkt. No. 33-2, Ex. A. 32:22-33:21. While inside,
she heard a "loud explosion" coming from a
"floor buffing machine" then "jump[ed]
backwards and f[e]ll back." Id. at 33:24-35:8.
Nothing in the store physically touched her to make her fall.
Id. at 36:23-37:1. Plaintiff has never heard such a
noise inside that Harvey's store before or since.
Id. at 38:21-39:3. After hearing the noise,
Plaintiff lost her balance and fell over her daughter who was
behind her. Id. at 37:2-9.
Ownership of Harvey's
undisputed evidence in this case shows that J.H. Harvey Co.,
LLC owned the Harvey's Supermarket located at 955 South
First Street in Jesup, Georgia in December 2013. Dkt. No.
33-4 5 3. While J.H. Harvey Co., LLC no longer exists, the
evidence shows that its liabilities have been acquired by
Retained. Dkt. No. 33-4 SISI 5, 9, Ex. 1.
sued Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC ("Bi-Lo"), Delhaize
America, LLC ("Delhaize"), Southeastern Grocers,
LLC d/b/a Harvey's Supermarket
("Southeastern"), and Samson on November 12, 2015
for actions that occurred at the Harvey's in Jesup,
Georgia. Dkt. No. 1. On December 23, 2015, she amended her
complaint to add Retained to the action. Dkt. No. 6.
Defendants then filed a 12(b)(5) Motion to Dismiss on March
24, 2016, alleging that neither Samson nor Southeastern nor
Retained was properly served. Dkt. No. 18. Plaintiff filed
her reply on April 11, 2016, asking the Court to extend time
for service of process because the supermarket's
ownership was "confusing." Dkt. No. 20. Meanwhile,
Retained was served on April 6, 2016, and Samson was served
on April 11, 2016. Dkt. No. 34-2, 34-3.
asking the Court to excuse its failure to serve Defendants
Samson and Retained, Plaintiff failed to mention that she had
in fact served them. And no one alerted the Court of these
facts by the time it decided that motion. So, this Court
dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Southeastern,
Retained, and Samson. Dkt. No. 27. In fact, when the Court
issued its order on December 12, 2016, Defendants Retained
and Samson had been served, unbeknownst to the Court. In
light of that fact, Plaintiff asks the Court to reconsider
its December Order dismissing Defendants Samson and Retained.
same day that Plaintiff filed her motion for reconsideration,
Defendants Bi-Lo and Delhaize moved for summary judgment.
Both motions are now before the Court.
Motion for Summary Judgment
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). To satisfy this burden, the movant must show the
court that there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case. Id. at 325. If the
moving party discharges this burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmovant to go beyond the pleadings and present affirmative
evidence to show that a genuine issue of fact does exist.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257
(1986). The nonmovant may satisfy this burden in two ways.
First, the nonmovant "may show that the record in fact
contains supporting evidence, sufficient to withstand a
directed verdict motion, which was 'overlooked or
ignored' by the moving party, who has thus failed to meet
the initial burden of showing an absence of evidence."
Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1116
(11th Cir. 1993) (quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
332 (Brennan, J., dissenting)). Second, the nonmovant
"may come forward with additional evidence sufficient to
withstand a directed verdict motion at trial based on the
alleged evidentiary ...