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Kraus v. Adesa Nevada, LLC

United States District Court, District of Nevada

March 23, 2015

CORY KRAUS, Plaintiffs,
ADESA NEVADA, LLC, Defendants.


Presently before the court is defendant ADESA Nevada, LLC’s (hereinafter “ADESA”) motion for summary judgment. (Doc. # 29). Plaintiff Cory Kraus (hereinafter “Kraus”) responded (doc. # 31), and ADESA replied (doc. # 32).

I. Background

This matter involves a negligence claim that arises out of a security guard’s contact with an electrified fence. (Doc. # 31 at 2). ADESA is a company that stores and auctions vehicles. (Doc. # 1-1 at 4; Kraus depo at 33:6-12). ADESA had contracted with U.S. Security Associates (hereinafter “U.S. Security”) as an independent contractor for security services at its North Las Vegas location. (Doc. # 29 at 2). U.S. Security employed Kraus as a security guard. (Doc. # 29 at 2).

On May 22, 2012, Kraus was working on ADESA’s premises and was informed by his supervisor at the beginning of his shift that the electric fence was off. (Doc. # 31 at 2). Kraus then went to pick up the graveyard shift radios offsite. Upon his return, Kraus attempted to close the fence gates but the fence was electrified. (Id.). Kraus suffered serious injuries when he touched the electrified fence. (Kraus depo at 88:11–94:3).

Kraus filed the instant case in Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court on March 19, 2014. (Doc. # 1–1 at 3). ADESA removed the case to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, (doc. # 1), and discovery commenced. (See doc. # 8). ADESA then filed this motion for summary judgment, (doc. # 29), before discovery had concluded. (Doc. # 31 at 3).

II. Legal Standard

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary judgment when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A principal purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323–24 (1986).

In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis. “When the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact on each issue material to its case.” C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

In contrast, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an essential element of the nonmoving party’s case; or (2) by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party’s case on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323–24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the nonmoving party’s evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159– 60 (1970).

If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties’ differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass’n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987).

In other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts by producing competent evidence that shows a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324.

At summary judgment, a court’s function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The evidence of the nonmovant is “to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Id. at 255. But if the evidence of the nonmoving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Id. at 249–50.

III. Discussion

A. Kraus’ request to deny or continue motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. ...

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