United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is defendants Case Peter VanVeen
(“VanVeen”), an individual, and Case VanVeen, dba
Lazevee Farms, Inc.'s (collectively,
“defendants”) motion for partial summary judgment
on plaintiff's third, fourth, and fifth causes of action.
(ECF No. 139). Plaintiff Maria Garcia Hernandez filed a
non-opposition response to the motion (ECF No. 148).
before the court is defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment on the issue of punitive damages. (ECF No.
140). Plaintiff filed a response (ECF No. 149), to which
defendants replied (ECF No. 152).
before the court is plaintiff's motion to strike
defendants' affirmative defenses of fraud. (ECF No. 141).
Defendants filed a response (ECF No. 146), to which plaintiff
replied (ECF No. 147).
December 18, 2012, defendant VanVeen, while driving a
tractor-trailer (“truck”) on I-15 near the
Charleston exit, struck a car driven by Ricardo Hernandez
(“the Dodge”). (ECF No. 149 at 42, 49). Ricardo
Hernandez's wife, Maria Garcia Hernandez, was in the
front passenger seat of the Dodge.
initial impact consisted of the front of the truck colliding
into the back of the Dodge. (ECF No. 149 at 42, 49). The
first impact did not halt the momentum of the truck, and it
continued down the highway. (ECF No. 149 at 2). While passing
the Dodge, the left side of the truck scraped the right side
of Dodge. Id. Mr. Hernandez claims that the Dodge
initially stalled, but that he was able to get the engine to
start up again. (ECF No. 142-2 at 3). He resumed driving with
the stated purpose of obtaining the truck's license plate
number. Id. Thereafter, a second
collision occurred, when VanVeen attempted to merge to the
left lane and the Dodge was in VanVeen's “blind
spot.” (ECF No. 149 at 25, 42, 50).
after the second collision, both cars ended up parked on the
left-side median of I-15, with the truck parked in front of
the Dodge. (ECF No. 149 at 35).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow 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 dispute as to any
material fact and 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).
purposes of summary judgment, disputed factual issues should
be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Lujan v.
Nat'l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990).
However, to be entitled to a denial of summary judgment, the
nonmoving party must “set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
determining summary judgment, a court applies a
burden-shifting analysis. The moving party must first satisfy
its initial burden. “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).
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 non-moving 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).
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 ...