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Guiwan v. GGP Meadows Mall, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 29, 2019

LYNN GUIWAN, Plaintiffs,


         Presently before the court is defendant GGP Meadows Mall, LLC's (“Meadows Mall”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 23). Plaintiff Lynn Guiwan filed a response (ECF No. 27), to which Meadows Mall replied (ECF No. 28).

         I. Facts

         This action arises out of a slip and fall incident that took place at the Meadows Mall, located at 4300 Meadows Lane, Las Vegas, Nevada. (ECF No. 1).

         On the afternoon of September 20, 2015, Guiwan was at the Meadows Mall with her husband and daughter. (ECF No. 23-2). At approximately 2:54 p.m., an unidentified woman walked through the mall's lower level center hallway and dropped her drink on the floor. (ECF No. 23-4). After about six minutes, a kiosk vendor placed a bar stool next to the spill so that pedestrians could avoid stepping on the spill. Id. At around 3:07 p.m., Guiwan slipped on the spill and fell to the floor. Id. Shortly thereafter, Paul Hernandez, a mall porter arrived to the scene to and cleaned the spill. (ECF No. 27-1).

         On July 27, 2017, Guiwan initiated this action in state court, asserting two negligence causes of action for (1) premises liability and (2) negligent hiring, training, and supervision. (ECF No. 1). On September 22, 2017, Meadows Mall removed this action to federal court. Id.

         Through the course of discovery, Guiwan learned that Meadows Mall had a video patrol officer who used security cameras to observe activities in the mall and, when necessary, dispatch security to the scene. (ECF No. 27-3). Meadows Mall also requires kiosk vendors to contact mall security to report any spills occurring outside of their respective kiosk tasks. (ECF No. 23-9). Meadows Mall does not equip kiosk venders with landline phones or radios. Id.

         Guiwan also learned that Hernandez acquired employment as a mall porter at Meadows Mall with no previous janitorial experience and received only one hour of training. (ECF No. 27-1). His tasks as a mall porter required him to complete and record 42 “sweeps”, complete 12 bathroom-cleaning trips, and replace 18 industrial trash cans in a single eight-hour shift. Id. Video evidence shows that Hernandez's sweep sheets are inaccurate and that he did not timely sweep the mall's lower level central hallway prior to Guiwan's slip and fall. (ECF Nos. 23-4, 27-1).

         Now, Meadows Mall moves for summary judgment on all causes of action.

         II. Legal Standard

         The 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).

         For 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.

         In 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).

         By 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).

         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 ...

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