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Rams v. Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

March 2, 2017

SCOTT RAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CORDISH OPERATING VENTURES, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Scott Rams fell from a second-story balcony after being served alcoholic beverages at a bar known as “PBR” in Louisville, Kentucky.[1] (Docket No. 1-1, PageID # 9-10) Rams filed suit against PBR, Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC, RC Ventures, Inc., American Services, Inc., Entertainment Holding, Entertainment Consulting International, and Unknown Defendants, alleging dram shop liability and negligent security. (D.N. 1-1) Defendants Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC and RC Ventures, LLC have filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that they do not own or operate PBR and that the plaintiff has failed to state a plausible alter ego theory of liability. (D.N. 31-1) In addition, Defendants Entertainment Consulting International, Entertainment Holdings, and PBR have filed a motion for leave to file a third-party complaint. (D.N. 35) Because the Court finds that the plaintiff has not demonstrated a genuine dispute as to Cordish Operating Venture and RC Venture's control over PBR, the motion for summary judgment will be granted. The Court will also grant the motion for leave to file a third-party complaint since the claims exceed the “obviously unmeritorious” standard and a third-party complaint will not prejudice the plaintiff.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On the night of March 28, 2015, Plaintiff Scott Rams went to PBR, a restaurant and bar in Louisville's 4th Street Live! entertainment area. (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 9-10) Rams states that PBR served him alcoholic beverages and that during the evening, security personnel “were called on several occasions to address altercations between Plaintiff and other patrons of PBR.” (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 10) Rams states that he was “allowed to leave [PBR] intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration that greatly exceeded the legal limit.” (Id.) Shortly after leaving PBR, Rams fell from a second-story balcony that was “immediately outside of Defendant PBR's premises.” (Id.)

         On March 17, 2016, Rams filed suit against Defendants Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC, RC Ventures, Inc., Southern Lounge KY, LLC d/b/a PBR Louisville, American Services, Inc., Entertainment Holding, Entertainment Consulting International, and Unknown Defendants in Jefferson Circuit Court, alleging dram shop liability and negligent security. (Id., PageID # 11-14) The defendants removed the case to this court. (D.N. 1)

         In his complaint, Rams alleges that the defendants are all alter egos of Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC. (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 9-10) For support, Rams states that the defendants “share substantially the same owners/members, directors/officers, and/or employees” and operate at the direction of Reed Cordish, Vice President of Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC. (Id.)

         Defendants Cordish Operating Ventures, LLC and RC Ventures, Inc. have filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that they did not “own or operate the subject premises or PBR” and thus cannot be liable for the plaintiff's injuries. (D.N. 31-1, PageID # 132) Additionally, these defendants argue that Rams has failed to state a plausible alter ego theory of liability. (Id., PageID # 136-40) In response, Rams contends that the motion for summary judgment should be denied because the ownership of the premises is disputed, creating a genuine issue of material fact. (D.N. 34, PageID # 162-64)

         Additionally, Defendants Entertainment Consulting International, Entertainment Holdings, and PBR have filed a motion for leave to file a third-party complaint against Federal Building Services. (D.N. 35-1, PageID # 176) These defendants state that American Service Industries, Inc. and Federal Building Services provided security for PBR and thus have potential liability pursuant to the terms of the Protective Services Agreement (PSA). (Id.) The plaintiff did not respond, and the matter is ripe for adjudication.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Summary Judgment

         1. Legal Standard

         To grant a motion for summary judgment, the Court must find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of identifying the basis for its motion and those portions of the record that “it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party must point to specific facts demonstrating a genuine issue of fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), but “the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The non-moving party must present specific facts demonstrating that a genuine issue of fact exists by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         2. ...


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