United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. Bunning United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants William Custer and
Savannah Woodworking and Installation, Inc.'s ripe Joint
Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 37). For the reasons set
forth herein, Defendants' motion is
facts in this case are undisputed. Plaintiff Bryan Meece
(“Meece”) was employed by TrueBlue, the corporate
parent of staffing firm Labor Ready (a/k/a PeopleReady,
Inc.). (Doc. # 37-1 at 2). Labor Ready had been hired by
Savannah Woodworking & Installation, Inc.
(“Savannah”) to provide temporary employees
“to assist with a shipment of fixtures to a Homegoods
store in Florence, Kentucky.” (Doc. # 37-2 at 2). The
contract between Labor Ready and Savannah notes that the
temporary employees would be compensated at $16.25 per hour
for “Clean Up” and “Debris Removal.”
(Doc. # 37-3). TrueBlue carried workers'-compensation
insurance in compliance with Kentucky Law. (Doc. # 37-2).
was one of the TrueBlue employees assigned to work
temporarily for Savannah. (Doc. # 37-4 at 2). On February 16,
2016, Meece was working at Homegoods in Florence
“assist[ing] with final delivery of the fixtures”
into the store. (Doc. # 37-2 at 2); see also (Doc. #
1 at ¶ 6). Specifically, he was helping to both unload
shelving from tractor trailers on the Homegoods loading dock
and reload furniture into a tractor trailer. (Doc. # 1 at
¶¶ 6-9). Meece and another employee “were
shifting skids with a pallet at the rear of a tractor
trailer” and William Custer (“Custer”) was
using a forklift to remove the materials from the tractor
trailer. Id. at ¶ 8. At some point, Meece was
stacking furniture to be loaded back into a tractor trailer
and Custer backed the forklift into Meece. Id. at
¶¶ 9-10. The accident shattered Meece's ankle,
and “Meece went into shock” as a result of the
injury. Id. at ¶ 10.
Meece filed suit against Custer, Savannah, and Homegoods,
Inc. on February 13, 2017. (Doc. # 1). His Complaint included
five causes of action-(1) a negligence claim against Custer,
(2) a negligence per se claim against Savannah, (3)
a negligence claim under a theory of
respondeat-superior liability against Savannah, (4)
a negligent-entrustment claim against Homegoods, and (5) a
punitive-damages claim against Savannah. Id.
Homegoods filed its Answer on March 13, 2017, (Doc. # 8), and
Savannah filed its Answer the following day. (Doc. # 10).
Homegoods was dismissed with prejudice on July 26, 2017,
pursuant to an Agreed Order of Dismissal. (Doc. # 25). Custer
filed his Answer on September 5, 2017. (Doc. # 31).
April 30, 2018, remaining Defendants, Custer and Savannah,
jointly moved for summary judgment on all claims. (Doc. #
37). Having been granted an extension of time to respond to
the Motion, (Doc. # 43), Meece filed his Response to the
Motion on May 29, 2018 (Doc. # 44). Custer and Savannah filed
separate replies on June 12 and 13, 2018, respectively.
(Docs. # 45 and 46). The Motion is now ripe for the
Standard of Review
judgment may be granted when there is no genuine issue of
material fact, and an issue can be decided as a matter of
law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). It is the job of the Court to
consider the evidence presented and determine if there is a
genuine issue which requires the matter to proceed to trial.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986). In doing so, the Court is not to “weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matter.”
“moving party bears the burden of showing the absence
of any genuine issues of material fact.” Miller v.
Maddox, 866 F.3d 386, 389 (6th Cir. 2017). In order to
succeed on a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving
party must then put forth evidence showing there is a genuine
issue of material fact which requires a trial.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250. A court should find that
“there is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient
evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a
verdict for that party.” Id. Thus, “[a]
mere scintilla of evidence” in favor of the non-moving
party will not defeat summary judgment. Id. at 252.
considering a summary-judgment motion, a court is required to
view the evidence in light most favorable to the non-moving
party and draw reasonable inferences in their favor.
Hamilton Cty. Educ. Ass'n v. Hamilton Cty. Bd. of
Educ., 822 F.3d 831, 835 (6th Cir. 2016).