United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Lake Cumberland
Regional Hospital's Motion for Summary Judgment. [R. 44.]
Plaintiff Joyce McCoy fell entering a medical facility owned
by Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital and asserts that the
cause of her fall was a thick mat covering an abrupt change
in elevation. However, Plaintiffs cannot point to any
evidence, other than their own depositions, to support such a
theory. Because Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a
genuine issue of material fact, Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
facts in this matter are largely undisputed. Joyce McCoy
accompanied her husband, Orville McCoy, to Lake Cumberland
Medical Associates (LCMA) on January 10, 2017, a building
owned by Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH). [R. 54 at
1.] Mr. McCoy drove Ms. McCoy to the entrance of LCMA, where
she walked approximately twenty-five feet from the car in the
direction of the entrance. Id. While approaching the
entrance, she fell, resulting in fractures to her right
shoulder and left wrist. Id. An employee of LCMA
called the paramedics. Id. at 2.
the parties debate is why Ms. McCoy fell. According to the
EMS run report, Ms. McCoy told paramedics that she tripped
over a garbage bag. [R. 44-3 at 2.] Ms. McCoy was transported
to LCRH, where the hospital's triage report indicates she
slipped on a plastic bag. [R. 44-5 at 2.] Notes from her
treating physician at LCRH, Dr. Alpen Patel, show that Ms.
McCoy told him she slipped on a plastic garbage bag. [R. 44-6
at 2.] Dr. Patel referred her to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr.
Daniel R. Yanicko, who also reported that she slipped on a
plastic garbage bag, but he admits he probably received this
information from Dr. Patel. [R. 44-9 at 2; R. 44-10 at 11.]
Ms. McCoy now denies telling anyone her fall was caused in
any way by a plastic or garbage bag. [R. 54 at 3.]
Ms. McCoy now claims that her fall resulted from a hazardous
condition at the entrance to LCMA. [R. 1-1 at 6.] According
to her theory, LCMA placed a mat in front of the entrance,
concealing an unlevel expansion joint and an abrupt change in
elevation. [R. 54 at 4.] She attributes her fall and
subsequent injuries to that hidden slope. Id.
Experts hired by Mr. and Ms. McCoy established that the
combination of the mat, slope, and expansion joint
constitutes an unreasonably dangerous condition, and the
elevation change should have been accompanied by a warning.
Id. at 4-5. However, she later testified at her
deposition that she did not see the mat or elevation change
until someone returned to take pictures of the area after her
fall. [R. 44-2 at 13-14.] Both Mr. and Ms. McCoy sued LCMA
and LCRH for negligence, specifically for failure to maintain
the sidewalk and entrance area. [R. 1-1 at 6-8.] Mr. McCoy
joined the suit seeking damages for loss of spousal
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is
appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56. “A genuine dispute exists on a material fact, and
thus summary judgment is improper, if the evidence shows
‘that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.'” Olinger v. Corp. of the
President of the Church, 521 F.Supp.2d 577, 582 (E.D.
Ky. 2007) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). Stated otherwise, “[t]he
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
Plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
Plaintiff.” Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 252.
moving party has the initial burden of demonstrating the
basis for its motion and identifying those parts of the
record that establish the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. Chao v. Hall Holding Co., Inc., 285
F.3d 415, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). The movant may satisfy its
burden by showing “that there is an absence of evidence
to support the non-moving party's case.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).
Once the movant has satisfied this burden, the non-moving
party must go beyond the pleadings and come forward with
specific facts demonstrating the existence of a genuine issue
for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Hall Holding, 285 F.3d
at 424 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). Moreover,
“the nonmoving party must do more than show there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact. It must
present significant probative evidence in support of its
opposition to the motion for summary judgment.”
Hall Holding, 285 F.3d at 424 (internal citations
applying the summary judgment standard, the Court must review
the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259
F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Liberty Lobby,
477 U.S. at 255). However, the Court is under no duty to
“search the entire record to establish that it is
bereft of a genuine issue of material fact.” In re
Morris, 260 F.3d 654, 655 (6th Cir. 2001). Rather,
“the nonmoving party has an affirmative duty to direct
the court's attention to those specific portions of the
record upon which it seeks to rely to create a genuine issue
of material fact.” Id.
case comes to this Court on removal from Pulaski Circuit
Court in Pulaski, County, Kentucky. [R. 1.] Therefore, while
federal law governs the summary judgment standard and
procedure in this case, Kentucky law controls as to the
substantive elements of liability. Hanna v. Plumer,
380 U.S. 460, 465 (1965); Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins,
304 U.S. 64 (1938). In Kentucky, to succeed on a claim for
negligence, a plaintiff must prove an existing duty by the
defendants, a breach of that duty, damages, and that the
breach of the existing duty was the proximate cause of the
alleged damages. Helton v. Montgomery, 595 S.W.2d
257, 258 (Ky. Ct. App. 1980). Negligence must be
affirmatively proven and cannot be presumed. Id.
LCRH does not contest that Ms. McCoy was a business invitee
for premises liability cases such as this, Kentucky employs ...