United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
court has before it the October 30, 2017 motion for summary
judgment filed by Defendant The TJX Companies, Inc.
(“TJ Maxx”). (Doc. 25). Pursuant to the
court's initial order and November 21, 2017 order, the
motion is fully briefed and under submission as of December
21, 2017. (Docs. 7 and 27). The motion is due to be granted
for the following reasons.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
September 15, 2014, Plaintiff and her husband went to TJ Maxx
in Oxford, Alabama, to purchase gifts for the pastors at
their church. (Doc. 28-2 at 6). Upon entering, Plaintiff got
a shopping cart located at the front of the store.
(Id. at 7). Plaintiff described the shopping cart as
“your regular shopping cart buggy thing, but then the
wheels came down and jutted out the back like alligator
mouths practically.” (Id.). She stated the
wheel “was like something's sticking out in your
way.” (Id.). Although she noticed the wheel
while getting the shopping cart, Plaintiff did not think it
would cause her any problems. (Id.).
first spent some time shopping for items for herself and
finished her shopping in the men's department for the
gifts she needed. (Id. at 6-7). After placing the
gifts in her shopping cart, she proceeded to the front of the
store to check out. (Id. at 7, 9). When she reached
the checkout lane, Plaintiff estimated she had been in the
store for about 45 minutes. (Id. at 7). At this
point, Plaintiff's husband left the store and went to the
parking lot to start their car. (Id. at 13).
turned the shopping cart into the last register and placed it
on the side of the counter “where it was supposed to be
and the lady [cashier] started unloading it.”
(Id. at 9). The cashier began helping Plaintiff
remove items in the cart from the front end, as Plaintiff
removed items from the rear of the cart. (Id. at
10). As Plaintiff went to remove the last item from the cart,
the cashier noticed Plaintiff was having difficulty reaching
the item and said she would get it for her. (Id.).
The cashier reached for the item, and the cart started
rolling back and rolled into Plaintiff. (Id.).
Plaintiff testified she believed the cashier pushed the cart
toward her because it would not have otherwise moved.
cart rolled, “the wheels and the apparatus that came
out to hold the wheels . . . caught [Plaintiff's] foot
and threw [her] down.” (Id. at 11). Plaintiff
explained she “was standing there to get the last . . .
little bitty thing out, and when [she] walked over there, it
just must have rolled right in front of [her] feet, because
it tripped [her] up, and down [she] went before [she] could
get anything out.” (Id. at 10). According to
Plaintiff, the wheels of the shopping cart were sticking out
in a way that caused her to fall. (Id. at 11). Her
foot did not get caught between the side of the counter and
the shopping cart. (Id.).
testified she fell to her knees and was injured.
(Id. at 12). Plaintiff stated her right knee and
left hip were injured, but she did not break anything.
(Id.). She contends she has been in continuous pain
since the accident. (Id.).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is
proper “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party asking for
summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of
informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those portions of the pleadings or filings which
it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. Id. at 323. Once the moving party has
met its burden, Rule 56(e) requires the non-moving party to
go beyond the pleadings and by his own affidavits, or by the
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, designate specific facts showing there is a genuine
issue for trial. See id.at 324.
substantive law identifies which facts are material and which
are irrelevant. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). All reasonable doubts about the
facts and all justifiable inferences are resolved in favor of
the non-movant. See Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta,
2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993). A dispute is genuine
“if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If the evidence is merely
colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment may be granted. See id. at 249.
complaint alleges two claims against TJ Maxx under Alabama
law: negligence and wantonness. (Doc. 1-2 at 2-3). Defendant
contends summary judgment is proper as to both claims. The