United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
falling in a restroom at a restaurant, Plaintiff Catherine
Greever filed suit against Texas Roadhouse, LLC (“Texas
Roadhouse”), asserting claims for negligence
(“Count One”), wantonness (“Count
Two”), and negligent hiring, training, and supervision
(“Count Three”). (Doc. 1-1 at 4, 7, 9; Doc. 9).
Texas Roadhouse has moved for summary judgment on Counts Two
and Three. (Doc. 39). The court GRANTS the
motion and ENTERS SUMMARY JUDGMENT in favor
of Texas Roadhouse and against Ms. Greever on Counts Two and
Three because she has not presented any evidence creating a
genuine dispute of material fact about Texas Roadhouse's
liability on those claims. Count One will proceed to trial.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court
“draw[s] all inferences and review[s] all evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Hamilton v. Southland Christian Sch., Inc., 680 F.3d
1316, 1318 (11th Cir. 2012) (quotation marks omitted). Taken
in that light, while at Texas Roadhouse for dinner, Ms.
Greever went to the ladies restroom. (Doc. 39-5 at 12, 14).
The restroom had tile flooring and, at the entrance, a floor
mat. (Id. at 15). Although Ms. Greever did not see
this in the moment, there was water on, under, and in front
of the mat. (Id. at 16-17). As she crossed the
threshold to the restroom, she put part of her left foot on
the mat and fell to the ground. (Doc. 39-5 at 23).
Roadhouse employee happened to be in a stall in the bathroom
when Ms. Greever fell. (Doc. 39-5 at 18). After emerging from
the stall, the unidentified employee offered to call 911 and
went to get Ms. Greever's boyfriend from the table.
(Id. at 19; Doc. 39-4 at 4-5). Ms. Greever's
boyfriend eventually took her to the emergency room. (Doc.
39-4 at 12).
Roadhouse has a policy requiring “everyone”
employed there to conduct “regular[ ]” restroom
checks. (Doc. 41-6 at 10, 13). Part of the restroom check
involves making sure the floor is dry and that mats are in
good condition. (Id.). During discovery in this
case, Ms. Greever asked Texas Roadhouse for documentation
“relat[ing] to any inspection of the ladies
restroom.” (Doc. 41-5 at 3). Texas Roadhouse responded
that it was “not in possession of any such
Roadhouse moves for summary judgment only as to Counts Two
and Three. (Doc. 39). In deciding a motion for summary
judgment, the court must first determine if the parties
genuinely dispute any material facts, and if they do not,
whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party may prevail if
it can show “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).
Count Two (Wantonness)
Alabama law, “wantonness” is “the conscious
doing of some act or the omission of some duty, while knowing
of the existing conditions and being conscious that, from
doing or omitting to do an act, injury will likely or
probably result.” Galaxy Cable, Inc. v. Davis,
58 So.3d 93, 101 (Ala. 2010) (quotation marks omitted).
“To establish wantonness, the plaintiff must prove that
the defendant, with reckless indifference to the
consequences, consciously and intentionally did some wrongful
act or omitted some known duty.” Id.
(quotation marks omitted).
Roadhouse contends that it is entitled to summary judgment on
Ms. Greever's wantonness claim because she has not
presented any evidence that Texas Roadhouse consciously
disregarded her safety or that it knew its acts or omissions
would make her injuries likely or probable. (Doc. 39-1 at
6-9). Ms. Greever responds that she has presented evidence
that Texas Roadhouse's employees failed to inspect the
restroom, establishing conscious disregard for her safety.
(Doc. 42 at 16-20).
Greever has not presented any evidence that Texas Roadhouse
employees failed to inspect the restroom. Instead, she has
presented evidence that when asked if Texas Roadhouse had
records of such inspections, Texas Roadhouse said it did not.
(See Doc. 41-5 at 3). A lack of evidence of
inspections is not the same as evidence of no inspections.
The court cannot make a reasonable inference from the
evidence before it that employees failed to inspect the
Greever also argues that whether Texas Roadhouse was on
notice of the danger inherent in the wet tiled flooring of
the restroom is a question for the jury because the court can
infer from the evidence that a Texas Roadhouse employee
affirmatively created the dangerous condition. (Doc. 42 at
18-23). To the contrary, Ms. Greever has presented absolutely
no evidence about how the water came to be on the floor of
the restroom. The court cannot make a reasonable inference
from the mere existence of water on the floor that a Texas
Roadhouse employee put that water there. Compare Dunklin
v. Winn-Dixie of Montgomery, Inc., 595 So.2d 463 (Ala.
1992) (holding that the evidence supported an inference that
the store's employee caused the dangerous condition
because the plaintiff testified that she saw an employee
setting out wet vegetables and then fell walking through the
same area a couple minutes later).
Ms. Greever has not presented any evidence from which the
court could infer facts that would support a wantonness
claim, the court GRANTS Texas