United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
WILLIE J. FIGGERS, Plaintiff,
CARROLL FULMER LOGISTICS CORP., d/b/a CARROLL FULMER TRUCKING, et al., Defendants.
K. DUBOSE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action is before the Court on Defendant Richard Freeman's
motion to dismiss or in the alternative, motion for summary
judgment, Plaintiff Willie J. Figgers' response, and
Freeman's reply (docs. 64, 69, 70). The Court addresses
the motion as a motion for summary judgment. Upon
consideration, the motion is GRANTED and Figgers' claims
against Freeman are dismissed with prejudice.
alleges that he was struck by a tractor trailer owned by
Carroll Fulmer Logistics Corp. and driven by Freemen on July
20, 2015. Figgers alleges that Freeman and Fulmer were
negligent (Counts Two and Four). Under Alabama law, a cause
of action for negligence must be filed within two years from
the date of the accident or injury. Ala. Code §
6-2-38(1). The initial complaint which named John
Doe, as the driver of the tractor trailer, was filed July 20,
2017. The action was removed to this Court on October 27,
2017 (doc. 1). On December 28, 2017, Fulmer provided its
initial disclosures to Figgers wherein Freeman was identified
as the driver (doc. 11, doc. 30-1). The Rule 16(b) Scheduling
Order set April 30, 2018 as the deadline for motions for
leave to amend the pleadings or to join parties (doc. 12,
motion for leave to amend to substitute Freeman for the John
Doe driver was filed December 5, 2018 (doc. 27). The motion
was granted and Figgers filed the amended complaint on March
4, 2019 (docs. 34, 43). Fulmer moved to strike the amended
complaint and the motion was denied (docs. 47, 57). The
amended complaint was served upon Freeman on March 8, 2019
(doc. 51). The summons was served on March 18, 2019 (doc.
59). In response, Freeman filed the instant motion to
dismiss, or in the alternative motion for summary judgment.
Statement of the law
court shall grant summary judgment 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) (Dec. 2010). Freeman, as the party seeking
summary judgment bears “the initial burden to show the
district court, by reference to materials on file, that there
are no genuine issues of material fact that should be decided
at trial.” Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc.,
929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991) (the party seeking summary
judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.”) (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553
(1986)). In deciding whether Freeman has met his initial
burden, the Court must review the record and draw all
reasonable inferences therefrom in a light most favorable to
Figgers, as the non-moving party. See Whatley v. CNA Ins.
Co., 189 F.3d 1310, 1313 (11th Cir. 1999).
Freeman meets this responsibility, the burden shifts to
Figgers, as the non-movant, to show the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact that would preclude summary
judgment. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “In
reviewing whether the [non-movant has met the] burden, the
court must stop short of weighing the evidence and making
credibility determination of the truth of the matter.
Instead, the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Tipton v. Bergrohr GMBH-Siegen, 965
F.2d 994, 999 (11th Cir. 1992) (citing Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986)
((bracketed text added). However, Freeman would be entitled
to summary judgment if Figgers fails “to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of [his] case with
respect to which [he has] the burden of proof.'”
In re Walker, 48 F.3d 1161, 1163 (11th Cir. 1995)
(quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct.
at 2552) (bracketed text added). Overall, the Court must
“resolve all issues of material fact in favor of the
[Plaintiff], and then determine the legal question of whether
[Defendant is] entitled to judgment as a matter of law under
that version of the facts.” McDowell v. Brown,
392 F.3d 1283, 1288 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing
Durruthy v. Pastor, 351 F.3d 1080, 1084 (11th Cir.
2003)) (bracketed text added).
mere existence of any factual dispute will not automatically
require denial of a motion for summary judgment; rather, only
factual disputes that are material preclude entry of summary
judgment. Lofton v. Secretary of Dept. of Children and
Family Services, 358 F.3d 804, 809 (11th Cir. 2004).
“An issue of fact is material if it is a legal element
of the claim under the applicable substantive law which might
affect the outcome of the case. It is genuine if the record
taken as a whole could lead a rational trier of fact to find
for the nonmoving party.” Reeves v. C.H. Robinson
Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798, 807 (11th Cir. 2010)
action is before the Court on basis of diversity
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). In an en
banc decision, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh
Circuit held that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
“15(c)(1) allows federal courts sitting in diversity to
apply relation-back rules of state law where, as here, state
law provides the statute of limitations for the
action.” Saxton v. ACF Industries, Inc., 254
F.3d 959, 963 (11th Cir. 2001). Rule 15(c) states in relevant
part as follows:
Relation Back of Amendments.
When an Amendment Relates Back. An amendment to a pleading
relates back to the date of the original pleading when:
… the law that provides the applicable statute ...