Submitted: November 18, 2014
Upon Consideration of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
Patricia Brown, Pro se.
Stephen F. Dryden, Esquire, Dryden, LLC, New Castle, Delaware for Defendant.
Robert B. Young J.
Patricia Brown ("Plaintiff") alleges negligence on the part of Walgreen Co. ("Defendant"). While visiting one of Defendant's locations in Dover, Delaware, Plaintiff allegedly suffered a slip and fall accident, after stepping on to a wet or waxed floor. After filing her Complaint, Plaintiff has refused to engage appropriately in the litigation process. Defendant has repeatedly sought discovery to determine, among other things, the existence of the wet floor, and whether this condition caused Plaintiff's injuries. Plaintiff has neglected to respond, despite this Court's Order. Defendant moves for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed completely to prove essential elements of her claim. Thus, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURES
On November 21, 2011, Plaintiff allegedly sustained injuries while a business invitee of Defendant's store. Plaintiff claims to have slipped and fallen on the wet or waxed floor of Defendant's establishment. Plaintiff avers that this was a dangerous condition, proximately causing her injuries.
On October 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court, represented by Silverman, McDonald & Friedman. Plaintiff's counsel withdrew from representation on May 15, 2014. Prior to that time, and continuing on to the present, Defendant has attempted to elicit discovery from Plaintiff. The discovery process has required the intervention of this Court, following Plaintiff's failure to respond timely to Defendant's discovery requests. On September 24, 2014, this Court granted Defendant's motion for sanctions, ordering Plaintiff to respond to all of Defendant's discovery by October 14, 2014. Included in this Order was the requirement that Plaintiff provide a medical expert report. Plaintiff never complied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is granted upon showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, where the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no material issues of fact are present, but once a motion is supported by such a showing, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to demonstrate that there is a genuine dispute as to material issues of fact. In addition, where the non-moving party bears the ultimate burden of proof at trial, the moving party succeeds on her motion for summary judgment by showing a "complete failure of proof concerning an essential element" on the part of the non-movant, thereby "rendering all other facts immaterial."
In general, the entry of summary judgment in negligence actions is a rare occurrence. This is because the movant must show "not only that there are no conflicts in the factual contentions of the parties but that, also, the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the uncontested facts are adverse to the plaintiff."However, there are instances in which the plaintiff has so completely failed to prove an essential element of her case, that Superior Court Civil Rule 56© "mandates the entry of summary judgment." This is ...