January 19, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana, Hammond Division. No. 2:15-cv-00104 -
John E. Martin, Magistrate Judge.
Bauer, Manion, and Rovner, Circuit Judges.
Manion, Circuit Judge.
Austin sued Walgreen Co. after she slipped and fell at a
Walgreens store in northwestern Indiana, breaking her knee. A
magistrate judge, presiding by consent, granted summary
judgment to Walgreen. For the reasons set forth below, we
cold January day, Robin Austin went to a Walgreens store in
Hebron, Indiana. When she arrived, a snowplow was leaving the
parking lot. After spending some time in the store, she was
walking toward the registers when she slipped and fell.
Austin did not see anything on the floor that would have
caused the fall. At her deposition, she described her
experience this way: "I-walking towards the cash
register, my right foot hit something wet, and all of my
weight landed on my left knee. I went down, all my weight on
my left knee, and then immediately fell backwards on my
back." She assumes she slipped on water.
Parsons, another customer at the Walgreens that day, was the
first to come to Austin's assistance after the fall. She
does not recall seeing anything on the floor. Others who
arrived at the scene shortly after the fall also did not see
anything on the floor. Gabriel Luna, the assistant store
manager, also testified that he was not aware that there was
any water on the floor prior to Austin's fall.
Vanderhere, Austin's friend, arrived at the store
approximately seven minutes after Austin fell. Vanderhere
observed "water everywhere, " and she took several
pictures showing puddles of water in the general area where
Austin had fallen and where people had gathered after the
after Vanderhere's arrival, paramedics arrived to take
Austin to St. Anthony Medical Center. The paramedics recorded
that Austin told them she "was walking and slipped on
wet floor." At St. Anthony Medical Center, the doctor
noted that Austin told him "she was walking in Walgreens
… when she slipped on water, and fell onto her left
kneecap." Austin was diagnosed with a broken kneecap.
subsequently brought suit against Walgreen in Indiana state
court. Citing diversity jurisdiction, Walgreen removed the
case to the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana. The parties consented to the assignment
of their case to a magistrate judge. Walgreen moved for
summary judgment. In response to the motion, Austin submitted
her statements to the paramedics and the doctor at St.
Anthony Medical Center. Walgreen moved to strike those
statements as inadmissible hearsay. In a single order, the
magistrate judge granted the motion to strike and the motion
for summary judgment. The judge concluded that the statements
did not fit within an exception to the rule against hearsay
and that Austin had failed to show that Walgreen's
negligence caused her injury. Austin now appeals.
review the grant of summary judgment de novo,
construing all facts and drawing all inferences "in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party."
Zuppardi v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 770 F.3d 644, 649
(7th Cir. 2014). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 directs
courts to enter 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). When we review a motion for summary
judgment, we do not "weigh the evidence" or
"determine the truth of the matter." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). We
merely "determine whether there is a genuine issue for
Supreme Court instructs that Rule 56 "mandates the entry
of summary judgment … against a party who fails to
make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
So, to ...