Summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party without a full trial. More specifically, summary judgment may be granted where the legal claim or cause of action can be decided upon certain facts without a trial. Can you receive summary judgement in a negligence case against a squat machine manufacturer?
In order to succeed in a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show (1) that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and (2) that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La. C.C.P. art. 966. A “material fact” is any fact that may be important, valuable, or critical in deciding a case, the suppression of which may reasonably result in a different decision. The movant, then, bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, but the movant need only identify the absence of factual support for one or more elements essential to the opposing party’s claim. If the opposing party then fails to produce factual support for the challenged elements of his claim, summary judgment in favor of the movant is proper.
In the present case, Thomas Nearhood incurred injuries while exercising on a squat machine at an Anytime Fitness gym in Pineville, Louisiana. The accident happened as a result of Nearhood’s failure to properly secure the weighted bar with the latching mechanism provided for that purpose. One year after sustaining his injuries, Nearhood filed suit against a number of defendants, including Precor, the manufacturer of the squat machine. In his petition, Nearhood claimed that the squat machine did not provide sufficient warnings or instructions to prevent injuries such as his.