United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment filed by Defendants Safron Logistics and Michael
Mathenge (referred to collectively as "Defendants")
(ECF No. 43) and the Motion for Sanctions Against Defendants
for Failure to Pay Sanctions filed by Plaintiff Timothy
Felton (ECF No. 46). The motions are fully briefed. After
careful consideration, the Court denies both motions.
September 11, 2017, Plaintiff Timothy Felton was traveling
eastbound on Dunn Road approaching the intersection with
Lilac Avenue located in northern St. Louis County.
(Defs.' Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute
("DSMF") ¶ 1, ECF No. 45) At approximately the
same time, Defendant Michael Mathenge was driving a
tractor-trailer and traveling westbound on Dunn Road
approaching the same intersection with Lilac Avenue.
(Id. at ¶ 2) Mathenge is employed by Defendant
Safron Logistics, a Canadian trucking company. (Compl.
¶¶ 2, 9, ECF No. 1) According to Defendants,
Mathenge activated his left turn signal to indicate he
intended to turn left onto southbound Lilac Avenue, stopped
at the stop sign for his direction of travel on Dunn Road,
then entered the intersection before Plaintiff. (DSMF at
¶¶ 3-5) Plaintiff, on the other hand, maintains
that he entered the intersection before Mathenge and that
Mathenge did not utilize his left turn signal before turning
left onto southbound Lilac Avenue. (Pl./Countercl. Def.'s
Resp. to Defs.'/Counterclaimants' Statement of
Material Facts Not in Dispute ("PSMF") ¶¶
3, 5-7, ECF No. 55) Plaintiffs vehicle and Mathenge's
tractor-trailer collided, causing physical injuries and
damage to both vehicles. (DSMF at ¶ 7)
filed this lawsuit asserting separate claims for negligence
and negligence per se pursuant to Missouri Revised
Statutes § 304.351.4 against Safron Logistics (Counts I and
II) and Mathenge (Counts III and IV). (Compl., ECF No. 1) In
response, Defendants assert counterclaims against Plaintiff
for negligence (Count I) and negligence per se
pursuant to § 304.351.4 (Count II). (Defs.' Answers,
Affirmative Defense and Counter Claim to Pl.'s Compl.,
ECF No. 8) Defendants now move for the Court to enter summary
judgment in their favor on Plaintiffs claims against them and
their counterclaim against Plaintiff. Plaintiff is opposed to
the motion and contends there are genuine issues of material
fact that prevent summary judgment from being entered in this
case prior to trial.
Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if "the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v.
Citrate, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Torgerson v. City
of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011). The
substantive law determines which facts are critical and which
are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Only disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome will properly preclude summary judgment.
Id. Summary judgment is not proper if the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Id.
moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court
of the basis of its motion. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S.
at 323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the
nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating
that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material
fact, not the "mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere
allegations or denials of his pleading. Id.
passing on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view
the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 331. The Court's
function is not to weigh the evidence but to determine
whether there is a genuine issue for trial.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. "Credibility
determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing
of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions,
not those of a judge." Torgerson, 643 F.3d at
1042 (quoting Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods.,
Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)).
argue they are entitled to partial summary judgment on
Plaintiffs claims based on a failure-to-yield theory because
the relevant state statute provides the driver of the second
vehicle to enter an intersection owes the duty to yield
right-of-way to the driver of the first vehicle. Pursuant to
Missouri Revised Statutes § 304.351.4(2)(a):
Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or
traffic-control signal, every driver of a vehicle
approaching a stop intersection, indicated by a stop sign,
shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none,
before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the
intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the
intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of
approaching traffic in the intersecting roadway before
entering the intersection. After having stopped, the
driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has
entered the intersection from another highway or which is
approaching so closely on the highway as to
constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such
driver is moving across or within the intersection.
(Emphasis added). According to Defendants, Mathenge entered
the intersection before Plaintiff and, thus, was owed the
duty to yield right-of-way.
disputes that assertion. In addition to claiming he entered
the intersection before Mathenge and, therefore, was entitled
to the right-of-way pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute
§ 304.351.4(2)(a), Plaintiff also argues subsection 3 of
that same statue requires "[t]he driver of a vehicle
within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall
yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the
opposite direction which is within the intersection or so
close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard." Mo.
Rev. Stat. § 304.351.3. Because Mathenge intended to
make a left turn and Plaintiff was in the intersection first,
Plaintiff concludes Mathenge should have yielded the
argue Plaintiff has conceded that Mathenge entered the
intersection first. During his deposition, Plaintiff
testified to the following ...