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McGinnis v. Newell Brands Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

June 1, 2017

JOHNATHIN ERIN GLENN MCGINNIS Plaintiff,
v.
NEWELL BRANDS INC. f/k/a NEWELL RUBBERMAID INC. and WAL-MART STORES, INC. Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Graham C. Mullen United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 20) and Memorandum in Support (Doc. No. 20-1). Plaintiff has not filed a response, and the allotted time in which to do so has passed. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On May 5, 2017, Defendants, Newell Brands Inc. f/k/a Newell Rubbermaid Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., moved this Court for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims in this matter. In support of their motion, Defendants submitted a Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Doc. No. 21). Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts was properly supported by admissions made by Plaintiff as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3) due to Plaintiff's failure to respond to any of the Defendants' Requests for Admissions. See generally Doc. No. 21, pp. 3-7.

         On May 8, 2017, this Court entered an Order (the “Roseboro Order”; Doc. No. 23) in accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) advising Plaintiff of his opportunity to file a response to the Motion for Summary Judgment and the manner in which evidence could be submitted to the Court, and giving Plaintiff “fourteen (14) days from the filing of [the Roseboro] Order in which to file [his] response to the Motion for Summary Judgment.”

         Under the terms of the Court's Roseboro Order, Plaintiff had 14 days from May 8, 2017 - i.e., until May 22, 2017 - to file a response to the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Even if the so-called “three-day-mail rule” were still in effect - which it no longer is, for electronic service under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(d) - Plaintiff had through and until May 25, 2017, in which to file his response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff did not file a response to the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment within the time specified in the Roseboro Order. Nor did Plaintiff file a response on or before May 25, 2017. Because Plaintiff did not respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment Motion, the only evidence in the record is the admissions made by Plaintiff to the Defendants' Requests for Admissions.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “The 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). A dispute is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 47 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is not sufficient to establish a genuine dispute. Id. at 252. A material fact affects the outcome of the suit under the applicable substantive law. See id. at 248. When determining whether a dispute is genuine or a fact is material, courts are required to view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the summary judgment motion. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).

         Once the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party. The nonmoving party “must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 322 n .3. The nonmoving party must present sufficient evidence from which “a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 47 U.S. at 248; accord Sylvia Dev. Corp. v. Calvert County, Md., 48 F.3d 810, 818 (4th Cir.1995). Further, and relevant to the present action, the nonmoving party may not rely upon mere allegations in his pleadings to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). Finally, “Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, 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.” Id. at 322.

         III. DISCUSSION

         In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants propose that the following facts are undisputed:

(1) Century Products Co. (“Century”) was the sole apparent or actual designer and manufacturer of the subject stroller (Doc. No. 21 at ¶ 16);
(2) Wal-Mart is a seller of retail goods and Wal-Mart acquired the subject stroller from Century in a sealed box with a label indicating that it was a Century-brand stroller (Id. at ¶ 17);
(3) The subject stroller was purchased in this sealed box with no labels indicating that the stroller was a ...

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