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Yarweh v. Greyhound Lines, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 3, 2019

TROYAH YARWEH Plaintiff,
v.
GREYHOUND LINES, LLC. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          C. DARNELL JONES, II J.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Troyah Yarweh commenced this action against Defendant Greyhound Lines, LLC, alleging injuries he sustained while riding as a passenger on a Greyhound Lines bus. This case was originally an arbitration matter. The arbitrators found in favor of Defendant and Plaintiff appealed, seeking a trial de novo. However, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment before a trial de novo could occur. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion shall be granted.

         II. Background

         The undisputed facts are as follows:

On May 16, 2018, Plaintiff was a Passenger on one of Defendant's buses, headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (SUF ¶1.) Plaintiff boarded Defendant's bus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where it was raining at the time. (SUF ¶3.) Defendant's bus made stops in Norristown and Harrisburg on its way to Pittsburgh. (SUF ¶3.) It was raining as passengers boarded and alighted from the bus. (SUF ¶¶8-9.) After waiting a period of time at the Harrisburg stop, Plaintiff decided to exit the bus with his daughter. (SUF ¶10.)

         The bus driver was not present at the bottom of the bus steps at the time Plaintiff decided to exit the bus.[1] (CSUF ¶25.) Additionally, there was an off-duty Greyhound employee present on the bus who did not take-over for the bus driver when she left her post at the bottom of the bus stairs. (CSUF ¶26.)

         As Plaintiff moved towards the front exit of the bus, he noticed the aisle near the top of the steps was wet. (SUF ¶11.) Plaintiff did not know how or when the aisle became wet, nor did he know whether the wet substance in the aisle was water. (SUF ¶¶12-14.) However, Plaintiff surmised that water had been tracked in by other passengers exiting and entering the bus in the rain. (CSUF ¶¶12-14). Plaintiff proceeded down the aisle carrying his daughter through the wet substance to the bus steps. (SUF ¶15.) Although Plaintiff did not see whether the steps were wet, he did observe there was water in the aisle near the top of the steps. (CSUF ¶¶16-17.) Plaintiff alleges he was caused to slip and fall on the wet substance on the steps of Defendant's Greyhound Bus. (SUF ¶¶16-17.)

         Emergency Medical Services transported Plaintiff from the Harrisburg Bus Station to the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (“UPMC Pinnacle”). (SUF ¶19.) UPMC Pinnacle's encounter records provide a statement by Plaintiff “that he believed he missed a step then felt and heard his (right) ankle pop.” (Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C.)[2] Plaintiff denies Defendant's interpretation of the hospital records but does not dispute the accuracy of the hospital's record of the incident.[3] (CSUF ¶¶20-21.)

         III. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) requires a court to grant 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 [dispute] as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a summary judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “If the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410, 416 (3d Cir. 2015) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Therefore, in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant must establish that the disputes are both: (1) material, meaning concerning facts that will affect the outcome of the issue under substantive law; and (2) genuine, meaning the evidence must be such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “Although the initial burden is on the summary judgment movant to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, ‘the burden on the moving party may be discharged by “showing”-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case' when the nonmoving party bears the ultimate burden of proof.” Singletary v. Pa. Dep't of Corr., 266 F.3d 186, 193 (3d Cir. 2001) (quoting Celotex, 477 at 325). “[A] nonmoving party must adduce more than a mere scintilla of evidence in its favor and cannot simply reassert factually unsupported allegations contained in its pleadings[.]” Williams v. West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). Accordingly, summary judgment is mandated “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, 477 U.S. at 322.

         IV. Discussion

         Defendant moves for Summary Judgment on three bases. First, Defendant asserts that between his deposition and medical records, Plaintiff has provided three different accounts regarding whether he saw the steps as he exited the bus. (Mot. Summ. J. 3.) Consequently, Defendant argues Plaintiff's inconsistent versions of the incident creates an absence of evidence to support Plaintiff's negligence claim (Mot. Summ. J. 4.) Second, Defendant asserts that even assuming Plaintiff's Complaint alleged material facts consistent with those established through discovery and testimony, Plaintiff's negligence claim fails because the facts provided by Plaintiff are purely circumstantial and do not outweigh other reasonable inferences as to the cause of Plaintiff's ...


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