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Reed v. Bove

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 12, 2019

HUNTER REED, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FRANK BOVE, Defendant.

          Vascura Magistrate Judge.

          OPINION & ORDER

          ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Frank Bove's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 33). The Reeds are suing Frank Bove for negligence. For the reasons that follow, this Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         This case arises from an ATV accident in Meigs County, Ohio. On April 23, 2015, Frank Bove arrived at James and Terry Reed's property. Mr. Bove was interested in purchasing some of the Reeds' property. Because Mr. Reed was unavailable to meet Mr. Bove and show him the property, Mr. Reed's minor son, Hunter, met Mr. Bove instead. (ECF No. 3 at ¶¶ 4-8).

         The Reed's property is expansive. The Reeds allege that they told Mr. Bove he would need to bring an ATV with him when he visited the property. Mr. Bove did not do so. (ECF No. 3 at ¶¶ 6-10). Hunter Reed had one ATV available and looked for another ATV when Mr. Bove arrived. (Id. at ¶¶ 11, 13). Finding only one ATV, Reed and Mr. Bove decided they would both ride the same ATV. Reed was sitting in the front and was driving the ATV. (ECF No. 33-1 at 2; ECF No. 3 at ¶ 21). Reed and Mr. Bove descended a hill, and Reed lost control of the ATV.

         Reed alleges that Mr. Bove “became agitated, excited and/or attempted to take control of the” vehicle. (ECF No. 3 at ¶ 21). The ATV crashed and both Bove and Reed were injured.

         B. Procedural Background

         Hunter Reed, James Reed, and Terry Reed sued Mr. Bove and other unidentified defendants in the Meigs County Court of Common Pleas in January 2017. Hunter Reed claimed compensatory and punitive damages against the Defendants for negligence. Terry and James Reed claimed damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium. Bove removed the case to this Court on February 27, 2017, invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1).

         Mr. Bove then filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 33). James and Terry Reed dismissed their claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. (ECF No. 41). The Motion for Summary Judgment is fully briefed and ripe for review.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A federal court sitting in diversity jurisdiction applies the federal standard for summary judgment. See Biegas v. Quickway Carriers, Inc., 573 F.3d 365, 374 (6th Cir. 2009). Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. A fact is material only if it “might affect the outcome of the lawsuit under the governing substantive law.” Wiley v. United States, 20 F.3d 222, 224 (6th Cir. 1994) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. S.E.C. v. Sierra Brokerage Servs., Inc., 712 F.3d 321, 327 (6th Cir. 2013).

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of presenting law and argument in support of its motion as well as identifying the relevant portions of “‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). If the moving party satisfies this initial burden, then the nonmoving party must present “significant probative evidence” to show that “there is [more than] some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Moore v. Philip Morris Cos., Inc., 8 F.3d 335, 340 (6th Cir. 1993). The mere possibility of a factual dispute is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. See Mitchell v. Toledo Hospital, 964 F.2d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 1992).

         Summary judgment is inappropriate, however, “if the dispute about a material fact is ‘genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The necessary inquiry for this Court is “whether ‘the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.'” Patton v. Bearden, 8 F.3d 343, 346 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52). The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the opposing party's position is not enough to survive summary judgment; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the opposing party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251; Copeland v. Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 479 (6th Cir. 1995). It is proper to enter 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). Where the nonmoving party has “failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof, ” the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322 (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250).

         III. LAW & ANALYSIS

         Mr. Bove filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on three grounds: (1) the Reeds were required to file any claims against him as compulsory counterclaims in his earlier-filed state lawsuit; (2) Mr. Bove was not negligent; and (3) the negligent infliction of emotional distress claims should be dismissed. (ECF No. 33-1 at 6). This last argument is now moot ...


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