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Schultz v. United States

United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

February 16, 2017, Decided; February 16, 2017, Filed




Conti, Chief District Judge.

This action is brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (the "FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 and 1346(b)(1). The complaint alleges that the United States (the "government" or "United States") was negligent in allowing John McCluskey1 to be exposed to Legionella bacteria through the potable water system at the Veterans Affairs University Drive hospital (the "VA hospital").

Fact discovery closed on January 21, 2016, and expert discovery closed on August 25, 2016. (ECF Nos. 23, 44). On September 23, 2016, the court issued a case management order with respect to summary judgment filings. (ECF No. 48). Now pending is the government's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 52), with a brief, concise statement of material facts ("CSMF") and numerous exhibits filed in support (ECF Nos. 53, 54). [*2]  Plaintiff filed a response and brief in opposition to the motion, responded to the government's CSMF, and submitted additional facts (ECF Nos. 55, 56, 57). Pursuant to court order, the parties submitted a Joint Statement of Material Facts ("JSMF"). (ECF No. 62). The government filed a reply brief (ECF No. 58), and the motion is ripe for disposition. Plaintiff's filings reveal several fundamental procedural misconceptions which must be addressed as a threshold matter.

I. Summary Judgment Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment shall be granted "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). Summary judgment may be granted against a party who fails to adduce facts sufficient to establish the existence of any element essential to that party's case, and for which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986).

The moving party bears the initial burden of identifying evidence that demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323; Aman v. Cort Furniture Rental Corp., 85 F.3d 1074, 1080 (3d Cir. 1996). Once that burden has been met, the nonmoving party must identify "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial," or the factual [*3]  record will be taken as presented by the moving party, and judgment will be entered as a matter of law. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Corp. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1986). An issue is "genuine" only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In assessing the record, a court must view all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and must draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all doubts in that party's favor. Hugh v. Butler County Family YMCA, 418 F.3d 265, 266 (3d Cir. 2005).

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2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21856 *; 2017 WL 635289

JACQUELYN L. SCHULTZ Administratrix of the Estate of John C. McCluskey, Deceased., Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

Prior History: Schultz v. United States, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129151 (W.D. Pa., Sept. 25, 2015)


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