United States District Court, D. Arizona
BRIDGET S. BADE, District Judge.
Defendants Glacier Water Services, Inc., Trevor Barrows, and Rosemary Barrows (Defendants) have filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). (Doc. 52.) Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiffs' negligence claims because Plaintiffs have not offered any evidence of causation. ( Id. ) Plaintiffs Robert Parker, Linda Parker, and Jerold Jones (Plaintiffs) oppose the motion on the ground that Defendants waived any arguments regarding causation. (Doc. 55.) Plaintiffs alternatively argue that they have established causation. ( Id. ) Plaintiffs have also filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on the issues of duty, causation, and damages. ( Id. ) As set forth below, the Court denies both motions for summary judgment.
I. Factual Background
This matter arises from a two-vehicle, intersection-related collision that occurred in Washington, Kansas on January 19, 2011. (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 7, 10, 11; DSOF ¶ 7.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Trevor Barrows (Barrows) was negligent in causing the accident, and that Defendant Glacier Water Services, Inc. (Glacier), his employer, is vicariously responsible for his negligence. (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 9-15.) Plaintiff Robert Parker (Parker) was driving one of the vehicles (a truck with a horse trailer) involved in the collision and Plaintiff Jerold Jones (Jones) was a passenger in Parker's vehicle. Parker was travelling westbound. (PSOF ¶ 10.) Barrows was travelling southbound. (Doc. 55 at 3.) Plaintiffs allege that Barrows had a stop sign before the intersection and that Parker had the right way because there was no traffic control device in his direction as he entered the intersection. (PSOF ¶¶ 10, 12.) Plaintiffs allege that Barrows failed to yield at the stop sign for westbound traffic and collided with the vehicle in which Parker and Jones were travelling. (PSOF ¶ 11, 12.) Parker and Jones allegedly sustained injuries as a result of collision. (PSOF ¶¶ 14, 15, Exs. B, C.)
II. Procedural Background
Plaintiffs filed their complaint in January 2013. (Doc. 1.) In June 2013, Defendants filed an answer denying that they were negligent and denying Plaintiffs' allegations that "[a]s a direct a proximate result of Defendants' negligence, Plaintiffs sustained injuries and damages." (Doc. 15 ¶ 9 (denying Plaintiffs' allegations in ¶ 15 of the Complaint).) In August 2013, the parties filed a joint proposed discovery plan in which Defendants disputed "liability" and the "nature and extent of any damages that may have resulted from the accident." (Doc. 25 at 2.)
In October 2013, the Court issued a Rule 16 Scheduling Order that directed the parties to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure with respect to disclosure and discovery. (Doc. 29.) The Scheduling Order specifically directed Plaintiffs to "provide full and complete expert disclosures required by Rule 26(a)(2)(A)-(C) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure no later than February 14, 2014." (Doc. 29 at 2.) Defendants were to disclose their experts by March 14, 2014, and rebuttal opinions, if any, were to be disclosed by March 28, 2014. ( Id. ) Both fact and expert discovery was to be completed by April 18, 2014. ( Id. at 2-3.)
On February 14, 2014, Plaintiffs disclosed their expert witnesses. (DSOF, Ex. 1.) Plaintiffs disclosed Parker's treating doctor, Eric J. Eross, D.O., and Jones's treating doctor, Dr. Alan Corbett, under Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, or 705. ( Id. at 1-2.) Plaintiffs stated that the "subject matter" of Dr. Eross's testimony was expected to include his examination of Parker regarding his complaints of headaches and head pain. ( Id. ) Plaintiffs also stated that Dr. Eross would offers his opinions regarding Parker's post-concussive syndrome and memory loss and that Parker's symptoms "are consistent with trauma sustained in the motor vehicle accident which is the subject matter of this proceeding." ( Id. at 1-2.)
Plaintiffs stated that Dr. Corbett was expected to present evidence regarding his examination of Jones related to his complaints of knee pain, numbness in his hands, neck pain, and shoulder pain. ( Id. ) Plaintiffs further stated that Dr. Corbett was expected to opine that Jones's "symptoms are consistent with the trauma sustained in the motor vehicle accident which is the subject matter of this proceeding." ( Id. ) Plaintiff also produced Dr. Eross's and Dr. Corbett's treatment records. (DSOF, Exs. 2, 3.)
III. Summary Judgment Standard
A party seeking summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, 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). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit will preclude the entry of summary judgment, and the disputed 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).
IV. Standards to Establish Negligence under Arizona Law
Plaintiffs assert a negligence claim against Defendants for the injuries they allegedly sustained as a result of the 2011 accident. (Doc. 1.) To prevail on a negligence claim, Plaintiffs must prove four elements: (1) a duty on the part of the defendant to exercise reasonable care, (2) a breach of that duty, (3) a causal connection between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury, and (4) actual damages. Gipson v. Kasey, 150 P.3d 228, 230 (Ariz. 2007).
The existence of a duty is generally a question of law, while the other three elements are factual issues "generally within the province of the jury." Ritchie v. Krasner, 211 P.3d 1272, 1279 (Ariz.Ct.App. 2009) (citing Gipson, 150 P.3d at 230); see Ball v. Prentice, 781 P.2d 628, 630 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1989) (the "nature, severity and extent of [a plaintiff's] injuries and whether they are supported by medical or other expert witnesses is a question for the trier of fact."); Smith v. Chapman, 564 P.2d 900, 903 (Ariz. 1977) ...