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Holdaway v. Broulim's Supermarket

Supreme Court of Idaho

May 21, 2015

GARY HOLDAWAY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BROULIM'S SUPERMARKET, Defendant-Respondent

Page 1198

2015 Opinion No. 46

Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Madison County. Hon. Gregory W. Moeller, District Judge.

The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

Gary Holdaway, Boise, appellant Pro se.

Carey Perkins, LLP, Boise, for respondent.

J. JONES, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK, and Justices EISMANN, W. JONES and HORTON CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1199

 J. JONES, Justice

Gary Holdaway filed suit against Broulim's Supermarket, alleging that a titanium screw implanted in his leg was fractured when an automatic door at Broulim's malfunctioned and closed on the leg. Broulim's filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Holdaway failed to provide admissible evidence that the malfunctioning door fractured the screw and caused the resulting medical complications. The district court agreed, granted the motion, and Holdaway appealed. We affirm.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 4, 2009, Gary Holdaway was struck by an automobile while riding his bicycle in Rexburg, Idaho. He was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery, performed by Dr. Ronald Mills, to repair fractures to his right tibia and fibula. That surgery involved placing a metal rod and screws in his right leg. Holdaway's complaint alleges that on May 25, 2009, he was leaving Broulim's Supermarket on a " Rascal" motorized cart when an automatic door malfunctioned, closing on his injured leg and fracturing one of the surgically implanted screws. Holdaway claims that the rod in his leg subsequently shifted as a result of the fractured screw and, because Dr. Mills was unwilling to remove the metal rod and screws before the fracture healed, Holdaway " lived in severe pain for over a year" and now requires an additional surgery on his leg. Holdaway filed suit pro se on June 3, 2011. The complaint requests unspecified medical expenses, unspecified compensatory damages, and punitive damages in the amount of $100,000.

Broulim's moved for summary judgment on April 19, 2013. It argued that there is no genuine issue as to whether the door caused

Page 1200

 the screw to fracture because Holdaway failed to present any admissible evidence to show as much. In support of its motion, Broulim's submitted an affidavit that included Holdaway's medical records as an attachment. According to Broulim's, there is no indication in any of those records that the alleged incident at Broulim's either did cause or was likely to have caused the screw in Holdaway's leg to fracture. Instead, the only reference to a potential cause of the fractured screw is to an unrelated fall. Holdaway visited Dr. Mills on June 15, 2009, and Dr. Mills' treatment notes indicate that Holdaway " took a fall on [his injured leg]" and he did get " some swelling around the fracture site and some pain," and that " [t]he proximal screw has a little bit of a reverse bend in it." In an affidavit submitted in opposition to summary judgment, Holdaway states that he told Dr. Mills he fell on the stairs leading to his apartment the weekend after the alleged incident at Broulim's, and did not mention the malfunctioning door at Broulim's because he had forgotten about it. Holdaway's medical records show that he returned to Dr. Mills again on June 23, complaining of pain and swelling in his right leg. Again, there is no mention in Dr. Mills' notes that the screw was fractured or of any incident at Broulim's. Holdaway returned again on July 13, 2009, and Dr. Mills' notes indicate that " X-rays . . . . show that the proximal screw has fractured and [Holdaway] has self dynamized the fracture site." According to Holdaway's affidavit, Dr. Mills informed him at this time that the fall at his apartment could not have fractured the screw and that the screw must have been fractured " from a hard hit from the side," but Dr. Mills' treatment notes do not reflect that conversation. Holdaway ...


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