LARRY F. QUAILES, Plaintiff,
TERRANCE D. NEWTON, Defendant.
Submitted: April 29, 2013
On Defendant's Motion to Dismiss – DENIED
Donald L. Gouge, Jr., Esquire, Donald L. Gouge, Jr., LLC, Attorney for Plaintiff Larry F. Quailes.
A. Dale Bowers, Esquire, Law Office of A. Dale Bowers, P.A., Attorney for Defendant Terrance D. Newton.
William C. Carpenter, Jr., Judge
Before this Court is Defendant Terrance D. Newton's ("Newton") Motion to Dismiss the Complaint brought by Larry F. Quailes ("Quailes"). At issue is whether Newton either committed fraud or breached an oral agreement with Newton regarding the repurchase of real property, causing Newton to be unjustly enriched and Quailes to incur damages. The Court finds that, under the circumstances of this case, further discovery is appropriate to determine whether fraud was committed or a breach of contract occurred. Accordingly, at this juncture, Newton's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint brought by Quailes is hereby DENIED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Newton's Motion to Dismiss arises from Quailes' purchase of a 1600-square-foot, three (3) bedroom, two (2) bath home located at 205 W. 25th Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19802 (the "Property"). Specifically, on October 13, 2009, Quailes purchased the Property from Newton for $135, 000, which Quailes alleges is an amount far exceeding its actual value. However, Quailes and Newton had known each other for approximately four (4) years prior to the purchase, and Quailes believed that he was purchasing the Property to enable Newton to repair his credit score, obtain a debt consolidation loan, and acquire "some extra cash, " with the understanding that Newton would buy back the Property in six (6) to twelve (12) months when he was more financially secure. During this six (6) to twelve (12) month period, Newton agreed to manage the Property, collect the rent, and pay the mortgage. Until July 1011, Newton complied with this agreement. However, Newton fell behind in his payments, making his June and July mortgage payments in August 2011. Unfortunately, thereafter, the parties' relationship deteriorated; the Property has remained vacant since the summer of 2011 and, unsurprisingly, has fallen into a state of disrepair. The Property was listed on the market for sale for $50, 000, but sold at a short sale in March 2013 for $13, 800.
Consequently, on April 20, 2012, Quailes filed his Complaint against Newton, seeking damages in the amount of $100, 000. On March 13, 2013, Newton filed a Motion to Dismiss. On April 22, 2013, Quailes filed a Response to Newton's Motion to Dismiss. A hearing was held before the Court on April 29, 2013 and a decision was reserved.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under Delaware Superior Court Civil Rule 12(b)(6), the Court may dismiss a plaintiff's claim for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted."When analyzing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must proceed without the benefit of a factual record and assume as true the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint. A complaint is "well-pleaded" if it puts the opposing party on notice of the claim being brought against it. Therefore, the Court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) only where the Court determines with "reasonable certainty" that no set of facts can be inferred from the pleadings upon which the plaintiff could prevail. Additionally, although the Court need not blindly accept as true all allegations nor draw all inferences in the plaintiff's favor, "it is appropriate . . . to give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from its pleading."
A. Parties Contentions
In support of its Motion to Dismiss, Newton argues that: 1) in attempting to enforce a contract for the sale of real estate, Quailes fails to present or reference a written agreement as is required by the Statute of Frauds; 2) even if there was an "agreement, " its terms were not sufficiently definite and certain so as to render it enforceable under Delaware law; 3) Quailes' alleged causes of action of unjust enrichment, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of contract, and fraud are duplicative; 4) Quailes unjust enrichment claim is outside the jurisdiction of the Superior Court; 5) Quailes' claim regarding Newton's breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing is not an independent cause of action recognized under Delaware law; 6) Quailes' fraud claim duplicates the allegations asserted in its ...