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McCaffrey v. City of Wilmington

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

January 31, 2014

MORGAN MCCAFFREY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF WILMINGTON, PATROLMAN MICHAEL SPENCER, individually and in his capacity as an officer, WILMINGTON SERGEANT DONALD BLUESTEIN, individually and in his capacity as an officer, SERGEANT GERALD MURRAY, individually and in his capacity as an officer, CORPORAL RALPH SCHIFANO, individually and in his capacity as an officer, MASTER SERGEANT SHERRI TULL, individually and in her capacity as an officer, and CHIEF MICHAEL J. SZCZERBA, individually and in his capacity as an officer, Defendants.

Submitted: October 4, 2013.

Upon Motion for Reargument, or in the Alternative, Motion to Certify Interlocutory Appeal[1]

Laura J. Simon, Esquire, Dalton & Associates, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Plaintiff Morgan McCaffrey.

Louis B. Ferrara, Esquire, Ferrara & Haley, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant Michael Spencer.

Daniel F. McAllister, Esquire, City of Wilmington Law Department, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendants City of Wilmington, Donald Bluestein, Gerald Murray, Ralph Schifano, Sherri Tull and Michael J. Szczerba.

ERIC M. DAVIS, Judge.

Introduction

This is a personal injury and civil rights action brought by Plaintiff Morgan McCaffrey. Ms. McCaffrey seeks damages against Defendants City of Wilmington (the "City"), Patrolman Michael Spencer, Sergeant Donald Bluestein, Sergeant Gerald Murray, Corporal Ralph Schifano, Master Sergeant Sherri Tull, and Chief Michael Szczerba (collectively, "Defendants") arising from events surrounding a June 5, 2010 traffic accident. In addition to claims of negligence and recklessness against Officer Spencer, Ms. McCaffrey alleges that her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection were violated by Defendants as government actors on June 5, 2010, following a car accident she incurred with Officer Spencer while he was off-duty.

On June 26, 2013, after extensive briefing and a hearing, the Court granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Sergeant Bluestein, Sergeant Murray, Corporal Schifano, Master Sergeant Tull, Chief Szczerba and the City (the "Decision"). Through the Decision, the Court entered judgment in favor of the City of Wilmington, Sergeant Donald Bluestein, Sergeant Gerald Murray, Corporal Ralph Schifano, Master Sergeant Sherri Tull, and Chief Michael Szczerba on all claims asserted against these parties Counts II, III and IV of the Second Amended Complaint. On July 3, 2013, Ms. McCaffrey filed a motion (the "Motion") for reargument.

For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.

Parties' Contentions

A. Ms. McCaffrey

Ms. McCaffrey makes three arguments in the Motion. First, Ms. McCaffrey contends that Defendants did not seek to dismiss, and the Court did not rule upon Ms. McCaffrey's state tort gross negligence and reckless retention and supervision claims.[2] Second, Ms. McCaffrey claims that the Court overlooked controlling precedent and misapprehended the facts on the Section 1983 claims against Defendants relating to gross negligent and reckless retention and supervision claims as well as the failure to appropriately discipline officers with alcohol-related misconduct. Finally, Ms. McCaffrey argues that the Court misapprehended the law and facts ...


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