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Jackson v. Stallings

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

April 17, 2014

LATISHA M. JACKSON Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN STALLINGS, ANTHONY DIZDAR, KATHERINE DEGLIOBIZZI and PRUDENTIAL FOX & ROACH Defendants, and KATHERINE DEGLIOBIZZI and PRUDENTIAL FOX & ROACH, Defendants/Third Party Plaintiffs,
v.
GRANITE INSPECTION SERVICES and REMAX ASSOCIATES, INC. Third Party Defendants, JOHN STALLINGS Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff
v.
DIVERSIFIED CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC. Third Party Defendant.

Submitted: April 8, 2014

On Defendant Anthony Dizdar's Motion for Summary Judgment

GRANTED James J. Haley, Jr., Esquire, of FERRARA & HALEY, attorney for Plaintiff Latisha Jackson.

Michele D. Allen, Esquire, of LAW OFFICES OF MICHELE D. ALLEN, LLC, attorney for Defendant Anthony Dizdar.

The Honorable Andrea L. Rocanelli

Plaintiff Latisha Jackson bought a home at 1217 Lobdell Street in Wilmington, Delaware ("Property"), from John Stallings on August 10, 2007. Prior to purchasing the Property, Plaintiff visited the Property in April or May of 2007. The Property was being renovated at this time. Stallings provided Plaintiff with a Seller's Disclosure of Real Property Condition Report ("Report"). The Report stated that there were no drainage or flood problems affecting the Property, there were no problems with the walls or foundations, and there was no water leakage or dampness in the basement crawlspace. Plaintiff subsequently signed an Agreement of Sale. Stallings also signed the Agreement of Sale on June 19, 2007.

On August 3, 2007, Anthony Dizdar, an inspector for the City of Wilmington's Department of License and Inspection, signed the Certificate of Occupancy for the Property. On August 10, Plaintiff and Stallings walked through the Property and observed that the basement was wet. Plaintiff proceeded with settlement.

Plaintiff continued to observe wet conditions in the basement and Stallings attempted to repair the conditions on various occasions using "moisture dry" and a humidifier. On October 24, Plaintiff informed Stallings that the floor in Plaintiff's kitchen, dinning room, and living room were sagging. Stallings visited the Property the following day and informed Plaintiff that he would fix the problem. No one ever came to fix the problem. When Plaintiff called Stallings, Plaintiff received a "disconnected" message at Stallings' phone number.

Plaintiff left a phone message with Wilmington's Department of License and Inspection on November 5, 2007, complaining about the deterioration of the Property. Dizdar met Plaintiff at the Property the following day. Dizdar walked through the Property and told Plaintiff that the Property was in violation and never should have passed the Certificate of Occupancy inspection. Dizdar informed Plaintiff that Plaintiff would receive a violations report within forty-eight hours and the report would be referenced to Stallings, who would be financially responsible for the repairs.

Plaintiff received the violation notice on November 9. The notice stated that the Property was vacant and gave Plaintiff a period of time to fix the violations. Plaintiff called contractors for estimates to fix the Property and two separate contractors estimated the total to be approximately $30, 000 to fix the Property.

City of Wilmington License and Inspection employees Leo Lynch and Louis Camacho visited the Property on November 12. Lynch stated that the house should not have passed inspection and an internal investigation would be completed to see who had issued the Certificate of Occupancy. Several days later, Lynch informed Plaintiff that Dizdar was the individual who signed the original Certificate of Occupancy on August 3, 2007. From November 2 to December 2, contractors from the City of Wilmington wedged supports in the basement to support the sagging floor above it.

Plaintiff contends that, as a result of the conditions of the Property, she and her family have suffered unsafe living conditions, loss of value of the property, mental and emotional distress, loss and enjoyment of life, lost time and expenses, and consequential damages. Plaintiff claims that Dizdar is personally liable for: (1) willful and wanton conduct, (2) violation of federal due process, and (3) violation of state due process.

Dizdar has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which is opposed by Plaintiff. After written submissions by the parties, the Court heard oral argument. This is the Court's decision ...


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