JEROME REVELL and SALLY J. REVELL, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
ARCHIE E. SIMMONS, JR., and STAR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants.
Submitted: March 25, 2014
On Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint.
Gary S. Nitsche, Esq. and Eileen McGivney, Esq. Weik, Nitsche, Dougherty & Galbraith. Wilmington, Delaware 19899. Attorneys for the Plaintiffs.
Joel H. Fredricks, Esq. Casarino Christman Shalk Ransom & Doss, P.A. Wilmington, DE 19899. Attorney for Defendants.
CALVIN L. SCOTT, JR. JUDGE
Before the Court is Plaintiffs Jerome and Sally Revell's ("Plaintiffs") Motion to Amend the Complaint brought in order to correctly identify the location of Mr. Revell's injury and to add the property owner as a party in this personal injury suit. The Court has reviewed the parties' submissions and held oral argument. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is DENIED.
On May 13, 2013, Plaintiffs filed this action against defendants, Archie E. Simmons, Jr. ("Mr. Simmons") and Star Property Management, LLC ("Star")(collectively, "Defendants"), alleging that Defendants' negligence caused Mr. Revell to suffer injury when he slipped and fell on water while he was inside a rental property on December 30, 2011. In the Complaint, Plaintiffs asserted that the rental property was located at 904 N. Madison Street, Apartment 1, Wilmington, Delaware 19801 (the "Madison Street Address" or "Madison Street Property") and that it was owned, operated and/or maintained by Mr. Simmons.
On July 12, 2013, Defendants issued written discovery requesting the addresses where the Plaintiffs previously resided. Plaintiffs provided the Madison Street Address and 503 Teller Street in Wilmington, Delaware.On July 15, 2013, Defendants answered the Complaint and denied Plaintiffs' allegation that Mr. Simmons owned the Madison Street Property.On October 9, 2013, in response to an interrogatory, Defendants again denied owning the property.
On December 4, 2013, the Court issued its Trial Scheduling Order, stating that the deadline to file motions to amend was February 28, 2014 and that the trial date was April 20, 2015.The parties scheduled depositions for Mr. Simmons and Plaintiffs for February 26, 2014. In early February, Plaintiffs' counsel contacted defense counsel to confirm that Mr. Simmons was denying ownership of the property where the incident occurred and to request that defense counsel provide the identity of owner.
Each of the depositions took place as scheduled on February 26, 2014. Mr. Revell was initially confused about the correct address where the incident occurred, but he eventually confirmed that he fell at the Madison Street Property.However, in Mrs. Revell's deposition, she testified that Mr. Revell fell at 418 East 11th Street, Apartment 1 (the "East 11th Street Address" or "East 11th Street Property").Mrs. Revell rented the apartment at the East 11th Street Address, unaccompanied by Mr. Revell, from Star after completing a rental application and an agreement under the last name "Chandler, " her last name from her prior marriage.It appears that Mr. and Mrs. Revell have been married since 1998. However, Mrs. Revell testified that she still uses "Chandler" in some cases.Mr. Simmons stated that he owned both Star, a management company, and Owl's Nest Properties, LLC ("Owl's Nest), an umbrella companyand that Owl's Nest was the owner of the East 11th Street Property.He also stated that the tenant who lived upstairs from the apartment at issue was evicted and moved out in September of 2013.
According to Plaintiffs, it was not until the date of the depositions that Plaintiffs' counsel learned that the correct location was the East 11th Street Property and that the correct owner was Owl's Nest. According to Defendants, after the depositions took place, Plaintiffs' counsel then provided Defense counsel with the rental agreement for the apartment located at the East 11th Street Address. The rental agreement was between "Sally Chandler" and Star for a term of one year, from November 23, 2011 to October 31, 2012.Mrs. Revell signed the rental agreement as "Sally Chandler."Thereafter, Defendants located the rental application, which was also under the name "Sally Chandler."On the application, she stated that her present address was 502 North DuPont Street, not the Madison Street Address. In the space for the "Spouse/Roommate Name, " she only provided her daughter's name, Tashon Chandler. The application also required that she list all ...