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Revell v. Simmons

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

November 12, 2014

JEROME REVELL and SALLY J. REVELL Plaintiffs,
v.
ARCHIE E. SIMMONS JR., and STAR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, LLC Defendants.

Date Submitted: August 13, 2014

On Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. GRANTED.

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.

ORDER

Calvin L. Scott Judge.

Introduction

Before the Court is Defendants Archie E. Simmons, Jr. ("Mr. Simmons") and Star Property Management LLC's ("Star") (collectively, "Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court has reviewed the parties' submissions. For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

Facts

On March 13, 2013, Plaintiffs Jerome Revell ("Mr. Revell") and Sally Revell ("Mrs. Revell") (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed this action against Defendants alleging personal injuries sustained by Mr. Revell after he slipped on water leaking from the ceiling in the bathroom of his residence on December 30, 2011.[1] The complaint stated that Mr. Revell fell at 904 N. Madison Street, Apartment 1, Wilmington, Delaware 19801.[2] On July 15, 2013, Defendants answered the Complaint and denied Plaintiffs' allegation that Mr. Simmons owned the Madison Street Property.[3] On October 9, 2013, in response to an interrogatory, Defendants again denied owning the property.

The Court issued Trial Scheduling Order stated that the deadline to file motions to amend was February 28, 2014[4] and the parties scheduled the depositions of 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.[5]

As a result of discovery and depositions, it is undisputed that Defendants have never owned or managed the property located at 904 N. Madison Street in Wilmington, Delaware.[6] For this reason, on March 10, 2014, [7] Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to amend their complaint to remove Simmons from the lawsuit, identify a different address for the alleged slip-and-fall, and add a separate defendant as the owner of the new address.[8]Based on the unduly delayed filing and Plaintiffs' inexcusable neglect, this Court denied Plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint on June 30, 2014.[9]

Parties' Contentions

Defendants assert that there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute because it is undisputed that Defendants never owned or managed the 904 N. Madison Street residence. Moreover, the Court denied Plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint to change the location at which the alleged injury occurred. Thus, Defendants owed Plaintiffs no duty because there is no nexus between Defendants and the location where Mr. Revell was allegedly injured.

Plaintiffs argue that there is a genuine issue of material fact because there are factual disputes as to whether Simmons owned the property where the alleged injury occurred and whether Simmons had knowledge of the incident. Plaintiffs now claim that Mr. Revell was injured at 418 E. 11thStreet, Apartment A, Wilmington, Delaware 19801, which is owned by Mr. Simmons' umbrella company, Owl's Nest Properties, LLC. Moreover, Plaintiffs argue that Simmons had knowledge of a lease agreement between Simmons and ...


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