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Yossick-Cave v. Litten

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

February 5, 2015

TAYLOR L. YOSSICK-CAVE, Plaintiff,
v.
LOWELL S. LITTEN, JR., individually, and in his official capacity, CHESAPEAKE CONFERENCE ASSOCIATION OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS, a Delaware Corporation, a/k/a DOVER FIRST SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH and f/k/a EASTERN SHORE JUNIOR ACADEMY, COLUMBIA UNION CONFERENCE ASSOCIATION OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS, a District of Columbia Corporation, Defendants.

Submitted: January 12, 2015

Upon Consideration of Defendant Lowell S. Litten, Jr.'s Motion to Dismiss

Scott E. Chambers, Esquire, Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A., Dover, Delaware for Plaintiff.

Lowell S. Litten, Jr., pro se.

Benjamin C. Wetzel, III, Esquire, Wetzel & Associates, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware for Defendants Chesapeake Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists and Columbia Union Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists.

ORDER

Robert B. Young J.

SUMMARY

Taylor Yossick-Cave ("Plaintiff") filed a civil suit sounding in tort, breach of contract, and negligence, among other theories, against Lowell S. R. Litten, Jr. ("Defendant"), [1] Chesapeake Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists ("Chesapeake"), and Columbia Union Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists ("Columbia"). Defendant is currently incarcerated in Maryland, having been found guilty of sexually abusing Plaintiff in a criminal trial. Plaintiff's current civil action stems from these same events.

Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint under three theories: 1) his name is improperly listed in the pleadings; 2) he was not served properly; and 3) the Court lacks jurisdiction over him. As regards the first contention, the Court finds that there has been no prejudice to Defendant by this minor spelling error. Moreover, Plaintiff, when alerted of this matter, promptly amended her pleadings. With respect to Defendant's second theory, a review of the docket reveals that service was proper under 10 Del. C. §3104. Finally, the Court holds that personal jurisdiction over Defendant is appropriate, given the nature of the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint. Defendant is said to have committed a tort in Delaware. Further, due process considerations are not offended by the prosecution of this suit in the State. Therefore, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

FACTS AND PROCEDURES

Plaintiff and her family were members of Dover First Seventh-Day Adventists Church ("Dover First") located in Delaware, which is operated by Chesapeake. According to Plaintiff, Chesapeake actively recruited congregants to attend its parochial school, Eastern Shore Junior Academy ("Eastern Shore"), located in Maryland. Defendant was employed by Chesapeake, working at the school as a principal, teacher, and coach. Eastern Shore and Defendant are further said to have been under the supervision of Columbia. Plaintiff enrolled at Eastern Shore in or about 2002.

It was following Plaintiff's enrollment that the alleged abuse began. While Plaintiff was in the fifth grade, aged eleven years, Defendant purportedly began his serial sexual abuse. Plaintiff alleges that their encounters escalated over a year period, continuing on into her twelfth year. Defendant is alleged to have violated Plaintiff in both the states of Maryland and Delaware.

As a result of the purported abuse, Defendant was criminally tried, and sentenced to consecutive prison terms in Maryland and in Delaware. Defendant is currently incarcerated in a Maryland correctional facility, located in Cumberland. At the completion of his term in Maryland, Defendant will begin serving his Delaware sentence. The occurrences, leading to ...


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