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Wood v. Rodeway Inn

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

March 4, 2015

JOHN F. WOOD & M. KRISTINA WOOD, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
RODEWAY INN & CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendants.

Submitted: January 12, 2015

Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Michael I. Silverman, Esquire, Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, Wilmington, Delaware for Plaintiff.

Marc S. Casarino, Esquire, and Agatha C. Mingos, Esquire, White and Williams, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendants.

ORDER

Robert B. Young J.

SUMMARY

John F. Wood and M. Kristina Wood ("Plaintiffs"), were guests of Rodeway Inn in Dover, Delaware. While attempting to make use of the bathtub, Mr. Wood alleges he slipped and fell, sustaining injuries to his spine. Plaintiffs argue that the accident and resulting injuries were proximately caused by the negligence of Rodeway Inn, and its owner/operator Choice Hotels International, Inc. ("Choice Hotels" and together with Rodeway Inn "Defendants").

Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint pursuant to Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12(b)(6) and 9(b). Defendants point to Brown v. Dover Downs, Inc., arguing that the Delaware Supreme Court's holding in that case would bar Plaintiffs' current suit. As per Defendants' account of Brown, innkeepers owe no duty to business invitees in their use of hotel room bathtubs. In the alternative, Defendants contend that Plaintiffs' Complaint lacks the requisite particularity called for by Rule 9(b) when pleading negligence.

The Court DENIES Defendants' motion. The scope of Brown's ruling does not reach the facts of this case. Therefore, it does not require this Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). With regard to Defendants' Rule 9(b) argument, the Court finds that, although Plaintiffs' Complaint borders upon vagueness, given Delaware's notice pleading standard, it would be premature to dismiss the action at such an early juncture. Plaintiffs have, even if in a meager manner, pled the requisite elements for their negligence suit.

FACTS AND PROCEDURES

On or about September 10, 2012, Plaintiffs, residents of Connecticut, were guests of Rodeway Inn, located in Dover, Delaware. Rodeway Inn is owned and operated by Choice Hotels. Plaintiffs allege that on this date, Mr. Wood slipped and fell in the bathtub of his room in the Rodeway Inn. Plaintiffs claim that Mr. Wood has suffered injuries as a result of this accident, including a fractured spine. On August 22, 2014, Plaintiffs filed the instant action against Defendants.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Court's standard of review on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 12(b)(6) is well-settled. The Court accepts all well-pled allegations as true.[1] Well-pled means that the complaint puts a party on notice of the claim being brought.[2] If the complaint and facts alleged are sufficient to support a claim on which relief may be granted, the motion is not proper and should be denied.[3] The test for sufficiency is a broad one.[4] If any reasonable conception can be formulated to allow Plaintiff's recovery, the motion to dismiss must be denied.[5] Dismissal ...


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