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Holmes v. D'Elia

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

April 20, 2015

MARVIN HOLMES Plaintiff,
v.
DETECTIVE GREGORY D'ELIA, Defendant.

Submitted: February 19, 2015

Upon Defendant's Motion to Dismiss GRANTED

MEMORANDUM OPINION Marvin Holmes, Pro Se. Rochelle Gumapac, Esquire, White and Williams LLP, Attorney for Defendant.

MARY M. JOHNSTON J.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL CONTEXT

This litigation arises from the arrest of Defendant Marvin Holmes ("Holmes") on January 28, 2012. Holmes filed a Complaint on December 23, 2013, alleging that Detective Gregory D'Elia ("D'Elia") negligently investigated and charged Holmes with the rape and strangulation of Heidi Schwigniffer ("Schwigniffer") in late 2011 and early 2012. Holmes seeks to recover monetary damages from D'Elia for the physical and mental distress Holmes allegedly has suffered as a result of being charged with rape and strangulation.

On February 12, 2014, D'Elia filed a Motion to Dismiss on two grounds: (1) under Superior Court Civil Rule 4(f) claiming insufficiency of process; and (2) under Superior Court Civil Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.

On March 17, 2014, the Court issued an Order that: (1) denied D'Elia's Motion to Dismiss for insufficiency of process; and (2) found that D'Elia's Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim was not yet ripe for judicial determination. Under the March 17, 2014 Order, Holmes was given an additional 60 days to respond to the merits of D'Elia's immunity defense.

Holmes subsequently filed several letters, the last of which was received on September 23, 2014. On November 25, 2014, the Court permitted D'Elia to file a Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss. D'Elia filed a Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss on December 29, 2014. On February 19, 2015, Holmes filed a Response to D'Elia's Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss. D'Elia's Motion to Dismiss is now ripe for adjudication.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

When reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must determine whether the claimant "may recover under any reasonably conceivable set of circumstances susceptible of proof."[1] The Court must accept as true all non-conclusory, well-pleaded allegations.[2] Every reasonable factual inference will be drawn in favor of the non-moving party.[3] If the claimant may recover under that standard of review, the Court must deny the motion to dismiss.[4]

ANALYSIS

The Delaware Tort Claims Act provides state employees with qualified immunity from civil liability.[5] The Act provides in pertinent part:

An employee may be personally liable for acts or omissions causing property damage, bodily injury or death in instances in which the governmental entity is immune under this section, but only for those acts which were not within the scope of employment or which were ...

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