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Holmes v. News Journal Co.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

April 20, 2015

MARVIN HOLMES, Plaintiff,
v.
THE NEWS JOURNAL CO., Defendant.

Submitted: March 16, 2015

Upon Defendant's Motion to Dismiss GRANTED

Upon Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment DENIED

Marvin Holmes, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

Chad M. Shandler, Esquire, Christine D. Haynes, Esquire, Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A., Attorneys for Defendant

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THE HONORABLE MARY M. JOHNSTON JUDGE

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL CONTEXT

On January 31, 2012, Defendant The News Journal Company ("The News Journal") published an article ("January 2012 Article"), reporting that Plaintiff Marvin Holmes ("Holmes") had been arrested. The article stated that Holmes had been sought since November 2011 for the attempted rape of a Newark woman. It reported that Holmes was charged with Attempted Rape Second Degree and Strangulation. The News Journal published a second article on February 25, 2013 ("February 2013 Article"), reporting that Holmes had been arrested a second time. The article stated that Holmes was charged with Escape After Conviction, as well as a violation of probation in connection with a violent assault that occurred in 2012. It also noted that the crime for which Holmes was on probation was unknown at the time the article was published.

On November 12, 2013, Holmes filed a Complaint asserting a defamation claim against The News Journal. Holmes states that The News Journal was under a duty to inform the public that the attempted rape and strangulation charges had been dismissed. Holmes further claims that the February 2013 Article was inaccurate because it suggested that he had been convicted of the attempted rape and strangulation charge. He also states that the February 2013 Article incorrectly reported that he was charged with Escape After Conviction on February 25, 2013, and claims that he was charged with that crime at a later date. Holmes seeks monetary damages in the amount of $34 million. In addition, Holmes seeks to have the Court compel The News Journal to publish an article stating that Holmes was not convicted of attempted rape and strangulation, thus "clearing his name."

On September 23, 2014, Holmes filed a Motion for Default Judgment. Holmes stated that the Complaint was filed in November 2013 and at the time of filing the Motion for Default Judgment, The News Journal had yet to respond to the Complaint.

On October 31, 2014, counsel for the News Journal entered their appearance. On November 7, 2014, The News Journal filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint and a Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment.

On November 21, 2014, Holmes filed a "Response to All of Christine Haynes' Motions, Responses, Affidavits . . . etc., Dated November 7, 2014." In his response, Holmes renewed the arguments previously made in his Complaint and Motion for Default Judgment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW


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