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King v. McKenna

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

June 29, 2015

CHRISTOPHER KING, J.D. d/b/a KINGCAST/MORTGAGE MOVIES, Plaintiff,
v.
BETTY LOU McKENNA, HOLLY MALONE and JOHN W. PARADEE, ESQUIRE, Defendants.

Submitted: June 23, 2015

Christopher King, Pro se.

Joseph S. Shannon, Esquire, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendants Betty Lou McKenna and Holly Malone.

Peter C. McGivney, Esquire, Elzufon Austin Tarlov & Mondell, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant John W. Paradee, Esquire.

ORDER

ROBERT B. YOUNG J.

SUMMARY

The controversy surrounding the contested election for Kent County Recorder of Deeds ("Recorder of Deeds") continues to engender litigation. Christopher King ("Plaintiff") a self-proclaimed web video journalist from Washington State, arrived on the scene of the election, apparently, to investigate allegedly slanderous comments made against one of the candidates for the position, La Mar Gunn. During the course of Plaintiff's reporting, he claims to have attempted to enter the office of the Recorder of Deeds, in order to videotape its interior. Plaintiff avers that Holly Malone ("Defendant Malone"), Betty Lou McKenna ("Defendant McKenna"), the Recorder of Deeds, and John Paradee, Esq. ("Defendant Paradee" and, together with Defendant McKenna and Defendant Malone, "Defendants") thwarted his videotaping efforts, expelling him from the office.

As a result of these alleged events, Plaintiff brings constitutional and tort cla ims against each of the Defendants. In response, Defendants have filed motions for judgment on the pleadings with respect to all claims. Even accepting all of the factual allegations in the Complaint as true, the Court finds, as a matter of law, that both the constitutional and tort claims asserted against Defendants are unsustainable. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motions for judgment on the pleadings.

Plaintiff has, additionally, filed a motion to amend the Complaint, as well as and a motion for reconsideration. The motion to amend the Complaint seeks to add a second constitutional claim. Given the liberal standard for granting such motions, the Court obliges Plaintiff's request, permitting him to add the claim. However, this ruling has no effect on the Court's findings with respect to the original claims, as discussed infra.

Plaintiff also seeks reconsideration of this Court's previous ruling, regarding the use of video recording in the Courtroom. The Court has already determined this issue. Pursuant to Administrative Directive 155, paragraph E, this is discretionary with the Court, which has declined video use in this matter. Plaintiff's motion fails to allege any legally recognizable justification for reconsideration of this matter. The motion is DENIED.

FACTS AND PROCEDURES

On or about November 25, 2014, Plaintiff, a web video journalist, attempted to enter the offices of the Recorder of Deeds, filming its interior with a video camera. Plaintiff claims that his purpose was to investigate purported allegations made against La Mar Gunn, a candidate for the Recorder of Deeds position, that he had engaged in voter fraud. Upon arriving, Plaintiff avers that his journalistic endeavors were met by the opposition of Defendant Malone, who informed him that administrative policy prevented the video recording of the offices. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Malone made two phone calls: one to Defendant McKenna, and one to Defendant Paradee, presumably, regarding this issue. Plaintiff alleges that he was told he would be arrested if he persisted in his efforts to videotape the offices.

By letter dated December 15, 2014, Mary Sherlock, Esq., a Kent County Row Office Attorney, responded to Plaintiff's inquiry regarding whether there was a policy forbidding video recording of the Recorder of Deeds office. Mary Sherlock, Esq. informed Plaintiff that there was no such policy.

Following receipt of this letter, in February of 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with the Kent County Court of Common Pleas, alleging constitutional and tort claims against Defendants. The Court of Common Pleas transferred Plaintiff's case to this Court on March 25, 2015.

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend ...


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