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Diehl-Guerrero v. Hardy Boys Construction, LLC

Superior Court of Delaware

March 27, 2017

SHANNON C. DIEHL-GUERRERO, Plaintiff,
v.
HARDY BOYS CONSTRUCTION, LLC., RELIABLE HOME INSPECTION SERVICES, RHIS, INC., and WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, INC., Defendants.

          Submitted: March 17, 2017

         On Plaintiff's Application for Certification of Interlocutory Appeal Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 42. DENIED.

          Gary W. Alderson, Esquire, Elzufon Austin Tarlov & Mondell, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Plaintiff.

          Kathleen A. Murphy, Esquire, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc.

          ORDER

          Honorable Calvin L. Scott, Jr. Judge

         Background

         On February 28, 2017 this Court entered an Order granting Defendant Wells Fargo Home Mortgage's (hereinafter "Wells Fargo") Motion to Dismiss. The Court's ruling was based on the Plaintiff's failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted under a negligence theory against Wells Fargo. Plaintiff filed an Application for Certification of an Interlocutory Appeal with the Court on March 9, 2017, and Wells Fargo filed a Response on March 17, 2017.

         Parties' Contentions

         Plaintiff contends that an Interlocutory Appeal is appropriate because this Court "incorrectly interpreted Delaware law" by relying on Keith v. Sioris for conclusion that, as a matter of law, a fiduciary duty does not exist between a creditor and a debtor. Plaintiff claims that Keith v. Sioris is merely dicta and does not support a finding that a fiduciary duty does not exist. Further, Plaintiff argues that the Court disregarded Plaintiff's argument that no Delaware case is on point as to whether a mortgagee/mortgagor relationship gives rise to the existence of a duty. Finally, Plaintiff also claims that the Court erred as matter of law when it made factual determinations on an incomplete record. On the other hand, Wells Fargo asserts that Plaintiff's Application should be denied because it fails to meet the criteria set forth in Supreme Court Rule 42(b) because the February 28 Order does not decide a substantial issue of material importance that merits appellate review before final judgment. Wells Fargo argues that Plaintiff's Application is "essentially a motion for reargument characterized as an application for an interlocutory appeal, " and Plaintiff missed the point of the Court's February 28 ruling on Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss.

         Discussion

         Delaware Supreme Court Rule 42 sets forth the criteria for certifying an interlocutory appeal.[1] The rule states that "[n]o interlocutory appeal will be certified by the trial court or accepted by this Court unless the order of the trial court decides a substantial issue of material importance that merits appellate review before a final judgment."[2] Further, "[i]nterlocutory appeals should be exceptional, not routine, because they disrupt the normal procession of litigation, cause delay, and can threaten to exhaust scarce party and judicial resource."[3] The trial court considers the following factors when deciding whether to certify an interlocutory appeal:

(A) The interlocutory order involves a question of law resolved for the first time in this State;
(B) The decisions of the trial courts are conflicting upon the question of law;
(C) The question of law relates to the constitutionality, construction, or application of a statute of this State, which has not been, but should be, settled by this Court in ...

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