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Schueller v. Cordrey

Superior Court of Delaware

August 23, 2017

KEITH M. SCHUELLER, Plaintiff,
v.
BRETT CORDREY, individually and in his capacity as a DELAWARE STATE TROOPER, the STATE of DELAWARE, and the DEPARTMENT of PUBLIC SAFETY-DIVISION of STATE POLICE Defendants.

          Stephen Norman, Esq., The Norman Law Firm, Dagsboro, Delaware. Attorney for Plaintiff Keith M. Schueller.

          Michael F. McTaggart, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendants Brett Cordrey, the State of Delaware, and the Department of Public Safety-Division of State Police.

          DECISION AFTER TRIAL

          Eric M. Davis, Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The civil action involves three claims by Plaintiff Keith Schueller against Defendants Brett Cordrey ("Cpl. Cordrey"), the State of Delaware (the "State"), and the Department of Public Safety-Division of State Police:[1] (i) battery, (ii) gross negligence, and (iii) intentional infliction of emotional distress.[2] Mr. Schueller is asserting his claims against Cpl. Cordrey both individually and in Cpl. Cordrey's capacity as a Delaware State Trooper. This is the Court's decision after trial, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law. For the reasons set forth below, the Court returns a verdict in favor of the Defendants on all of Mr. Schueller's claims.

         II. THE TRIAL

         The Court held a five-day trial in this civil action from February 20, 2017 through February 24, 2017 (the "Trial").[3] The Court then had both parties submit their closing arguments in written form, receiving the final post-trial paper on or about May 12, 2017.

         Witnesses

          During the Trial, the Court heard from and considered testimony from the following witnesses:

Kelly Boyer-fact witness called by Mr. Schueller
David Balash-expert witness proffered by Mr. Schueller
R. Paul McCauley, Ph.D.-expert proffered by Mr. Schueller
Jeremy Bauer, Ph.D.-expert proffered by Mr. Schueller
Cpl. Lewis Briggs-fact witness called by Mr. Schueller
Keith Schueller-plaintiff and fact witness called by Mr. Schueller
Cpl. Michael Maher-fact witness called by the Defendants
Emanuel Kapelshon-expert witness proffered by the Defendants
Melissa Steele-fact witness called by the Defendants
Cpl. Brett Cordrey-defendant and fact witness call by the Defendants
Geoff Desmoulin, Ph.D.-expert proffered by the Defendants

         All the witnesses testified on direct and were available for cross-examination.

          Exhibits

         The parties entered numerous exhibits for the Court to consider in deliberating on Mr. Schueller's claims. Mr. Schueller had the following exhibits admitted:

Pl. Ex. a: Transcribed interview of Cpl. Cordrey (February 19, 2013);
Pl. Ex. b: Transcribed interview of Cpl. Briggs (February 19, 2013);
Pl. Ex. c: Delaware State Police Firearm Services Report;
Pl. Ex. d: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Beebe Medical Center;
Pl. Ex. e: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Christiana Care;
Pl. Ex. f: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Delaware Department of Corrections;
Pl. Ex. g: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Delaware Basic Life Support;
Pl. Ex. h: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Coastal Therapeutic Services;
Pl. Ex. i: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Lawall Prosthetic and Orthotic, Inc.;
Pl. Ex. j: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Aquacare of Lewes, DE;
Pl. Ex. k: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Mid-Atlantic Family Practice;
Pl. Ex. l: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Orthopedics of Southern Delaware;
Pl. Ex. m: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Pivot Physical Therapy;
Pl. Ex. n: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from Delaware Neurosurgical Group, P.A.;
Pl. Ex. o: Medical records and invoices for Mr. Schueller from CNMRI, P.A.; Pl.
Ex. p: Sussex County EMS Report (February 19, 2013); Pl.
Ex. q: Delaware State Police Incident Offense Report (Agency Report No.: 12-01116);
Pl. Ex. r: X-ray image showing bullet location-P000236;
Pl. Ex. s: X-ray image-P000237;
Pl. Ex. t: X-ray close up-P000238;
Pl. Ex. u: Video of area of shooting (thumb drive);
Pl. Ex. v: Medical Images of Mr. Schueller;
Pl. Ex. x: Images utilized by Jeremey Bauer, Ph.D.;
Pl. Ex. y: Photos of Shooting Scene and Evidence (compilation);
Pl. Ex. z: Photos of Shooting Scene and Evidence (Norman);
Pl. Ex. aa: Photos of Keith Schueller;
Pl. Ex. bb: Notes of Sgt. Maher (Measurements);
Pl. Ex. cc: Taser Download Report;
Pl. Ex. dd: Delaware State Police Use of Force Procedure;
Pl. Ex. ee: Delaware State Police Use of Force Policy;
Pl. Ex. ff: Photo of overview of property with witness notations;
Pl. Ex. ii: Expert Report of Guy Fried, M.D.;
Pl. Ex. kk: Life Care Plan and Report for Keith Schueller by Alex Karras;
Pl. Ex. ll: Shovel;
Pl. Ex. mm: Clothing worn by Mr. Schueller on February 19, 2013 (in Court's possession);
Pl. Ex. oo: Photo of general area of incident;
Pl. Ex. pp: First Recovery Medicaid Invoice;
Pl. Ex. qq: Delaware Health and Social Services Medicaid Invoice;
Pl. Ex. rr: Marked photograph of Cpl. Cordrey deposition exhibit;
Pl. Ex. ss: Mohan report-LS-DYNTA;
Pl. Ex. Pr5: X-ray of Mr. Schueller-side view; and
Pl. Ex. Pr6: X-ray of Mr. Schueller-front view.

         The Defendants had the following exhibits admitted:

Def. Ex. 1: Large Shovel;
Def. Ex. 2: Mr. Schueller's cargo pants from February 19, 2013;
Def. Ex. 3: Mr. Schueller's sneakers from February 19, 2013;
Def. Ex. 4: Mr. Schueller's shirts from February 19, 2013;
Def. Ex. 5: Cpl. Cordrey's spent bullet casings;
Def. Ex. 6: Cpl. Cordrey's spent Taser cartridge;
Def. Ex. 7: Delaware State Police Crime Scene Video;
Def. Ex. 8: Binder of exhibits containing -
(a) Call for Service Report, DSP 1-14,
(b) Evidence Case Report, DSP 100,
(c) Sgt. Marvel Evidence Report, DSP 101-02,
(d) Beebe Hospital Report, DSP 288-89,
(e) Taser Download, DSP 163-78,
(f) Robin Karns Life Care Plan, May ...

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