MIGNON N. MATTHEWS, Plaintiff,
DETECTIVE JOHN MANCUSO and DETECTIVE BRIAN LUCAS, Defendants.
Submitted: July 11, 2017
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
J. Perry, Esquire, Assistant County Attorney, New Castle,
Delaware, Attorney for Defendants.
Matthews, Pro Se Defendant.
L. SCOTT, JR. JUDGE.
19th day of September, 2017, and upon Defendant Detective
John Mancuso and Detective Brian Lucas' (collectively
"Defendants" or "Detectives") Motion for
Summary Judgment, the Court finds as follows:
April 11, 2014, the New Castle County Department of Community
Services (the "Department") issued its Notice of
Final Decision to Plaintiff, terminating her participation in
the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Section 8 Tenant-Based Assistance Housing Choice Voucher
Program ("Section 8 Voucher"). The Department
terminated Plaintiff's Section 8 Voucher in October of
2013 due to alleged criminal activity on the premises.
Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on October 29,
2014. Plaintiff claims that Defendants knowingly made false
statements at the Department hearings, and these false
statements caused the Department to terminate Plaintiff's
Section 8 Voucher. Plaintiff claims that she suffers mental
and physical anguish due to the loss of her home, and she
seeks $150, 000.00 of compensatory damages.
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on February 3, 2015
based on Delaware's Tort Claims Act. On June 5, 2015, the
Court granted New Castle County Police Department's
("NCCPD") Motion to Dismiss, and dismissed
Plaintiff's claims against the Detectives for emotional
and mental anguish. However, the Court denied the
Detective's Motion on the defamation and physical anguish
Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on June 30,
2017, arguing that Plaintiff fails to establish a prima
facie claim for defamation. Defendants state that
Plaintiff was granted a Section 8 Voucher on January 9, 2008,
and the Voucher applied to her rental at 113 Pilgrim Road,
Simmonds Gardens, New Castle, Delaware 19720 (the
"Unit") on April 1, 2012.
background information, Defendants presented evidence
demonstrating that to remain in "good standing"
with the New Castle County Section 8 Voucher Program, the
participant must sign and follow the New Castle County
Housing Authority Section 8 Family Obligations and
Responsibilities. Defendants state that participants of this
program are responsible for the actions of friends and guests
pursuant to the Family Obligations and Responsibilities
rules, and the Housing Authority may terminate participation
in this program for "drug-related criminal activity
associated with the housing unit." Defendants state that
Plaintiff signed the Family Obligations and Responsibilities
form on January 7, 2013 and again on January 1, 2014.
Subsequently, Adrian Smith ("Mr. Smith") sold
heroin to a NCCPD confidential informant during the week of
October 21, 2013. According to Defendants, an officer
witnessed this exchange, as well as Smith exiting and
returning to Plaintiff's Unit. Again, Mr. Smith sold
heroin to an undercover officer during the same week.
January 17, 2014, Defendants, Detectives Lucas and Mancuso,
recovered small blue wax paper bags with a red stamp on them,
and mail addressed to Plaintiff at 113 Pilgrim Road, during a
trash pick-up. Subsequently, one of the red bags tested
positive for heroin.
NCCPD executed a search warrant at 113 Pilgrim Road on
February 2, 2014. Defendants contend that Detective Lucas
advised Plaintiff that NCCPD was present to execute a drug
search warrant, and neither detective contacted the New
Castle County Housing Authority, nor did the Housing
Authority contact the Detectives. According to Detective
Lucas' affidavit, Plaintiff told Detective Lucas that Mr.
Smith was her boyfriend ...