Submitted: August 7, 2017
Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment: GRANTED.
J. Longobardi, III, Esquire and M. Jean Boyle, Esquire,
Longobardi & Boyle, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
C. Cobb, Esquire, Law Offices of Chrissinger &
Baumberger, Attorney for Defendant.
the Court is Defendant United Parcel Services, Inc.'s
("UPS") Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment.
Plaintiff Dante Williams ("Williams") claims he was
injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a UPS
truck. The only eyewitness to the collision, who
is now deceased, told police that a UPS truck struck
Williams' parked truck. UPS denies that one of its
vehicles struck Williams' truck.At issue is whether the
eyewitness' statement is admissible because, if not,
Plaintiff cannot establish a. prima facie case
against UPS and defendant is entitled to summary judgment.
For the reasons explained below, Defendant's Renewed
Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
October 4, 2013, Williams was sleeping inside his truck,
which was parked in the parking lot of a Wawa store located
at Route 13 and Memorial Drive. Williams woke up and discovered
his truck had been struck by another vehicle.Williams did not
see the vehicle that struck his truck, and the striking
vehicle fled the scene of the collision.
were called and responded to the scene. The responding police
officer completed a State of Delaware Uniform Collision
Report (the "Police Report").The only
eyewitness to the collision, Nathaniel Means, Sr.
("Means"), a Wawa patron, gave a statement to the
responding police officer. According to the Police Report, Means
told the police officer that a "UPS truck [...] collided
with the front of [Williams' truck], causing damage to
the grill." The Police Report also notes that Williams
"advised he was asleep in his truck, which was parked in
the same location, and was awaken[ed] when a UPS semi-truck
made contact with his vehicle."
argues it is entitled to summary judgment because there is no
evidence on record upon which a finder of fact could conclude
that Williams' truck was struck by a UPS
truck. In opposition, Williams concedes he
cannot identify the vehicle that struck his truck, but argues
that Means' eyewitness account is admissible as a present
sense impression under Delaware Rule of Evidence
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. The moving party bears the burden of
establishing the non-existence of material issues of
fact.Once such a showing is made, the burden
shifts to the non-moving party to demonstrate that there are
material issues of fact in dispute. In considering a Motion
for Summary Judgment, the Court must view the record in a
light most favorable to the non-moving party. The Court
will not consider inadmissible hearsay when deciding a Motion
for Summary Judgment,  and "[t]he non-movant cannot
create a genuine issue of fact with bare assertions or
conclusory allegations, but must produce specific evidence
that would sustain a verdict in its
Williams did not see the striking vehicle, Means'
statement to the police officer is the only potentially
admissible evidence linking UPS to this collision. There is
no dispute that Means' statement to the police is
hearsay,  and therefore the question is whether
that statement falls within the Present Sense Impression
exception to the hearsay rule. If so, summary judgment is not
appropriate. If not, then UPS is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law because Plaintiff is unable to establish a
prima facie case that UPS caused Plaintiffs
DRE 803(1), the Present Sense Impression exception applies
(1) The declarant personally perceived the event described;
(2) The declaration is an explanation or description of the
event, rather ...