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Senatus v. Donegal Mutual Insurance Co.

Superior Court of Delaware

December 13, 2017

JULIETTE SENATUS, LUNJUSNA CONTE, and LENS PIERRE-LOUIS, a minor, Plaintiffs
v.
DONEGAL MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY (NAIC #13692), Defendant.

          Date Submitted: December 5, 2017

         Upon Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Denied. Upon Plaintiffs Motion to Compel. Denied.

          Andres Gutierrez de Cos, Esq., Andres de Cos, L.L.C., Attorney for Plaintiffs, Lunjusna Conte and Lens Pierre-Louis.

          Tabatha L. Castro, Esq., The Castro Firm, Attorney for Plaintiff, Juliette Senatus.

          Brian D. Tome, Esq., Reilly Janiczek McDevitt Henrich & Cholden, P.C., Attorney for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STOKES, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Two matters are presently before the Court. The first is a Motion for Summary Judgment against Plaintiff Juliette Senatus ("Senatus") filed by the Defendant, Donegal Mutual Insurance Company ("Donegal" or "Defendant"). For the foregoing reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. The second matter is a Motion to Compel Defendant's Appearance at Depositions Noticed for December 20, 2017 filed by Plaintiff Lunjusna Conte ("Conte"). For the foregoing reasons, the Motion to Compel is DENIED.

         II. FACTS AND PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

         Plaintiffs, Juliette Senatus, Lunjusna Conte, and Len Pierre-Louis (collectively "Plaintiffs"), claim that Donegal has failed to make payment on their medical bills and Senatus's lost wages. As a result of the non-payment, Senatus claims that her credit rating has been threatened and that she has been forced to incur reasonable attorney's fees.

         As part of discovery, Plaintiffs were to disclose the identity of any expert witnesses and provide expert reports by August 31, 2017. Senatus did not comply with this deadline. During this time period, Senatus was between counsel and, at times, was pro se. Senatus does not dispute that she missed the expert deadline. She has since sent her expert report to Donegal.

         As a result of Senatus's failure to timely provide an expert report, Donegal moved for summary judgement. Donegal argued that, without expert testimony, Senatus could not properly assert her status as an injured person or that her medical expenses were reasonable and necessary. Senatus argues that, since she has now provided the report, Donegal has suffered no prejudice as a result of the delay. The report was received before the discovery deadline of January 31, 2018 and, according to Senatus, in plenty of time to prepare for the April 16, 2018 trial.

         Additionally, Conte wishes to take the depositions of the persons identified in Donegal's answers to interrogatories as having been in charge of the claim. Those depositions have been noticed for December 20, 2017. However, due to various scheduling conflicts, Donegal's attorney of record, Brian Tome, Esq. ("Tome"), has stated that he will not be able to attend depositions on that date. Tome is the attorney of record for an asbestos case which also has depositions scheduled for that day. Furthermore, Tome has indicated that he will soon be replaced by another attorney in the present case. As an accommodation, Tome has suggested the date of January 9, 2018 to hold the depositions. This date is within the discovery period and Tome has confirmed the availability of all three witnesses for that date. However, Plaintiff Conte objects to this scheduling change, and seeks to have Defendant compelled to appear at the depositions on December 20, 2017.

         III. ...


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