MONICA T. WILLIS, Plaintiff,
THE WILMINGTON PARKING AUTHORITY, Defendant.
Submitted: October 19, 2017
Defendant The Wilmington Parking Authority's Motion to
S. Legum, Esquire, Kimmel, Carter, Roman & Peltz, P.A.,
Attorney for Plaintiff.
B. Cole, Esquire, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman &
Goggin, Attorney for Defendant The Wilmington Parking
W. WHARTON, J.
31st day of January, 2018, upon consideration of Defendant
The Wilmington Parking Authority's ("WPA")
Motion to Dismiss and Plaintiff Monica T. Willis'
("Willis") response in opposition, it appears to
the Court that:
August 10, 2017, Willis filed a Complaint against WPA. She
claims that WPA was negligent and careless in the operation
and maintenance of the exit gate arm of a surface parking
Willis seeks damages for her personal injuries.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that on July 8, 2016,
Willis sustained personal injuries when a parking lot exit
gate arm, located at the WPA lot at 801 N. Orange Street,
Wilmington, Delaware, struck her in the head.
September 8, 2017 WPA filed its Motion to
Dismiss. WPA asserts that it is immune from
Willis' personal injury claim because 10 Del. C.
§ 4011(a) and § 4011(b)(6) grant immunity from suit
for governmental entities.
Willis responded in opposition. Willis argues that despite the
broad immunity of § 4011(a), 10 Del. C. §
4012 grants exceptions by which WPA could be exposed to
liability. Willis' opposition does not address
WPA's claim of immunity under § 4011(b)(6).
motion to dismiss will not be granted if the "plaintiff
may recover under any reasonably conceivable set of
circumstances susceptible of proof under the
complaint." The Court's review is limited to the
well-pled allegations in the complaint. In ruling on a
motion to dismiss, the Court "must draw all reasonable
factual inferences in favor of the party opposing the
motion." Dismissal is warranted "only if it
appears with reasonable certainty that the plaintiff could
not prove any set of facts that would entitle him to
first argues that it is immune from Willis' claims under
10 Del C. § 4011 (a), therefore Willis'
Complaint should be dismissed. In particular, 10 Del.
C. § 4011(a) provides that "[e]xcept as
otherwise expressly provided by statute, all governmental
entities and their employees shall be immune from suit on any
and all tort claims seeking recovery of damages." A
"'[governmental entity' means...any parking
authority created pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title
22..." WPA is such a parking authority and
therefore a "governmental entity" within the scope
of § 4011(a). Additionally, Willis' claims fall
within the scope § 4011(a) because she asserts a
negligence tort claim seeking recovery for damages. WPA is
correct, therefore, that it would be immune from suit under
§ 4011(a), absent any exceptions to that immunity
"expressly provided by statute."
Willis, however, argues that despite § 4011(a), WPA is
still subject to liability because 10 Del. C. §
4012 enumerates exceptions to § 4011(a)'s broad
grant of immunity. In pertinent part, § 4012 provides
[a] governmental entity shall be exposed to liability for its
negligent acts or omissions causing property damage, bodily
injury or death in the following instances: (1) In its
ownership, maintenance or use of any motor vehicle, special
mobile equipment, trailer, ...