Submitted: December 5, 2017
EASON PRIMOS, JUDGE
the Court are Defendants John Welcome's (hereinafter
"Defendant Welcome"), Alexis Properties'
(hereinafter "Defendant Alexis") and Melissa
Hopkins's (hereinafter "Defendant Hopkins")
motions to dismiss. The motions request dismissal of all
counts of the complaint filed by Ms. Janet Batchelor
(hereinafter "Plaintiff), who seeks damages relating to
a lease of a property located at 5099 N. Dupont Hwy. Ste B,
Dover, DE 19901 (hereinafter the "Property").
facts recited are those as alleged in Plaintiffs'
complaint. On May 4, 2016, Plaintiff signed a lease
prepared by Defendant Welcome (hereinafter the
"Lease"), which would lease the Property, owned by
BB Properties of Delaware, LLC, to Plaintiff for the term of
June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017. Plaintiff intended to use the
property to operate a dance studio, and, in anticipation of
taking possession, incurred certain expenses. Upon assuming
possession on June 1, 2016, Plaintiff found the premises
filled with garbage and debris, rendering it unfit for her
purposes, and began efforts to put it into a condition such
that the premises could be used.
30, 2016, the Property was sold to Defendant Alexis, but
Defendant Welcome continued to manage the Property. Shortly
thereafter, Defendants Alexis and Welcome leased the
Property's storage unit and parking lot to a third party
in violation of the Lease. The third parties' use of
these areas hindered Plaintiffs use of the Property. On March
2, 2017, and again on May 2, 2017, Plaintiff gave Defendants
notice that she would be vacating based on Defendants'
actions. Plaintiff vacated on May 31, 2017. Thereafter,
Defendants threatened legal action, and later, employing the
services of Defendant Hopkins, filed a summary possession
complaint and a debt action, which were legally groundless
and intended to extort money from Plaintiff. Plaintiff then
filed this suit, alleging various breaches of contract,
breach of the covenant of good faith, and malicious
motions to dismiss are now before the Court, one filed by
Defendant Alexis, a second by Defendant Welcome, and the
third by Defendant Hopkins.
motion, Defendant Alexis argues that dismissal is appropriate
due to (1) a failure to plead damages and (2) a failure to
allege standing, as Plaintiff was not a party to the rental
Welcome's motion to dismiss is largely identical to that
filed by Defendant Alexis, but also argues that Defendant
Welcome was improperly named instead of
Liveinde.com, Inc. Defendant Welcome provides no law
or authority indicating that such would be appropriate.
Hopkins moves only to dismiss the claim for malicious
prosecution. Dismissal, she argues, is warranted because (1)
all actions she filed were filed with probable cause and in
good faith; (2) Plaintiff has failed to plead damages; and
(3) the summary possession action was voluntarily dismissed
and did not terminate in Plaintiffs favor.
motion to dismiss, the moving party bears the burden of
demonstrating that "there are no material issues of fact
and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Upon this Court's review of a motion
to dismiss, "(i) all well-pleaded factual allegations
are accepted as true; (ii) even vague allegations are
well-pleaded if they give the opposing party notice of the
claim; (iii) the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in
favor of the non-moving party; and (iv) dismissal is
inappropriate unless the plaintiff would not be entitled to
recover under any reasonably conceivable set of circumstances
susceptible of proof." Additionally, "a pro
se pleading is judged by a 'less stringent
standard' than a pleading or document filed by an
initial matter, the Court finds that because Defendant
Welcome failed to cite any legal authority or to craft a
legal argument to persuade the Court that he should be
dismissed because he was acting as a mere agent of
Liveinde.com, Inc., he has failed to demonstrate
entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on that basis.
Insofar as he wishes the complaint to be amended, such an
application is properly brought by Plaintiff. The Court shall
consider further arguments concerning the strength of claims
against Mr. Welcome personally at the summary judgment phase.
the multiple motions to dismiss before the Court contain
similar arguments, the Court shall address the motions
collectively, on an issue-by-issue basis. First, the Court
shall consider whether Plaintiff has standing to bring all
claims, then whether she has failed to plead damages, and
finally whether dismissal of the malicious prosecution claim
against Defendant Hopkins is warranted.
Alexis's and Welcome's motions to dismiss assert that
Plaintiff lacks standing to pursue her claims against them.
This is so, Defendants argue, because Plaintiff is suing for
breach of a rental agreement, even though she is not the
tenant named on the agreement: the Lease ...