ROY A. DAY, Plaintiff Below, Appellant,
WILLIAM (BILL) LOUCKS, ANTHONY J. DESANTIS, and 21st CENTURY CENTENNIAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants Below, Appellees.
Submitted: January 12, 2018
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware C.A. No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; SEITZ and TRAYNOR, Justices.
F. Traynor Justice
28th day of February, 2018, upon consideration of
the parties' briefs and record below, it appears to the
appellant, Roy A. Day, filed this appeal from a Superior
Court opinion dismissing his complaint without
prejudice. After careful review of the parties'
briefs and the record on appeal, we conclude that the
Superior Court did not err in dismissing the complaint. We
therefore affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.
This action arises from disputes over the claims handling
process for two car accidents in Florida. Day, a Florida
resident, alleged that he entered into a contract for car
insurance with 21st Century Centennial Insurance
Company ("21stCentury"). The first
accident occurred on June 23, 2012 when an uninsured driver
rear-ended Day's 2010 Hyundai Accent. 21st
Century declared the Hyundai Accent a total loss and offered
to pay Day $10, 723.33.
July and August 2012, Day sent letters to Anthony J.
DeSantis, President and Chief Executive Officer of
21st Century, rejecting 21st
Century's offer and making counteroffers. In a letter
dated August 13, 2012, Day stated that if $12, 000 was not
deposited into his account by August 13, 2012, then DeSantis
agreed to a daily sanction of $500, 000, compensatory damages
of $5 million, pain and suffering damages of $20 million, and
punitive damages of $100 million were appropriate. According
to Day, DeSantis' failure to reject the August 13, 2012
letter meant that it became a binding and enforceable
contract, which the defendants breached. Day also asserted
negligence, fraud, and emotional distress claims based on how
his insurance claim for the Hyundai Accent was investigated
June and November 2015, Day sent letters to William Loucks,
the Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century,
expressing his belief that $5 million in compensatory
damages, $20 million in pain and suffering damages, and $100
million in punitive damages was fair. Day contended that
Loucks' negligent failure to reject the letters in
writing meant that the letters became binding contracts,
which Loucks breached. Day sought more than $1 billion in
damages for Loucks' breach of contract and negligence.
second accident occurred on April 29, 2016 when Day's
2015 GM Chevrolet Spark was struck in a parking lot.
According to Day, his contract with 21st Century
did not state that direct billing was limited to Enterprise
Car Rental Company. Day was denied a rental from Enterprise
Car Rental Company so he had to rent a car from another
company without direct billing to 21st Century.
Day asserted breach of contract, fraud, and emotional
distress claims based on the lack of direct billing. He
sought $500, 000 in compensatory damages and $500, 000 in
emotional distress damages.
filed his complaint in the Superior Court on October 13,
2016. Day filed an amended complaint on November 1, 2016. The
amended complaint appeared identical to the original
complaint, except that there was a cover page stating that
all specific damage amounts in the complaint should be
replaced with $74, 000.00. 21st Century was served
on December 28, 2016. It appears that 21stCentury
was served with the original complaint, but not the amended
complaint. There is no indication that DeSantis or Loucks
were ever served.
February 1, 2017, 21st Century filed a motion to
dismiss. 21stCentury argued that the Superior
Court should dismiss the complaint because: (i) other courts,
including state and federal courts in Florida and the United
States District Court for the District of Delaware, had
enjoined Day from filing lawsuits due to his abusive
litigation practices; (ii) the complaint was factually
frivolous, malicious, and legally frivolous and therefore
subject to dismissal under 10 Del. C. §
8803(c); and (iii) the complaint failed to state a claim
under Superior Court Civil Rule 12(b)(6). Day opposed the
motion to dismiss.
July 28, 2017, the Superior Court dismissed Day's action
without prejudice. First, the Superior Court concluded that
Day had asserted substantially similar claims against the
defendants in the United States District Court for the
District of Delaware ("Delaware District Court")
and the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Florida ("Florida District
Court"). Second, the Superior Court concluded that
Day was subject to litigation injunctions and other filing
procedures for claims arising from the facts pled in the
complaint and amended complaint. To proceed on the claims in
the complaint and amended complaint in the Delaware District
Court, Day was required to provide proof and documentation
that he had paid the monetary sanctions imposed upon him by
the Florida District Court.
Based on the doctrine of comity, the Superior Court held Day
could not avoid the procedures implemented in the federal
courts by filing substantially similar claims in the Superior
Court. The Superior Court therefore dismissed
Day's action without prejudice, but held Day could
reinstate his action if he provided proof and documentation
that he paid the monetary sanctions imposed by the Florida
District Court. The Superior Court judge also that held
any new ...