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Rooks v. Frye

Superior Court of Delaware

August 14, 2018

KELLY ROOKS, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN FRYE and ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.

          Submitted: July 24, 2018

         Upon Defendant Allstate's Motion for Summary Judgment. Denied.

          Edward C. Gill, Esq., Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P. A., Georgetown, Delaware 19947, Attorney for Plaintiff

          Brian Thomas McNelis, Esq., Young & McNelis, Attorney for Defendant Allstate Insurance Company

          Daniel P. Bennett, Esq., Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers, LLP, Citizens Bank Center, Attorney for Defendant John Frye

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STOKES, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is presently before the Court on the motion of Defendant Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") for summary judgment against Plaintiff Kelly Rooks ("Rooks"). The Plaintiff opposes the Motion. For the foregoing reasons, Allstate's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         II. FACTS AND PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

         This case stems from a three-car automobile accident on Sussex Highway near Bridgeville, Delaware. The first vehicle involved was driven by Kolby Kauffman ("Kauffman"), the second was operated by Rooks, and the third was driven by John Frye ("Frye"). All three vehicles involved were traveling in the left northbound lane of Sussex Highway. As the drivers approached the intersection of Sussex Highway and Redden Road, traffic slowed to a stop. Rooks was unable to stop in time and collided with Kauffman's vehicle. Frye was also unable to stop and collided with Rooks' vehicle, causing her to hit Kauffman a second time. There is conflicting testimony concerning whether the stop in traffic was caused by the actions of an unidentified minivan traveling in the left lane in front of Kauffman or the red traffic light at the upcoming intersection.

         As a result of the accident, Rooks filed this suit alleging the accident was caused by Frye's negligence as well as the negligence of the unidentified minivan driver. The claim against the minivan driver was filed under Rooks' Uninsured Motorist policy with Allstate. Allstate now moves for Summary Judgement against that portion of Rooks' claim.[1] According to Allstate, no admissible evidence was proffered by Rooks to show that the unidentified minivan committed any negligent act that proximately caused the collision. Rooks opposes the Motion. She claims that sufficient facts have been alleged to allow the claim to proceed to the jury.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court may grant summary judgment if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law."[2] The moving party bears the initial burden of showing no material issues of fact are present.[3] If the moving party properly supports their motion, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to rebut the contention that no material issues of fact exist.[4] In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must review the record in a light most favorable to the non-moving party.[5] The Delaware Supreme Court illustrates the parameters of granting summary judgment as follows:

Under no circumstances, however, will summary judgment be granted when, from the evidence produced, there is a reasonable indication that a material fact is in dispute. Nor will summary judgment be granted if, upon an examination of all the facts, it seems desirable to inquire thoroughly into ...

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