Submitted: July 31, 2018
EASON PRIMOS JUDGE.
the Court are the motion to dismiss of Defendants Dover
Federal Credit Union (hereinafter "DFCU"), Jean
Maslauskas, and Charlene Nardo (hereinafter collectively,
"Defendants"), and the response of Plaintiff
Franklin Mason (hereinafter "Mr. Mason"). For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is
facts recited are those as alleged in Plaintiffs' amended
complaint. On July 1, 2014, Mr. Mason signed a loan
agreement (hereinafter the "Agreement") with DFCU
in the amount of $27, 363.00 financing Mr. Mason's
purchase of a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500 Roadster (hereinafter
the "Vehicle") from non-party Wynn Auto Sales. Mr.
Mason argues that the Agreement was fraudulent. Specifically,
Mr. Mason alleges that DFCU knew that the loan was going to
be paid out to Wynn Auto Sales in an amount much greater than
the fair value of the Vehicle, and that Mr. Mason would
nevertheless be liable for the full amount of the loan to
DFCU. In essence, Mr. Mason is complaining that DFCU knew he
was being defrauded by Wynn Auto Sales but did nothing.
Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss on July 19,
2018. Mr. Mason consequently filed a response on July 26,
2018, and, without seeking leave of Court, filed an amended
response on July 30, 2018, prior to the original response
deadline of August 3, 2018.
initial matter, the Court sua sponte grants Mr.
Mason leave to file his amended complaint despite the absence
of a motion to amend the complaint. In addition, the Court
will consider Mr. Mason's amended response to the motion
to dismiss, even though he did not request leave of the Court
to file it, since it was filed before the August 3 deadline.
As the Court indicated in its July 3, 2018, letter, lenience
in the enforcement of the rules is not intended to show
favoritism towards Mr. Mason, but rather to assure that the
merits of the case are adequately presented. The Court
gathers from Defendants' lack of objection to Mr.
Mason's amended filings that the speedy resolution of
this matter is more desirable to both parties than strict
observance of formalities.
motion to dismiss, the moving party bears the burden of
demonstrating that "under no set of facts which could be
proven in support of its [complaint] would the [plaintiff] be
entitled to relief." 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."
"A pro se pleading is judged by a 'less
stringent standard' than a pleading or document filed by
an attorney." However, any plaintiff faces an elevated
pleading standard when bringing a claim for fraud: "the
circumstances constituting fraud . . . shall be stated with
particularity." Specifically, a plaintiffs pleading must
address the "time, place, and contents of the false
representations, as well as the identity of the person making
the misrepresentation and what he obtained
elements of Delaware common law fraud are (1) the defendant
made a false representation; (2) the defendant knew the
representation was false or made with reckless indifference
to the truth; (3) the defendant intended the plaintiff to
rely on the representation; (4) the plaintiff justifiably
relied upon the representation; and (5) the plaintiff
suffered damages. In addition to overt misrepresentations,
Delaware Courts have permitted plaintiffs to recover for a
defendant's "deliberate concealment of material
facts, or ... silence in the face of a duty to
Mr. Mason's pro se complaint alleges that DFCU
knew that Mr. Mason was entering into an unfavorable or even
fraudulent contract with Wynn Auto Sales, it fails to
identify any false representations made by DFCU or the other
Defendants. In addition, Mr. Mason alleges no facts
suggesting that Defendants had an obligation to inform him of
the discrepancy between the amount of the loan and the fair
market value of the Vehicle, nor does he allege that
Defendants took any deliberate action to conceal that
discrepancy. Therefore, the Court finds that Mr. Mason has
failed to allege an essential element of fraud and that
dismissal is warranted on that basis alone.
complaint, as it contains nothing about a fraudulent
misrepresentation, is consequently silent concerning other
related elements, such as Defendants' knowledge that they
had made a false statement, Defendants' intention for Mr.
Mason to rely on a false statement, or Mr. Mason's
justifiable reliance on such a statement. These other
shortcomings additionally and independently require dismissal
of Mr. Mason's complaint, particularly in consideration
of the elevated pleading standards required even of pro
se plaintiffs when fraud is alleged.
for the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss
IS SO ORDERED.