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G. Fed Ale General Contractors, LLC v. Prelle

Court of Common Pleas of Delaware, New Castle

August 28, 2018


          Submitted: April 20, 2018

          George T. Lees III, Esquire One Corporate Commons Attorney for Plaintiffs

          Geoffrey G. Grivner, Esquire Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C Attorney for Defendant Wells Fargo

          Arthur Scott Prelle Pro Se Defendant

          Niaz A. Malik Pro Se Defendant


          Alex J. Smalls Chief Judge


         This matter is back before the Court on G. Fedale Roofing and Siding Contractors ("Plaintiff) motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 12(c); Summary Judgment pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 56; and Sanctions pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 37, against Defendant Arthur Scott Prelle ("Prelle") for failure to comply with the Court's several orders directing responses to discovery by Plaintiff.

         The facts that give rise to these proceedings indicate that Plaintiff contracted with Prelle and American Holly, LLC. ("American Holly") to install a roof and make certain repairs on the property located at 149 Honeywell Drive in Claymont, Delaware. Plaintiff was unaware that during the contract negotiations, Defendant Wells Fargo ("Wells Fargo") had initiated foreclosure proceedings and ultimately foreclosed on the property, which was sold at sheriffs sale. Plaintiff continued working on the property after the new owner, Defendant Niaz A. Malik ("Malik") purchased the property at sheriffs sale. On September 3, 2015, Plaintiff submitted an invoice to Prelle and American Holly following the completion of the work. Prelle and American Holly failed to pay the agreed contractual amount of $15, 483.00.

         On June 3, 2016, Plaintiff initiated this action for breach of contract, Quantum Meruit, and Fraud against Defendants Prelle, American Holly, Malik, and Wells Fargo (collectively "Defendants"). Plaintiff seeks judgment in the amount of $15, 483.00, interest, attorney's fees, and costs.

         As of June 9, 2015, during the period when the property was owned by Prelle and American Holly, the property was insured through Donegal Insurance Group ("Donegal"). The property was subsequently sold at sheriffs sale to Malik. During foreclosure proceedings, Plaintiff alleges Prelle filed a claim with Donegal and insurance proceeds were paid to Prelle and American Holly. Plaintiff avers the payments received from the insurer of the property were intended to pay for the work performed by Plaintiff. Prelle endorsed, deposited, and negotiated the checks from the insurer but failed to pay for the services performed under the contract.

         On June 28, 2016, Malik filed an Answer denying any knowledge of Plaintiff and/or the contract to repair the roof. On August 4, 2016, Wells Fargo filed an Answer and Cross-claim. Wells Fargo denied the substantive allegations, claiming it foreclosed Prelle's property in accordance with Delaware law, and otherwise acted reasonably. On its cross-claim, Wells Fargo seek contribution and indemnification from American Holly in the event it is found liable.

         On January 26, 2017, Prelle filed a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, which was denied. On February 17, 2017, Malik filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing he was never a party to the original contract between Prelle and Plaintiff. Malik maintains he purchased the house "as is" at a sheriff sale. Furthermore, Malik contends he purchased the house after the roof was installed, and never saw anybody working on the roof. Malik argued he is a blameless third party, and moves the Court dismiss him as a party Defendant.

         On February 28, 2017, Prelle filed an Answer on behalf of American Holly and himself, denying all substantive allegations. Prelle's Answer states that ARTHUR SCOTT PRELLE, a.k.a Arthur S Prelle, is a fictitious name, duly registered with a registration of trade, business, and fictitious name that is publicly recorded with the prothonotary of the Superior Court. Prelle also raised a number of affirmative defenses.

         On March 3, 2017, the Court held a hearing on Malik's Motion to Dismiss. During the hearing, counsel for Plaintiff stated that Prelle filed a motion to move the proceeding to the Federal District Court for Delaware. As a result, this Court issued an order staying this matter until May 19, 2017. On April 13, 2017, the District Court issued an order remanding the case back to this Court holding that the Federal Court lack subject matter jurisdiction.

         On May 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike the Answer of American Holly on the basis that the answer was filed by Prelle, who is not a licensed attorney, and as such may not represent an artificial business entity.

         On June 28, 2017, Prelle filed a response on behalf of American Holly and himself, claiming "all persons who are capable of acting for themselves, and even those who are disqualified from acting in their own capacity, infants of a proper age and femes converts, may act as attorneys of others."

         Additionally, on June 28, 2017, American Holly, through Prelle, filed a response opposing Plaintiffs Motion to Strike and a Motion to Intervene on behalf of American Holly. In support of its motion, Prelle claimed that this action is a representative suit against American Holly and because Prelle has a financial equitable interest in said action, he should be able to intervene on behalf of American Holly. Prelle further argues that American Holly is too impoverished to hire an attorney. Prelle attached a notarized Power of Attorney for American Holly appointing Prelle to act as its agent.

         Additionally, on June 28, 2017, Prelle filed a Motion to Compel, alleging he has not been served with any of Malik's documents filed with the Court. Prelle sought to compel the production of these documents and reasonable attorney's fees.

         Further, Prelle filed several other motions labeled Objection to Misjoinder and Non-Joinder of Parties, arguing that AMERICAN HOLLY, LLC does not exist as an entity, and that AMERICAN HOLLY LLC was not joined as a proper party. Prelle argues that serving the Secretary of the State of Delaware is not proper service for AMERICAN HOLLY LLC. Prelle moves for leave to remove the non-existent "AMERICAN HOLLY, LLC" and join "AMERICAN HOLLY LLC." Further, Prelle seeks to join the C.E.O. of the State of Delaware, claiming he is the agent or principal for AMERICAN HOLLY LLC. Prelle also seeks to join the insurance company identified in the Complaint and the Secretary of State for the United States of America.

         Lastly on June 28, 2017, Prelle filed a Motion to Dismiss for Plaintiffs failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Prelle challenges the lawful definition of the "$" symbol. Prelle argues Plaintiff cannot establish what the "$" symbol represents under the constitution, and therefore did not specify any damage or lawful money owed. Furthermore, Prelle, for the second time alleges that this court lacks jurisdiction over the artificial entity ARTHUR SCOTT PRELLE,' and the proper party is actually 'Arthur Scott Prelle.' Prelle claims ARTHUR SCOTT PRELLE' is "a private trust owned by the United States to which 'Arthur Scott Prelle' possesses good title certified and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of State. Prelle argues the Court has no jurisdiction over the property of U.S. government, i.e. 'ARTHUR SCOTT PRELLE'.

         On September 1, 2017, the Court denied Malik's Motion to dismiss him as a party and set a new date to address the other motions. On September 15, 2017, Prelle filed a Motion to Dismiss alleging prosecutorial misconduct which was immediately denied. On October 17, 2017, following a hearing, the Court ordered as follows:

1) As to Prelle's Motion to Continue, the motion is MOOT;
2) As to Prelle's Motion to Compel, the motion is GRANTED. Malik is to provide copies of his Answer and the Motion to Dismiss to Prelle;
3) As to Prelle's Motion for Misjoinder of American Holly, LLC, the motion is DENIED. In Delaware, artificial entities are required to be represented by an attorney and Prelle is not an attorney admitted to the Delaware Bar. Further, the comma in American Holly, LLC. does not raise a legal issue sufficient to support the motion;
4) As to Prelle's Motion for Nonjoinder, the motion is DENIED. Prelle's motion to join the "CEO of the State of Delaware," failed to identify such actual person exist. In addition, there is no basis to join the Insurance Company identified in the complaint in order to show they provided two checks to Prelle since this is not an issue in this case. Furthermore, Prelle failed to provide a valid reason ...

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