United States District Court, D. Delaware
Daniels, SCI Retreat, Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania; Pro Se
L. Frattarelli, Esquire, Archer & Greiner, P.C.,
Wilmington, Delaware; Counsel for Defendant Keefe Group, LLC
d/b/a/Keefe Supply Company.
A. Burleigh, Esquire, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman
& Goggin, Wilmington, Delaware; Counsel for
Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff Global Brands, LLC.
D. Cecil, Jr., Esquire, Tybout, Redfearn & Pell,
Wilmington, Delaware; Counsel for Third Party Defendant Baron
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Jamel Daniels, a former inmate at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He also raised
supplemental state claims. (D.I. 3). Plaintiff appears
pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in
forma paupehs. (D.I. 6). Defendants and Third Party
Defendant move for summary judgment. (D.I. 53, 57, 59, 61).
Briefing on the matters is complete. Plaintiff failed to file
oppositions to the motions despite the Court's briefing
schedule order and Plaintiff having been given additional
time to file oppositions. (See D.I. 68, 71).
alleged in the Complaint, on July 7, 2014, Plaintiff
purchased a Sweet Obsession Candy Bar from the JTVCC prison
commissary. (D.I. 3 at ¶ 13). Defendant Keefe Group, LLC
d/b/a/Keefe Supply Company (improperly pled as Keffee Food
Co.) is or was the commissary vendor for the JTVCC, and
Defendant Global Brands, LLC is or was the manufacturer of
products sold by Keefe Supply. (Id. at ¶¶
7, 8). It appears that the candy bar was delivered to
Plaintiff by prison commissary officers on July 21, 2014.
(D.I. 3 at ¶ 15 and Ex. A). When Plaintiff began eating
his candy bar, he noticed blood in his mouth, and realized
that his tongue had been cut and his tooth was chipped. (D.I.
3 at ¶ 16). Plaintiff spit out an object that looked
like a hard piece of chocolate. (Id. at ¶ 17).
He washed it and discovered that it was a piece of glass or
hard plastic. (Id.) Plaintiff was provided medical
and dental care. (Id. at¶19). Plaintiff
submitted a grievance which indicates the incident occurred
on July 24, 2014. (D.I. 3 at Ex. B).
took several steps to obtain the name and address of the
manufacturer of the candy bar, Global Brands, LLC.
(Id. at ¶¶ 26-30). Plaintiff filed the
instant lawsuit on July 24, 2016,  alleging unsafe conditions.
He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as
compensatory and punitive damages.
Complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(a). Plaintiff was allowed to proceed
with his supplemental state claims against the moving
defendants. (D.I. 8, 9). Thereafter, Global Brands LLC filed
a Third Party Complaint against Baron Chocolatier, Inc. for
contribution and/or indemnification (D.I. 33).
following facts are gleaned from the record. According to
James Kajosaj, account manager with Keefe Group, LLC, Keefe
Supply is one of several vendors periodically chosen through
an open market engagement process to supply the JTVCC
Commissary. (D.I. 55-1 at¶¶ 1, 4). Keefe
Supply's records demonstrate that between July 2012 and
December 2014, it did not sell or supply any Sweet Obsession
Candy Bars to the JTVCC Commissary. (Id. at ¶
5). Keefe Supply did not alter the Sweet Obsession Candy Bar
that Plaintiff purchased on July 7, 2014 and does not have
any knowledge of, or the ability to discover, any defect with
the candy bar. (Id. at ¶¶ 6-7). Keefe
Supply did not have any knowledge of any glass located in any
Sweet Obsession Candy Bars or other similar products that it
supplied to the JTVCC Commissary. (Id. at ¶8).
Brands, LLC is a wholesale distributor of non-durable food
products, including such items as candy, salty and fruit
snacks, cookies, honey, preserves, and fruit drinks. (D.I.
60-2 at ¶ 2). According to Richard Ennen, President and
CEO of Global Brands, LLC, in July 2014, and for the
preceding 18 months, Global Brands provided wholesale
distribution of Sweet Obsession Chocolate Bars to various
vendors throughout the United States. (Id. at ¶
3). Global Brands is not a food manufacturer. (Id.
at ¶ 4). It does not manufacture Sweet Obsession
Chocolate Bars and did not manufacture the Sweet Obsession
Chocolate Bar purchased and consumed by Plaintiff.
(Id.). Global Brands did not sell the candy bar to
JTVCC. (Id. at ¶ 5). Global Brands did not
assemble, alter, modify, inspect, package or repackage the
candy bar. (Id. at ¶ 6). It did not have any
knowledge of, or the ability to discover, any defect with the
candy bar. (Id. at ¶ 7). Global Brands did not
have any knowledge of any glass being located in any Sweet
Obsession Chocolate Bars which it distributed in the United
States in July 2014, or in the preceding 18 months.
(Id. at ¶ 8).
Keefe Supply and Global Brands move for summary judgment on
the grounds that: (1) Keefe Supply and Global Brands are
neither the legal nor proximate cause of Plaintiff's
alleged injures; (2) Delaware's sealed container defense
protects Keefe Supply and Global Brands from liability; and
(3) the negligence claim is barred by the two-year statute of
limitations. (D.I. 53-60). Third Party Defendant Baron
Chocolatier moves for summary judgment on the grounds that:
(1) Global Brands is not entitled to contribution and/or
indemnification because Plaintiff's claims are
time-barred; and (2) Delaware's sealed container defense
protects it from liability. (D.I. 61-63).