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Talley-Siders v. Mayhorn

Superior Court of Delaware

October 17, 2018

SININA TALLEY-SIDERS, Defendant-Below Appellant
v.
JACK & GEORGIA MAYHORN, Plaintiffs-Below Appellees.

          Submitted: June 19, 2018

          Upon Consideration of Appellant's Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas. CASE BELOW: CPU4-16-000219

          Sinina Talley-Siders, PO Box 1402, Bear, Delaware 19701. Pro Se Appellant.

          Donald L. Gouge, Jr., Esquire, Donald L. Gouge, Jr., LLC, 800 North King Street, Suite 303, Wilmington, Delaware, 19801. Attorney for Appellees.

          OPINION

          CALVIN L. SCOTT, JR. JUDGE.

         This is an appeal from the decision of Court of Common Pleas. Jack and Georgia Mayhorn (Sellers) initiated litigation in the Court of Common Pleas against Sinina Talley-Siders (Buyer) for a breach of contract dispute arising from the sale of the Mayhorn's home. Talley-Siders proceeding pro se framed her defense as a counterclaim for fraud. Talley-Siders now appeals. For the following reasons the Court of Common Pleas decision will be affirmed.

         The Court's Decision

         Following a bench trial in August 2017, the Court entered judgment in favor of Sellers against Buyer in a September 5, 2017 decision. The Court determined Buyer breached the Sales Agreement contract and was therefore liable for damages arising from the breach. Even though Buyer offered testimony related to the number and construction of bathrooms in the home, the Court determined Buyer did not move forward with the purchase because of issues with the sump pump.

         As to Buyer's fraud claim the Court determined neither the Sellers nor their agent made a false representation with knowledge of its falsity nor with reckless indifference to the truth. Additionally, the Court determined Buyer failed to sustain her burden of showing Sellers intended to induce Buyer into action. The Court awarded damages in the amount of $17, 236.60 plus pre- and post-judgment interest.

         Parties Assertions

         At trial, Defendant alleged that Plaintiffs intentionally misled her when they listed the property with three full bathrooms. In her answer to the complaint in the Court of Common Pleas, Buyer asserted claims of fraud, misrepresentation, and bad faith.

         In her appeal, Buyer alleges the Court of Common Pleas based its judgment on an error of law. Buyer claims the Court failed to analyze the facts of the case in light of the Buyer Property Protection Act and 6 Del. C. § 2572 related to the seller's obligation to disclose material defects. Buyer further alleges the Court failed to consider relevant building codes in its decision. These arguments are based on Buyer's assertion that a bathroom addition in the home was constructed without proper permits by an unlicensed contractor. Buyer claims the work was in violation of local building codes and Seller's failure to disclose the nature of the work in the Seller's Disclosure was in violation of the Buyer Protection Act.

         Additionally, Buyer claims the Court neglected facts that would have been beneficial to her defense. Buyer claims the Court neglected testimony by Buyer and Seller tending to show fraud on the part of Seller. Buyer further contends the Court misapprehended the facts related to the nature of the earnest money deposit, the date she signed the seller's disclosure, the information uploaded to a MLS corporation, and testimony provided by Seller's real estate agent.

         Seller contends that Buyer is attempting to raise new issues on appeal, and the lower Court's decision does not contain an error of law. Seller states Buyer failed to raise the Buyer Property Protection Act and building code violation liability during trial. Buyer further argues evidence was presented at trial to support these claims.

         Standard ...


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