United States District Court, D. Delaware
STEPHANIE T. BOLDEN, Plaintiff,
THE CITY OF WILMINGTON, Defendant.
Khomenko George, LOSCO & MARCONI, P.A., Wilmington, DE,
Attorney for Plaintiff.
C. Baker, CITY OF WILMINGTON LAW DEPARTMENT, Wilmington, DE,
Attorney for Defendant.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court in this case is Defendant City of
Wilmington's ("Defendant" or the
"City") motion seeking to dismiss Plaintiff
Stephanie T. Bolden's ("Plaintiff or
"Bolden") Amended Complaint with prejudice, filed
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (the
"Motion"). (D.I. 11) Plaintiff opposes the Motion.
For the reasons set forth herein, the Court GRANTS the Motion
in the manner set out below. I.BACKGROUND
is a resident of Wilmington, Delaware and is a former City of
Wilmington councilwoman. (D.I. 10 at ¶¶ 1, 8)
Defendant is a Delaware municipal corporation. (Id.
at ¶ 2)
was raised in a home located at 610 East 11th Street in
Wilmington (the "Bolden Property"), which she later
inherited from her father. (Id. at ¶ 9) The
City has owned the property adjacent to the Bolden Property,
located at 608 East 11th Street (the "City
Property"), since January 14, 2014. (Id. at
¶¶ 12-13) Plaintiff alleges that the City Property
has been "vacant and boarded up for approximately ten
years [, ]" (id. at ¶ 12), and that
"she witnessed many occasions of vagrants, drug users,
and other transient people squatting in or otherwise using
the City Property" during that time, (id. at
¶ 13). Plaintiff asserts that since Defendant acquired
the City Property, it has not performed maintenance, made
repairs, or "otherwise take[n] any action to ensure that
the property would be impervious to squatters and other
transients." (Id. at ¶1 4)
alleges that she complained repeatedly to several City
employees or agents over a period of many years about the
City Property's condition and about how "vagrants,
drug users and . . . transient individuals" were
occupying the property. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-17)
She also alleges that she complained that conditions at the
City Property were causing damage to her own property, and
that there was a risk of more severe damage in the future.
(Id. at ¶ 19) The City allegedly took no action
to address Plaintiffs various complaints. (Id. at
and Lennie Sophrin ("Sophrin"), then-Director of
Wilmington Real Estate and Housing, met and discussed the
City Property on August 2, 2017. (Id. at ¶ 24)
Sophrin "indicated that the matter would be assigned to
Tom Ford, Jr., who then went on vacation."
(Id.) Shortly afterwards, on or around August 7,
2017, a fire occurred in the City Property, resulting in
"substantial damage to the Bolden Property[.]"
(Id. at ¶¶ 25-26) Plaintiff asserts that
the damage caused by the fire has resulted in a
"substantial degradation of her health, including
elevated blood pressure, loss of sleep, exacerbation of her
heart disease and diabetic symptoms, and anxiety."
(Id. at ¶ 27)
January 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed her Complaint. (D.I. 1) The
parties thereafter jointly consented to the Court's
jurisdiction to conduct all proceedings in the case,
including trial, the entry of final judgment, and all
post-trial proceedings. (D.I. 7)
February 14, 2018, Defendant filed a motion seeking dismissal
of the Complaint. (D.I. 8) Plaintiff thereafter filed the
operative Amended Complaint on February 23, 2018, which
resulted in the termination of the then-pending motion to
dismiss. (D.I. 10) On March 9, 2018, Defendant filed the
instant Motion. (D.I. 11) The parties completed briefing on
the instant Motion on April 2, 2018. (D.I. 17)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss the plaintiffs
complaint based on the failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The sufficiency
of pleadings for non-fraud cases is governed by Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 8, which requires "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In order to survive
a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), "a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
assessing such a motion, first the court separates the
factual and legal elements of a claim, accepting "all of
the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but
[disregarding] any legal conclusions." Fowler v.
UPMC Shady side,578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009).
Second, the court determines "whether the facts alleged
in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff
has a 'plausible claim for relief" Id. at
211 (quoting Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at
679). A plausible claim does more than merely
allege entitlement to relief; it must also demonstrate the
basis for that "entitlement with its facts."
Id. Thus, a claimant's "obligation to
provide the 'grounds' of his' entitle[ment] to
relief requires more than labels and ...