Meeghan Carter Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Margaret Rackerby Flint, Decedent, Plaintiff,
Michael Principe, D.O., Eric Johnson, M.D. and Christiana Care Health Services Inc. Defendants.
Submitted: December 10, 2018
Defendant Christiana Care Health Services, Inc.'s Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment DENIED
A. Tice, Esq., Leroy A. Tice P.A., Attorney for Plaintiff
H. Meyeroff, Esq., Morris James LLP, Attorneys for Defendant
Christiana Care Health Services, Inc.
HONORABLE MARY M. JOHNSTON, JUDGE.
parties in this medical negligence action engaged in
mediation. Plaintiffs resolved their claims against Dr.
Principe and his practice and executed a Joint Tortfeasor
Release. The release neither names nor explicitly releases
any of the other defendants. No specific language preserved
any potential claims against Defendant Christiana Care Health
undisputed that direct claims remain against Dr. Johnson and
judgment is granted only if the moving party establishes that
there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute and
judgment may be granted as a matter of law. All facts are viewed in a
light most favorable to the non-moving party. Summary
judgment may not be granted if the record indicates that a
material fact is in dispute, or if there is a need to clarify
the application of law to the specific
circumstances. When the facts permit a reasonable
person to draw only one inference, the question becomes one
for decision as a matter of law. If the non-moving party
bears the burden of proof at trial, yet "fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case," then summary
judgment may be granted against that party.
of Joint Tortfeasor
has moved for partial summary judgment. CCHS requests that
the Court determine, as a matter of first impression in
Delaware, that by settling claims against Dr. Principe and
his practice, Plaintiffs cannot pursue claims against CCHS
solely on a theory of vicarious liability. CCHS asserts that
a principal who committed no tortious act, is not a
tortfeasor. Thus, CCHS must be dismissed because
it can only be found liable if its agent is liable, and the
agent has been released.
Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act
("UCATA") addresses the circumstance when only one
joint tortfeasor is released.
(a) A release by the injured person of 1 joint tortfeasor,
whether before or after judgment, does not discharge the
other tortfeasor unless the release so provides; but reduces
the claim against the other tortfeasors in the amount of the
consideration paid for the release or in any amount or
proportion by which the release provides that the total claim
shall be reduced, if greater than the consideration paid.
(b) A release by the injured person of 1 joint tortfeasor
does not relieve the 1 joint tortfeasor from liability to
make contribution to another joint tortfeasor unless the
release is given before the right of the other tortfeasor to
secure a money judgment for contribution has accrued, and
provides for a reduction, to the extent of the pro rate share
of the released ...