JOSEPH M. WALLS, Appellant/Plaintiff-Below,
BRUCE BURTON and, AKINBAYO KOLAWOLE, Appellees/Defendants-Below.
Submitted: December 21, 2018
Appeal from the Decisions of the Court of Common Pleas
HONORABLE ANDREA L. ROCANELLI
an appeal from the Court of Common Pleas on an Order granting
summary judgment to Defendants-Below. Upon consideration of
the facts, arguments, and legal authorities set forth by the
parties; statutory and decisional law; and the entire record
in this case, the Court hereby finds as follows:
Appellant/Plaintiff-Below, Joseph M. Walls
("Walls"), filed a civil lawsuit in the Court of
Common Pleas on June 26, 2015, against
Appellees/Defendants-Below, state officials employed by the
Department of Corrections ("DOC").
After a hearing on July 29, 2016, the Court of Common Pleas
granted summary judgment to DOC on the basis of Walls'
failure to exhaust administrative remedies available by means
of DOC's grievance process.
Walls filed a Motion for Reargument which was subsequently
denied by Order dated October 10, 2016.
Walls now appeals from the Court of Common Pleas decision
granting DOC's Motion for Summary Judgment and denial of
the Motion for Reargument. Walls contends that summary
judgment was inappropriate because a disputed material fact
existed as to whether the grievance process was available to
resolve Walls' claim.
response, DOC argues that the Court of Common Pleas'
properly granted summary judgment on the ground of
non-exhaustion of remedies.
considering an appeal from the Court of Common Pleas,
"this Court sits as an intermediate appellate
court." The Court's appellate role is limited
to correcting legal error and determining whether factual
findings are "sufficiently supported by the record and
are the product of an orderly and logical deductive
process." The decision of the Court of Common Pleas
granting summary judgment presents a question of law that is
entitled to de novo review by this
Court. A decision granting summary judgment will
be affirmed if it appears from the record, in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party, "that there are no
genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Pursuant to Delaware statutory law, "[a] prisoner may
not bring or file a complaint relating to a condition of
confinement . . . unless the prisoner has fully exhausted all
administrative remedies available through the institutional
grievance procedure." The record in this case reveals that
the Court of Common Pleas properly found that Walls failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies before initiating the
civil action. Accordingly, the decision granting DOC's
Motion for Summary Judgment must be affirmed.
de novo review of this case reveals that there are
no genuine issues of material fact and DOC is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. The Court of Common Pleas
decision is free from legal error. Moreover, the Court of
Common Pleas' factual findings are supported by the
record and are the product of an orderly and logical
THEREFORE, this 6th day of February, 2019, for the reasons
stated herein, the Court of Common Pleas decision granting
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and denial of the
Motion for Reargument is AFFIRMED.