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Shahin v. City of Dover

Superior Court of Delaware

March 14, 2019

MAZEN AND NINA SHAHIN, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF DOVER and CHERYL A. BUNDEK, City of Dover Tax Assessor, Defendants,

          Submitted: March 1, 2019

         Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions Against Mr. Pepper Denied with Prejudice.

          Mazen Shahin and Nina Shahin, Plaintiffs, pro se.

          William W. Pepper, Sr., Esquire of Schmittinger and Rodriguez, P.A., Dover, Delaware; attorney for Defendants.

          ORDER

          William L. Witham. Jr. Resident Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs,' Dr. Mazen Shahin and Mrs. Nina Shahin's (hereinafter "Plaintiffs"), Motion for Sanctions against Mr. William Pepper, Sr., Esquire, (hereinafter "Mr. Pepper"), of Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A. pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 11 (hereinafter "Rule 11 ").[1]After considering the motion and the record regarding this case, it appears to the Court that:

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         1. On October 16, 2018, the Plaintiffs' case against the Defendants was transferred from the Delaware Court of Chancery to this Court pursuant to \QDel. C. § 1902 and 6 Del. C. § 4602(8).[2]

         2. On October 24, 2018, the Plaintiffs filed a complaint in this Court, pro se, against the Defendants pursuant to 6 Del. C. § 4600 et. seq.[3]

         3. Despite the Plaintiffs' desire and attempts, they ultimately failed to retain legal counsel. As a result, the Plaintiffs filed an application in this Court seeking the Court to appoint an attorney to represent them in their civil cause of action against the Defendants pursuant to 6 Del. C. § 4613(b).[4] The Defendants filed their timely response, in opposition, [5] and on December 17, 2018, the Court denied the Plaintiffs application.[6]

         4. On December 19, 2018, Mr. Pepper, acting in his capacity as the Defendants' legal counsel, filed an amended answer to the Plaintiffs' amended complaint.[7]

         5. The Plaintiffs filed their latest complaint, again pro se, in this Court on February 22, 2019. Here, the Plaintiffs seek sanctions against Mr. Pepper pursuant to Rule ll.[8] The crux of the Plaintiffs' argument is that Mr. Pepper "misrepresent[ed] facts and the standards of applicable and controlling law" in his December 19, 2018 amended answer.[9] Mr. Pepper, in opposition, filed a timely response on February 28, 2019.[10]

          PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

         6. The Plaintiffs specifically take issue with this excerpt from Mr. Pepper's amended reply:

[t]he final decision of the Delaware Human Relations Commission was issued on June 21, 2017. Pursuant to 6 Del. C. § 4612(1), a petition for judicial review must be filed not later than 30 days after the entry of the order. Plaintiffs waited until May 17, 2018, to file an action in the Court of Chancery. The amended complaint in this action is filed on November 29, 2018. Therefore, to the extent that this action seeks judicial review of the final order of the Delaware Human Relations Commission, it must be dismissed.[11]

         The Plaintiffs assert that this excerpt is inapplicable to the facts and law of the case and that Mr. Pepper presented it to harass and intimidate the Plaintiffs who are national minorities[12] and were seeking the appointment of professional attorney (sic) to defend them specifically against such intentional intimidation and harassment."[13]

         7. In opposition, Mr. Pepper states that the excerpt was added to his amended pleading properly as a statute of limitations affirmative defense to avoid waiver in the event the Plaintiffs' complaint could be construed to be an appeal from the Commissioned decision.[14] He further denies the ...


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