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Batchelor v. Alexis Properties, LLC

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

June 5, 2019

JANET BATCHELOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALEXIS PROPERTIES, LLC, BB PROPERTIES OF DELAWARE, LLC, JOHN WELCOME d/b/a WELCOME HOME REALTY, and LIVEINDE.COM, INC., DEFENDANTS.

          Submitted: May 17, 2019

         Upon Motion for Sanctions of Defendants Alexis Properties, LLC, John Welcome d/b/a Welcome Home Realty, and Liveinde.com, Inc. GRANTED in part and DEFERRED in part

          Michael G. Rushe, Esquire

          Daniel L. Huestis, Esquire

          Brian T. Riggin, Esquire

          ORDER

          NOEL EASON PRIMOS JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Motion for Sanctions (hereinafter the "Motion") of Defendants Alexis Properties, LLC, John Welcome d/b/a Welcome Home Realty, LLC, and Liveinde.com, Inc. (hereinafter collectively the "Moving Defendants"), against Ms. Janet Batchelor (hereinafter "Plaintiff). The Moving Defendants seek sanctions due to Plaintiffs failure to respond to discovery. Oral argument was held on the Motion on May 17, 2019. Counsel for the Moving Defendants and for Defendant BB Properties of Delaware, LLC, appeared, but Plaintiff, who is self- represented, failed to appear. Following oral argument, the Court took the matter under advisement.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The facts and relevant procedural history as reflected by the record are, briefly, as follows.

         On March 14, 2019, a hearing was held before the Commissioner regarding various motions, including a motion to compel filed by the Moving Defendants due to Plaintiffs failure to respond to interrogatories and requests for production that the Moving Defendants had served upon her on January 7, 2019. Following the hearing, the Commissioner ordered that Plaintiff respond to the outstanding discovery requests by April 15, 2019, and that failure to do so could result in sanctions, including but not limited to "adverse findings of fact and/or dismissal of Plaintiff s action." Plaintiff did not request reconsideration of the Commissioner's order pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 132(a)(3)(iv).

         Plaintiff served responses to the discovery requests on the Moving Defendants on April 18, 2019, three days after the deadline set by the Court on March 14. On April 26, 2019, the Moving Defendants filed the Motion, and noticed the Motion to be heard before the Court on May 17, 2019. In their Motion, the Moving Defendants asserted that Plaintiffs responses were "materially deficient" in that Plaintiff (1) had refused to answer 12 interrogatories; (2) had provided insufficient answers that lacked significant portions of the requested information in at least another 12 interrogatories; and (3) had refused to provide any of the requested documentation in response to 36 separate requests for production.

         Pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 78(b), Plaintiff was required to file a written response to the Motion no later than May 13, 2019; she failed to do so. As previously stated, Plaintiff failed to appear for the hearing on the Motion on May 17, 2019.

         The Moving Defendants request that the Court sanction Plaintiff by dismissing the action. In the alternative, they request that Plaintiffs claims for consequential and punitive damages be stricken. Defendants also request an award of attorney's fees and costs pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 68 if Plaintiff s action is dismissed, or pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 37(b)(2)(E).

         II. ...


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