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Iacona v. Hometown Rehoboth Bay, LLC

Superior Court of Delaware

September 27, 2019

JOHN IACONA and ROBERT WEYMOUTH, Appellants,
v.
HOMETOWN REHOBOTH BAY, LLC, Appellee.

          Submitted: 8/23/2019

          Olga K Beskrone, Esq., Attorney for Appellants.

          Michael P Morton, Esq., Attorney for Appellee.

          ORDER

          Richard F. Stokes, Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Appellants' Motion to Supplement the Record. For the following reasons, the Motion is Denied.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         John Iacona and Robert Weymouth ("Appellants") challenged a rent increase imposed by Hometown Rehoboth Bay, LLC ("HRB"), the managing entity of the community in which Appellants are tenants, under the Manufactured Homeowners and Manufactured Community Owners Act ("Rent Justification Act").[1] Following the Arbitrator's decision finding justification for the rent increase, Appellants appealed to this Court.[2] On June 20, 2019, Appellants filed their Motion to Supplement the Record, seeking to introduce evidence not previously considered by the Arbitrator.

         At the arbitration hearing, both parties offered witnesses and exhibits in support of their arguments. The Arbitrator concluded that, based on the testimony of HRB's witness and the materials offered to the homeowners at the community meetings, HRB met their burden to disclose all material factors in writing to the homeowners at the final meeting.[3] Though Appellants disputed some of the testimony, they did not offer contrary evidence.

         Appellants argue that HRB failed to disclose material information upon their request. They now move to have evidence of HRB's failure to disclose entered into the record. Appellants did not offer this evidence before the Arbitrator.[4]

         Appellants now wish to expand the record to provide evidence that HRB failed to disclose material factors upon their request. In response to Appellants' motion, HRB has moved to strike Appellants' Supplemental Opening Brief, Supplemental Reply Brief, and Motion to Supplement the Record, arguing that they rely on matters not part of the record before this Court.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Pursuant to section 7044, "the appeal shall be on the record and the Court shall address written and/or oral arguments of the parties as to whether the record created in the arbitration is sufficient justification for the arbitrator's decisions and whether those decisions are free from legal error."[5] Appellants argue that they were denied material information requested before and at the arbitration. As noted by the Arbitrator, they did not offer any evidence to rebut the materials and testimony provided by HRB. With no evidence of such a demand before the Arbitrator, this Court must rely on the record created in the arbitration.[6]

         Appellants had the opportunity to enter the evidence they now wish to get into the record at the time of arbitration. The Arbitrator must make a decision based on the evidence before him. This Court, on appeal, must determine whether the record created in the arbitration supports the Arbitrator's decision and that decision is free from legal error.[7] The evidence was available and Appellants failed to bring it in front of the Arbitrator when they had the ...


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