E. JANE QUASHNE, Plaintiff Below, Appellant,
THUNDER HILL LANDSCAPING GROUND PRO CO., Defendant Below, Appellee.
Submitted: September 12, 2019
L. Gouge, Jr., Esquire Donald L. Gouge, Jr. LLC Attorney for
J. Haley, Jr., Esquire Ferrara & Haley Attorney for
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable John K. Welch Judge.
Quashne (hereinafter "Plaintiff) brought this action
against Thunder Hill Landscape Ground Pro. Co. (hereineafter
"Defendant") to recover damages for breach of
contract arising from lawn care. Both parties stipulated to
all exhibits and had them pre-marked prior to trial.
November 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed an appeal of decision from
JP Court 13 pursuant to 10 Del. C. § 9570 et.
seq. On January 25, 2019, Defendant filed an answer denying
liability, asserting Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted and counterclaiming for unpaid
bills for lawn services it rendered to Plaintiff.
February 11, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend its
complaint to request an increase in damages from $9, 000 to
$15, 000. On this same date, Plaintiff filed an answer to
Defendant's counterclaim denying the allegations. On
February 27, 2019, Defendant filed a letter informing the
Court that it did not oppose Plaintiffs motion to amend. On
March 8, 2019, the Court granted the Motion to Amend.
17, 2019, Plaintiff served a subpoena upon James Hughes
("Hughes") seeking to compel him to appear as a
witness at trial. On August 16, 2019, the Delaware Department
of Agriculture filed a Motion to Quash the subpoena. On
August 30, 2019, this Court denied the Delaware Department of
Agriculture's motion to quash the subpoena. However, this
Court limited Hughes's testimony to an hour and ordered
the parties pay this witness $100 for time spent testifying
in this case and reasonable travel expenses to get to this
Court from his Dover office. The Court ordered Hughes's
counsel submit costs incurred by this witness for travel.
September 12, 2019, this Court held trial in this matter. At
the conclusion of trial, this Court reserved decision. This
is the Court's Final Opinion after consideration of the
arguments and evidence presented at trial.
on the testimony and evidence presented at trial, the Court
finds the relevant facts to be as follows.
March 2018, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with
Defendant for lawn care and treatment. Susanne Varone
(hereinafter "Varone"), owner of Thunder Hill
Landscape, testified that she began the business in April
2017. Varone further testified that she has been in the
business for three years, two years when she worked on
Plaintiff lawn, and has a Delaware Department of Agriculture
license. In addition, prior to owning the landscaping
business, Varone was a construction and property manager for
twenty years. In April 2018, Plaintiff requested Defendant
treat her lawn with fertilizer to destroy growing weeds.
Varone indicated that her twenty-four year old son, Jordan
Talley (hereinafter "Talley"), applied fertilizer
to Plaintiffs lawn on April 21, 2019. Talley worked for
Defendant for two or three years and mostly cuts grass. After
no visible signs of improvement, Plaintiff requested that
Defendant retreat the lawn. Plaintiff testified Defendant
promised to apply another coat of fertilizer for free.
12, 2018, Defendant had Joshua Trusty (hereinafter
"Trusty") and another employee apply another coat
of fertilizer. Wade Kantor (hereinafter "Kantor"),
a tenant residing at Plaintiffs property, was present for the
second application. Kantor observed a young man pushing
fertilizer up and down the lawn. Further, Kantor watched the
young man refilled the bucket of fertilizer twice on the lawn
and spilled some fertilizer during the process. Moreover,
Kantor saw the young man spilled fertilizer several times,
notably by the fence and shed area. Trusty is twenty-one and
works for Varone. Trusty further indicated at trial that he
followed the instructions on the fertilizer packaging and
does not recall spilling any fertilizer ...