Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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This matter involved the use by the City of Lewes, the State, and others of a former industrial park transferred to the State and held as open space. Plaintiff brought three actions contesting that use. The only issues remaining were whether a 2014 council meeting was in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and, if not, what remedy was available. The Court of Chancery granted summary judgment in favor of the City Council of Lewes and denied Plaintiff’s motion, holding that the 2014 meeting did not frustrate the intent of FOIA and that no effective remedy could ensue from a decision that the 2014 meeting was non-FOIA compliant. View "Lechliter v. Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a towing company and its owner, filed a complaint against the Division of State Police, Department of Safety and Homeland Security, State of Delaware, alleging that Defendants discriminated against the owner on the basis of her sex and against the company as a minority-owned business and that Defendants treated Plaintiffs differently for arbitrary or malicious reasons by not assigning the towing company, the only female-owned towing company in Delaware, additional territory. The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that Defendants established that the complaint alleged facts that showed it was filed too late and Plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of pleading facts demonstrating that tolling applies. View "First State Towing, LLC v. Div. of State Police" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a towing company and its owner, filed a complaint against the Division of State Police, Department of Safety and Homeland Security, State of Delaware, alleging that Defendants discriminated against the owner on the basis of her sex and against the company as a minority-owned business and that Defendants treated Plaintiffs differently for arbitrary or malicious reasons by not assigning the towing company, the only female-owned towing company in Delaware, additional territory. The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that Defendants established that the complaint alleged facts that showed it was filed too late and Plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of pleading facts demonstrating that tolling applies. View "First State Towing, LLC v. Div. of State Police" on Justia Law

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This action challenged the monthly assessments collected by Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority under the Manufactured Home Owners and Community Owners Act. In 2004, the Authority set a monthly assessment on landlords and tenants of manufactured home communities. The Act provided that the Authority’s board eliminate or revise the assessment by January 2006. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking relief from the assessment and reimbursement of already collected assessments because the Authority did not eliminate the assessment after January 2006. The Court of Chancery concluded that the statutory immunity of 25 Del. C. 7011(b)(3) protected the Authority and its board from civil liability, at least until the filing of this action. At issue here was whether the notice of the board’s failure to comply with the Act and Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act provided by the complaint in this action meant that the continued collection of the assessment was the product of bad faith conduct. The Court of Chancery concluded that Defendants were entitled to summary judgment, holding (1) the Authority’s board was not acting in bad faith when it believed its actions had avoided the problems posed by the January 2006 trigger date; and (2) the Authority’s conduct after its board received the complaint was not in bad faith, and therefore, the Authority retained its immunity defense. View "Ridgewood Manor II, Inc. v. Del. Manufactured Home Relocation Auth." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC), filed this action against personnel at the JTVCC seeking an injunction and compensatory damages for placement in isolated confinement and, subsequently, maximum security housing. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim and to revoke his in forma pauperis status pursuant to the three strikes rule of 10 Del. C. 8804(f). The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion to revoke Plaintiff’s in forma pauperis status and ordered the complaint dismissed unless Plaintiff filed all required filing fees within sixty days, holding that Plaintiff failed to show that he met the statutory exception to the three strikes rule. View "Biggins v. Phelps" on Justia Law

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Petitioner worked as a charge nurse at a facility of the State’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). After an incident with a patient who later died, DHSS concluded that Petitioner should be dismissed for patient neglect, failure to perform a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition, and unprofessional and unacceptable behavior. Petitioner’s employment was governed by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between a union and HDSS. After arbitration as prescribed by the CBA, the arbitrator concluded there was just cause for Petitioner’s dismissal. Petitioner brought this action challenging the arbitrator’s decision. The Court of Chancery granted summary judgment in favor of DHSS, holding that the arbitrator (1) correctly held DHSS to its burden to demonstrate good cause for termination in reaching his decision; (2) applied the correct standard of care as to the definition of “neglect”; and (3) necessarily rejected Petitioner’s effort to obtain back pay. View "AFSCME, Council 81, Registered Nurses Unit, Local 2305 v. State, Dep’t of Health & Soc. Servs." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued the State to challenge a demand for payment made by the State under Delaware's escheat law, 12 Del. C. 1101, et seq. The State countersued, seeking a declaration that the sums demanded from plaintiff were proper and authorized under the Statute. Both parties moved for partial judgment on the pleadings. The court found that the rebates at issue fit comfortably within two of the "specifically enumerated" items of property listed in section 1198(11) and therefore granted the State's motion for partial judgment on the pleadings and denied plaintiff's cross-motion. Although the pleadings did not paint a clear picture of the form in which the rebates were issued by plaintiff to its customers, plaintiff's counsel conceded at oral argument that the rebates were issued as either negotiable "checks" or "credits." As such, the rebates consisted of specifically enumerated items of property under section 1198(11), and the State's claims could not be barred by any statute of limitations. View "Staples, Inc. v. Cook, et al." on Justia Law

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This matter involved the adoption of a land use comprehensive plan by the Kent County Levy Court. Petitioners, landowners, argued that the ordinance adopting the plan worked a zoning change on their properties because, pursuant to the land use map incorporated in the plan, the density of the permissible development of the properties was significantly reduced. Petitioners alleged numerous violations of constitutional and statutory law arising of the alleged downzoning of the properties. The county moved to dismiss, arguing that the matter was not ripe for adjudication because the plan and land use map were planning documents only and did not change Petitioners' property rights. The Chancery Court denied the motion to dismiss, holding (1) because land use maps have the force of law, and the county may not permit development of the properties except in conformity with the new land use map, Petitioners had suffered a diminution in their ability to develop the properties, assuming the factual allegation of their petition were true; and (2) therefore, Petitioners' allegations were ripe for consideration. View "Farmers for Fairness v. Kent County Levy Court" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a Delaware taxpayer, asserted claims against defendant, the State of Delaware Auditor of Accounts, for claims related to defendant's alleged noncompliance with 29 Del. C. 2906(f), which stated, in part, that the "Auditor of Accounts shall conduct postaudits of local school district tax funds budget and expenditures annually" and for claims related to defendant's alleged violation of Delaware's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 29 Del. C. ch. 100., by failing to provide plaintiff with copies of certain employee time sheets which he duly requested. The court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the audit claims and the FOIA claims must be dismissed because of plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. View "Korn v. State of Delaware Auditor of Accounts R. Thomas Wagner, Jr." on Justia Law