Articles Posted in Government Law

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Appellant John Nichols appealed a final Superior Court judgment affirming the order of the State Coastal Zone Industrial Board granting motions to dismiss filed by appellees Diamond State Generation Partners LLC and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in response to Nichols' appeal of the grant of a Coastal Zone industrial permit application. Nichols raised two claims on appeal: (1) the Board's vote on whether Nichols had standing to pursue the appeal failed due to the lack of a five-vote majority; and (2) that he possessed standing under the "any person aggrieved" standard of title 7, section 7007(b) of the Delaware Code, or, in the alternative, as a matter of common law. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded both of Nichols' arguments lacked merit and therefore affirmed the Superior Court.View "Nichols v. State Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board, et al." on Justia Law

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Employee-appellant, Gary Andreason appealed a Superior Court judgment affirming two Industrial Accident Board decisions. The first decision awarded compensation to Andreason for his work-related knee and right shoulder injuries, but denied compensation for a separate and unrelated lower back injury. The second decision denied Andreason's reargument motion challenging the Board's denial of compensation for his lower back injury. Andreason argued on appeal to the Supreme Court: (1) the Board erred as a matter of law when it determined that there was no implied agreement to compensate him for his lower back injury; (2) that title 19, section 2322(h) does not apply when compensation is paid as the result of a unilateral mistake. The Court concluded all of Andreason's arguments were without merit. View "Andreason v. Royal Pest Control" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a trial court judge erred in finding that a state agency complied with the state's Real Property Acquisition Act before it moved to condemn petitioners' property. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment was reversed, the orders vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the condemnation action without prejudice. View "Lawson v. Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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After meeting with a high-school guidance counselor, a teenaged student said he was feeling alone and unloved, and had attempted suicide. The Counselor talked with the student for four hours; at the end of the discussion, the counselor felt the student no longer posed a threat to himself and sent him back to class. The school did not notify the student's parents of his statements or acts. After the student went home that day, he killed himself. The student's family sued the school district for wrongful death. The district court granted the district summary judgment, finding no duty to the student, and no wrongful act under the wrongful death statute. Plaintiffs appealed, asserting a common law duty based on the special relationship between a school and its students. The Supreme Court found no merit to plaintiffs' appeal except for a negligence per se claim. The alleged violations of the State Department of Education’s and the School District’s mandatory requirements to notify a parent or guardian of the student’s crisis situation state, in the Court's view, a claim of negligence per se. Accordingly, the judgment of the Superior Court was reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Rogers, et al. v. The Christina School District, et al." on Justia Law

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In 2011, the Board of Cosmetology and Barbering suspended Petitioner Randall Richardson's license due to his leasing work space to his wife who Petitioner knew did not have a valid license. A Hearing Officer recommended a fine and a 90-day suspension of Petitioner's license. The Board voted to adopt the Hearing Officer’s recommendations. The Superior Court affirmed the Board’s decision. On appeal, Petitioner argued: (1) the Board failed to create a complete record for the Supreme Court to review on appeal; (2) the Board failed to properly appoint the Hearing Officer to his case; (3) the Board failed to consider exceptions to the Hearing Officer’s recommendation; (4) the Board erred in suspending Petitioner's license because he only violated the requirements of his Shop License; and (5) the Hearing Officer lacked statutory authority to conduct hearings involving potential license suspensions. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the Hearing Officer had the authority to act and that the Board had the authority to suspend Petitioner's License. However, the Court agreed that the Board created an insufficient record for appellate review. Accordingly, the Superior Court's judgment was vacated and the matter remanded for further proceedings.View "Richardson v. Board of Cosmetology & Barbering" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs-Appellees Carl and Pamela Morton filed a petition for guardianship against Defendant-Appellant Terry Hanson. An in-house attorney who did not carry malpractice insurance was appointed by the Family Court to represent Defendant. The Family Court certified a question to the Supreme Court concerning in-house attorneys appointed to represent indigent parties. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that in-house counsel appointed by the Family Court had qualified immunity under the Delaware Tort Claims Act. Furthermore, lack of malpractice insurance is not "good cause" for an attorney to withdraw from court-appointed representation.View "Hanson v. Morton" on Justia Law

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A group of Dewey Beach property owners appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against the Town. They sued to challenge the town's authority to enter into what they characterized as a "private zoning arrangement" to violate certain longstanding zoning requirements. The Court of Chancery dismissed the complaint finding it was not filed within 60 days of the notice given following approval of the developer's record plan. Finding that the Court of Chancery lacked jurisdiction, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Murray v. Town of Dewey Beach" on Justia Law