NEWS

  2020

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The firm would like to welcome Daniella C. Spitelli, Esq., as its new associate.  Ms. Spitelli was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated from the University of Delaware in 2011 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice.  Ms. Spitelli then worked as a juvenile and adult probation officer in Delaware prior to entering law school.  In 2018, Ms. Spitelli graduated cum laude from Widener University Delaware Law School with a Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the Delaware Bar.  Ms. Spitelli graduated with Pro Bono Distinction and was awarded the American Association for Justice Trial’s “Best Opening Statement.”  Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Spitelli served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Carl C. Danberg and the Honorable Robert H. Surles of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas and subsequently was employed as an associate in professional liability defense.

The firm would like to congratulate the 2020 Recipient of the Beth H. Christman Award for Excellence in Academics and Trial Advocacy, Ms. Rachel Tarver of Delaware Law School, Widener University.  Please click the link for more information about this award:   2020 Beth Christman Award Recipient — Rachel Tarver  

Matt O’Byrne achieved a defense verdict after a three-day jury trial in a case involving a slip and fall on an algae covered deck.  The jury determined Matt’s client was not negligent, where the plaintiff had $450,000 in specials and a low back injury.

The firm is pleased to announce the election of Matthew E. O’Byrne and Kenneth M. Doss as Associate Members of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

  2019

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The firm would like to welcome its new law clerk, Anna Fiscella.  Anna received her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from Delaware Law School, Widener University in 2018, where she served as a Vice President of the Moot Court Honor Society and Articles Editor for the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law.  Ms. Fiscella received the Donald E. Pease Award for Best Student Publication in 2017, and her Note is published in the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 42, Issue 3. She served as an extern for The Honorable Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and intern to The Honorable James T. Vaughn, Jr. of the Delaware Supreme Court. She also served as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Charles E. Butler of the Delaware Superior Court.

In ACW Corporation, Colin Shalk, Esq. successfully pursued a motion to dismiss a subrogation suit against Defendants for reimbursement of worker’s compensation benefits.  The Delaware Superior Court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding the damages related to commutation were speculative and the disputed amount was already paid to the PIP carrier.

The firm would like to welcome Anthony N. Forcina, Esq.  Anthony Forcina graduated from Villanova University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1984.  In 1989, Mr. Forcina received his Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law.  Mr. Forcina is admitted to practice in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, as well as the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Mr. Forcina has experience as a prosecutor, work in private practice in personal injury and product liability litigation, and served as in-house counsel for over 11 years at a large national insurance company.

Donald Ransom presented a motion for summary judgment which was granted.  The Delaware Superior Court held that once an individual has been excluded from an insurance policy, he or she is not entitled to any coverage under that policy.  Villalobos-Martin, C.A. No. N18C-01-145 JAP, Rennie, J. 2019 WL 2121103 (Del. Super. May 14, 2019).

Matthew O’Byrne, Esq. obtained a favorable jury verdict, below the offer of judgment. in a matter involving permanent injury.

In a recent case, Mr. Kenneth M. Doss presented a motion for summary judgment which was granted by the Delaware Superior Court, dismissing the claims against his client.

The firm would like to welcome Daniel P. Daly, Esq.  Dan Daly graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 2000.  He received his Juris Doctor degree from Temple University, Beasley School of Law in 2004.  Mr. Daly is admitted to practice in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and District of New Jersey.  Mr. Daly has litigated cases involving personal injury, premises liability, product liability, medical devices, real estate and pharmaceutical matters.

The firm is pleased to announce Deborah Cuoco, Esq.’s return to the firm.  Deborah is licensed to practice law in Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Deborah’s experience in both state and federal courts primarily involves personal injury, warranty liability, product liability and insurance coverage disputes.  She is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law where she served as a member of the Moot Court Executive Board.  She is a member of the Order of Barristers and recipient of the Robert W. Miller Award for her contributions to Moot Court.

In an important decision, the Delaware Superior Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding defendant was not negligent in failing to inspect an electrical system in his auto repair shop and was not liable for a bailment agreement to which he was not a party.  Colin M. Shalk, Esq. represented the defendant.

The firm would like to congratulate its 2019 Inaugural Winner of the Beth H. Christman Award for Excellence in Academic and Trial Advocacy Studies, Ms. Kaitlyn Mazur, from Delaware Law School, Widener University.

Matthew E. O’Byrne, Esq. successfully defended a disputed motor vehicle accident case. He successfully argued that the alleged injured party was negligent and that her own negligence was the cause of the accident, as well as her own injuries. 

Donald Ransom, Esq. tried an intersectional accident involving a vehicle rollover.  The driver of that vehicle claimed numerous significant injuries including a broken bone in his neck, other neck and back injuries, a detached retina, an inoperable torn rotator cuff and a knee replacement.  The retinal injury was excluded on a pretrial Daubert motion.  After a three-day trial involving several experts, the jury returned a verdict of $5,000.  A motion for additur (asking the Court to increase the verdict) was denied.

  2018

In Sadler, C.A. No. N15C-07-176 ALR, Rocanelli, J., 2018 WL 3471175 (Del. Super. July 17, 2018), Colin Shalk, Esq. successfully argued a motion for summary judgment that was granted in part, as to Plaintiff’s claims of negligent entrustment and punitive damages. Mr. Shalk represented the co-defendants, employer and employee.

Don Ransom, Esq. prevailed on a motion for summary judgment for the defendant.  The Court agreed that where the plaintiff is not economically dependent on an insured, he is not considered a member of household, and is therefore not entitled to PIP on an insured vehicle while occupying rental vehicle.  Lockhart, C.A. No. CPU4-17-001788, Rennie, J., 2018 WL 1399612 (Del. CCP March 19, 2018).

In a recent decision, the Delaware Superior Court granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of Mr. Shalk’s client, holding defendant did not owe a duty to plaintiff in a wrongful death case, noting Delaware’s prohibition on Dram Shop and Social Host Liability. Colin M. Shalk, Esq. represented defendant, catering company.

 

  2017

 In Guzman, C.A. No. N17C-10-313 (Dec. 8, 2017), a personal injury action, the Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations.  The defendant was represented by Donald M. Ransom, Esq.

The Delaware Superior Court granted summary judgment to the Uninsured Motorist carrier in a pedestrian dart out case where the driver left the scene.  Donald Ransom, Esq. represented the insurer.  Stape, C.A. No. N16C-10-221 (Dec. 18, 2017).

In Cody, C.A. No. N16C-09-035, Butler, J., 2017 WL 5075509 (Del. Super. October 31, 2017), Don Ransom, Esq., successfully argued for denial of the co-defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment.

Beth Christman, Esq. argued to the Delaware Superior Court that plaintiff, an injured pedestrian, was not entitled to UIM benefits under Defendant’s policy.  The Court granted her motion for summary judgment, noting that Delaware law holds UIM as “personal to the insured,” and cannot cover a pedestrian who was not an occupant of the vehicle and where he received full policy limits under Defendant’s liability coverage. Johnson, C.A. No. N17C-03-206 ALR, Rocanelli, J., 2017 WL 4652061 (Del. Super. Oct. 16. 2017).

Matt O’Byrne, Esq. achieved a favorable verdict on a matter involving an alleged assault, where the alleged victim sought compensation that included punitive damages as well as injuries, including an orbital fracture, surgery, and permanent vision loss.

 Thomas P. Leff, Esq. successfully argued defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Delaware Superior Court held that the defendants’ insurance policies were not vague and the “owned vehicle exclusion” has been upheld in Delaware, finding the plaintiff excluded from the defendants’ policies. Daniels, C.A. No. S15C-01-016 ESB, Bradley, J., 2017 WL 347466 (Del. Super. January 20, 2017).

  2016

The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Delaware Superior Court granting summary judgment to an uninsured motorist carrier. Matt O’Byrne argued that based on the plain language of Delaware’s former uninsured motorist statute, the insurance policies of all tortfeasors must be aggregated and compared with the plaintiff’s UIM (or in the event of the plaintiff being insured under multiple UIM policies, a single policy of the plaintiff’s choosing). Moffitt-Ali, 2016 WL 6609561, aff'd151 A.3d 448 (Table) (Del. 2016).

In an important decision, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the application of Stayton v. Delaware Health Corp. to Medicaid payments made for post-PIP medical expenses claimed by a plaintiff in a personal injury suit. Thomas Leff made the winning argument to the Court. Smith, 150 A.3d (Del. 2016).                                                                                                                                                                         

In Deal v. Dimondo, et al., the Delaware Superior Court upheld the application of the former UIM Statute to plaintiff’s auto policy. Thomas Leff presented the successful argument to the court. 2016 WL 3662195 (Del. Super. July 1, 2016).

The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Delaware Superior Court, which granted the defendant’s summary judgment as to plaintiff’s breach of contract and property damage claims. Colin Shalk successfully demonstrated that Delaware’s Statute of Repose, which sets a specific time frame to file suit regardless of when a plaintiff becomes aware of its injury, applied to the plaintiff’s claim. 326 Associates, L.P., (Del. 2016).

Kenneth M. Doss successfully defended a personal injury protection case in which the jury found that a $72,000 surgery was not related to the motor vehicle accident. (May 2016).

Colin M. Shalk effectively argued before the Delaware Supreme Court, to dismiss a class action finding that the PIP statute does not absolutely require that all bills be paid or denied within 30 days and that the statute contains its own penalty where PIP benefits are paid untimely. Clark, 131 A.3d 806 (Del. 2016).

Colin M. Shalk obtained a defense verdict for his client, a general contractor, after an eight day jury trial. The Plaintiff was claiming over a million dollars in medical expenses and lost wages after a piece of plywood fell on him. The jury found that Mr. Shalk’s client was not responsible for the incident or plaintiff’s injuries. Smith,  (January 2016).

 

2015

Colin M. Shalk obtained a favorable decision from the Delaware Supreme Court in a case involving UM/UIM reformation claims and PIP claims. The Supreme Court held that an insurer is not required to offer $300,000 uninsured/underinsured coverage to match an insured’s liability limits, as the statute only requires the insurer to offer $100,000/$300,000. The Supreme Court further held that all PIP bills must be submitted within two years, and that the 90 day extension for submitting medical bills is only applicable if the plaintiff can establish impracticality. Tracey, 2014 WL 3882809, aff’d, 129 A.3d 881 (Del. 2015).                                                                                                                    

 

2014

The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Superior Court, which Donald M. Ransom successfully argued. Mr. Ransom argued that an occupant of a Delaware registered and insured motor vehicle was not entitled to excess personal injury protection coverage from her own motor vehicle insurance policy as she was an occupant of another Delaware registered and insured vehicle, pursuant to the statute and insurance policy at issue. Barone, 2014 WL 686953 (Del. Super. Jan. 29, 2014), aff’d, 103 A.3d 514 (Del. 2014). 

 

2013

The firm obtained a favorable decision from the Delaware Supreme Court that Plaintiffs were not entitled to under-insured motorist benefits under their step-mother’s insurance policy for wrongful death of their mother. Plaintiffs’ mother was not a named insured under the policy nor was she a resident of the insured’s household. Further, it was never contemplated by any party that the mother would be covered by the policy. Shuba, 77 A.3d 945 (Del. 2013).

 Colin M. Shalk successfully argued before the Delaware Supreme Court that the settlement of an uninsured motorist claim was in good faith and therefore a breach of contract claim could not be maintained. Price, 2013 WL 1213292, aff’d, 77 A.3d 272 (Del. 2013). 

In an important decision, the Supreme Court affirmed summary judgement on behalf of the firm’s client and found that a landlord was not liable for a customer’s injuries after she tripped on a mannequin placed by the tenant, as the landlord did not exercise sufficient control over the area where the incident occurred. 

 

Casarino Christman Shalk
Ransom & Doss, P.A.

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