Griffin v. Ramirez, Case No. CPU4-20-000793

CourtCourt of Common Pleas of Delaware
Writing for the CourtMonica A. Horton Judge
PartiesWYKEEMA GRIFFIN, Appellant/Plaintiff-Below, v. EDGAR RAMIREZ d/b/a LATINOS AUTO REPAIR, Appellee/Defendant-Below.
Decision Date18 November 2020
Docket NumberCase No. CPU4-20-000793

WYKEEMA GRIFFIN, Appellant/Plaintiff-Below,
v.
EDGAR RAMIREZ d/b/a LATINOS AUTO REPAIR, Appellee/Defendant-Below.

Case No. CPU4-20-000793

COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR THE STATE OF DELAWARE IN AND FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY

Submitted: October 26, 2020
November 18, 2020


Wykeema Griffin
220 City View Ave.
Wilmington, DE 19802
Pro Se Appellant

Edgar Ramirez
3310 Wrangle Hill Road
Suite 104
Bear, DE 19701
Pro Se Appellee

ORDER

Pro se Appellant, Wykeema Griffin, brings this appeal from Justice of the Peace Court. The Justice of the Peace Court hearing was held on January 13, 2020 and judgment was entered on January 29, 2020. Appellant docketed this appeal with the Court of Common Pleas on February 14, 2020.

On September 9, 2020, Appellee requested a continuance of trial based upon a lack of discovery and his inability to afford a lawyer. On October 12, 2020, the Court held a hearing on Appellee's motion, during which time the Court raised the

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issue of timeliness of the appeal.1 A review of the docket reflects that Appellant filed her appeal 16 days after the trial court entered its order, making her appeal untimely by one day. At the hearing, the Appellant was not prepared to address the question of whether this Court has the authority to extend a jurisdictional filing deadline. Therefore, the Appellant was given two weeks in which to submit briefing on the issue.

On October 15, 2020, Appellant submitted briefing in which she argues that because certain administrative milestones had occurred in her case (i.e. mediation and pre-trial conference), her appeal should be considered timely filed. Pro se Appellee did not file a response. In support of her argument, Appellant cited four federal cases, none of which warrant a deviation from the 15-day rule in this case. Most of the cases presented by Appellant focus on the "unique circumstances" doctrine, which provides an appellate court with an equitable basis to consider appeals that would otherwise be dismissed for being filed out of time. The United States Supreme Court invalidated the "unique circumstances" doctrine in 2007 with its decision in Bowles v. Russell. The Bowles Court made it "clear that the timely filing of a notice of appeal in a civil case is a jurisdictional requirement," making the "unique circumstances" doctrine illegitimate.2

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It is settled law in Delaware that the timely filing of an appeal is a jurisdictional necessity.3 As such, if an appeal is untimely filed, then the Court lacks the...

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