Free Letter - District Court of Delaware - Delaware

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Date: August 30, 2005
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State: Delaware
Category: District Court of Delaware
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Case 1 :04-cv—0091 1-GI\/IS Document 46 Filed 08/30/2005 Page 1 of 2
surrs mor, one MARKET STREET
,,_ O_ BOX ,0,-O TELEPHONE (302) ess-442.3
NORMAN M. MONHAIT E-MA11. [email protected]
KEVIN crzoss
JEFFREY s. coonsss
.1EssrcA zsrom ’
By Hand and Electronic Filing
The Honorable Gregory M. Sleet
United States District Court, District of Delaware
844 N. King Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Re: Kopacz v. Del. River and Bay Auth. et mw., D. Del., C.A. No. 04-911 (GMS)
Kopazc v. Del. River and Bay Auth., D. Del., C.A. No. 04-1281 (GMS)
Dear Judge Sleet,
We write on behalf of the DRBA with respect to a discovery dispute which has arisen in
this case.
In this lawsuit, plaintiff Jan Kopacz claims an injury to his lower back when he was
allegedly struck by defendant Swett’s car on board defendant Delaware River and Bay
Authority’s feny on August 9, 2002. Plaintiff, an employee of the DRBA, was out of work until
November 2002, and thereafter tiled suit against the DRBA for negligence, unseaworthiness,
maintenance and cure. The DRBA denies that the Swett vehicle actually contacted Mr. Kopacz,
and alleges that the claim is fraudulent. Plaintiff eventually tiled suit against Swett as well, and
the two actions were consolidated.
l On December 24, 2004, Mr. Kopacz claimed to have suffered another injury on the ferry
to his shoulder and hand. He sought maintenance and cure for this injury, and was found not fit
for duty because of low back problems. He is currently collecting long term disability benefits,
however, he has previously threatened to sue the DRBA for failure to pay maintenance and cure
with respect to this injury. He also claimed that the December 2004 injury was caused by the
DRBA’s failure to have an adequate crew on the day of the injury.

Case 1:04-cv-00911-GIVIS Document 46 Filed 08/30/2005 Page 2 of 2 .
Honorable Gregory M. Sleet
August 30, 2005
Page 2
Mr. Kopacz seems to be disabled due to his low back condition. At this point it is unclear T
whether plaintiff now claims that this is a new injury which occurred on December 24, 2004, or
whether that accident simply exacerbated the condition which he alleges was caused by the car
accident of August 2002. Therefore, the DRBA served supplemental interrogatories requesting a
clarification of plaintiffs position concerning the December accident, and whether it impacted
the August 2002 claim. (See interrogatories 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, attached hereto as Exhibit A).
Plaintiff objected, and refuses to respond to these interrogatories. (See Plaintiff` s Answers to
Third Set of lnterrogatories).
Clearly, the DRBA is entitled to know whether plaintiff claims that the December 2004
incident caused new injuries, or simply exacerbated the injuries arising from the August 2002
incident which is the subject of this lawsuit. Plaintiff is seeking substantial damages as a result
of the August 2002 incident, and therefore this line of questioning is clearly relevant as it may
lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Rule 33(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
specifically provides that an inteirogatoiy is not objectionable simply because it seeks to
discovery a party’s opinions or contentions in the lawsuit.
We look forward to discussing this dispute with Your Honor on Thursday morning at
10:00 am.
/s/ Carmella P. Keener
Cannella P. Keener (DSBA No. 2810)
919 N. Market Street, Suite 1401
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 656-4433
[email protected]
cc: James J. Woods, Esquire (via electronic filing)
Mary Elisa Reeves, Esquire (via electronic filing)
Donald M. Ransom, Esquire (via electronic filing)
Clerk ofthe Court (via hand delivery)