August 2022


Adjusters Credits Seminar

Partners Gregory Skolnik and Nicholas Bittner are hosting a virtual 3 hours Delaware Workers Compensation Seminar on September 22nd from 1 pm – 4 pm. If you are reading this please send an email to Natalie Bogia, the first external person to email her wins a five dollar Wawa gift card! It pays to pay attention. This seminar is open to all clients and is approved for 3 general Delaware credits. If you would like to participate please email Natalie Bogia, to reserve your space.

DSBA Diversity Job Fair

On July 23, Heckler & Frabizzio participated in the DSBA annual diversity job fair. Senior partners interviewed several impressive candidates and hope to add a few new additions to our preeminent team.

Keeping up with H&F

 Good Things Come in 3’s

Miranda (Mindy) Clifton, partner,  successfully tried an automobile case involving farm equipment in Southern Delaware.  This was a 3-day Superior Court jury trial in New Castle County.  Plaintiff refused to accept any award under $65,000 for his injuries and the Defendant had offered $30,000.  The jury returned a verdict for $35,000.00.  This case had excess coverage and the combined coverage was $1,250,000.

Miranda (Mindy) Clifton has also been elected Corresponding Secretary to the Terry-Carey Inn of Court.

Lastly, Aly Clifton, daughter of Mindy Clifton, is headed off to Liberty University for her 2nd year as an Education Major.

The Future

On July 20th Madhuri Ray, Julia McDonald, Roger Sharp, and Marissa Lelii, law clerks, attended the DSBA Young Lawyers’ Section Summer Judicial Panel at the Grand Opera House.

Sharon Arlington, legal secretary, is thrilled for her daughter Amy, who was married in Montego Bay, Jamaica on July 19, 2022. The wedding and reception took place on the beach and was attended by 53 family members and friends. The week long celebration was well deserved after having been rescheduled in 2021 due to Covid concerns and travel restrictions. Congratulations to the Newlyweds!

Brianna Grajewski, Paralegal and Carmella Cinaglia, law clerk, competed in a partner weight lifting and CrossFit competition which included 5 events throughout the day. These events ranged from cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastics. Brianna’s wallballs hit every target and Carmella was able to achieve her first ever pull up. This event was sponsored by More Than Fitness Gym which is a gym that helps provide young people with the tools to build strong bodies and resilient minds. The money raised by the competition goes back into the gym to aid in the coaching of mindfulness, meditation, personal growth and physical fitness created for mental and emotional challenges that impact today’s youth. Both ladies had  a fun time competing with 16 other teams!


A Rule is a Rule

News Flash:

Mary’s educational scholarship to the One Room School House has been revoked. Who knew that it had a ‘morality code’? Apparently, Mary brought a little lamb to school which was against the rules.


Gig Economy, Not Workers’ Compensation:

Claimant filed a Petition alleging injuries from a motor vehicle accident occurred while “working for Amazon.” Amazon asserted that Claimant was never an employee of the company and sought dismissal of the Petition. At the hearing, Claimant testified that he was delivering Amazon packages at the time of the accident. However, he was not driving an Amazon vehicle and was not hired or paid by Amazon. He was hired by a separate trucking company that contracted to transport products through a program called Amazon Relay.

The Board denied Claimant’s Petition, finding Claimant was not an Amazon employee. Claimant was never hired nor paid wages by Amazon. Amazon did not have the “power to control” the Claimant because he received his route assignment through the trucking company. Claimant rented the truck he drove and used credentials provided by the trucking company to log into the Amazon Relay app. Further, a contract demonstrated that all drivers were considered employees of trucking companies and to be covered under their worker’s compensation policies.

Mwangi v., IAB Hrg. No. 1516558 (July 8, 2022).


Watch Where You’re Going When Running on Dunkin – Parking Lot Design Expert Excluded

Delaware Superior Court excluded the testimony of the defendant/third-party plaintiff’s expert witness, finding that the expert did not arrive at his opinions in a systematic way or in a sound and methodologically reliable manner. The case arises out of a motor vehicle accident in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot. Defendant Poutre filed a third-party complaint alleging that the design of the parking lot contributed to the accident and retained an engineering expert regarding the parking lot design in support of the same.

Although the Court agreed that the expert was qualified to testify as an engineering expert, his opinions, deposition testimony and the documents upon which he relied were generalized in nature and did not point to any methods or particular facts he considered in arriving at his conclusions. The Court also found that the expert’s testimony regarding shopping centers and large traffic generators, rather than smaller fast-food restaurants, would confuse and mislead the jury.

The third-party defendant’s Motion in Limine was granted and the expert’s opinions were excluded.

Yvette De. Grinnell and William Grinnell v. David Alan Poutre v. Dough Management LLC and Dunkin Donuts, LLC, C.A. No. N19C-09-202 CLS (June 1, 2022)


Plaintiff’s Appeal Denied as Untimely

Plaintiff worked as a casual/seasonal worker from 2015 until she was terminated on October 3, 2021. He worked on an as-needed basis and was not guaranteed hours. After he was terminated, he filed for unemployment benefits.  Plaintiff presented his case to an Appeal Referee on November 4, 2021. The Referee determined that the Plaintiff was not entitled to unemployment benefits. The Plaintiff had 10 days to appeal the Referee’s decision. However, the Plaintiff filed her appeal on November 16, 2021. The Plaintiff emailed the appeal but was experiencing Wi-Fi connection issues. The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board determined that the appeal was untimely. Therefore, the Board did not take the appeal. The Plaintiff requested a rehearing, which the Board denied.

On March 23, 2022, the Plaintiff filed an appeal with the Superior Court.   On appeal, the Superior Court “must determine whether the findings and conclusions of the Board are free from legal error” and whether they are “supported by substantial evidence in the record.” Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Absent an abuse of discretion by the Board, the Superior Court will uphold the Board’s determination.

Pursuant to 19 Del. C. §3318(c), a Board’s decision is “deemed to be final unless within 10 days after the date of notification or mailing of such decision further appeal is initiated.”  In this case, the Plaintiff had until November 14, 2021, to file his appeal and he filed it on November 16, 2021. The Board found that there was no evidence of Departmental error that prevented the Plaintiff from filing a timely appeal, but instead that the appeal was filed untimely because of Wi-Fi issues.

Therefore, the Court affirmed the Board’s decision and found that the Plaintiff failed to establish that the Board abused its discretion in denying the appeal.

Should you have any questions regarding this decision, or any liability law questions, please contact any attorney in our Liability Law Department.



Faucett v. Unempl. Ins. App. Bd., 2022 WL 3025661, at *1 (Del. Super. Aug. 1, 2022)