THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY.
AN ACT creating a Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of all the members elected to each branch thereof concurring therein):
SECTION 1. That Chapter 112 of the Revised Code of Delaware be, and the same is hereby amended, by adding at the end of said Chapter a new Chapter, to be known as Chapter 112 A, as follows:
3763 A. Sec. 1. That from and after the passage of this Act there shall be, and there hereby is, created for New Castle County, a Court to be known as "The Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County."
3763 B. Sec. 2. This Court shall be composed of, be in charge of and be presided over by one of the Judges of the Superior Court, who shall be assigned from time to time, by the Superior Court, to hold said Court.
3763 C. Sec. 3. The said Common Pleas Court shall hold its first term of Court on the first Monday in May, A. D. 1917, and it shall thereafter hold open Court continuously throughout the year, excepting the months of July and August, and it may hold Court during those months if it deem proper so to do. The said Judge need not hold Court on Saturday.
The said Court shall so regulate its sessions of Court during the regular terms of the Superior Court and the Court of General Sessions for New Castle County, in the service of writs and otherwise, as not to inconvenience or interfere with the business of said Courts.
3763 D. Sec. 4. The said Court shall sit and hold Court in the City of Wilmington, in a room in the County Building for New Castle County and The Municipal Building for the City of Wilmington, to be selected and set apart for it by the Public Building Commission for the City of Wilmington and for New Castle County, and when the State Courts are not in session, it may hold Court in the rooms set apart for said State Courts.
3763 E. Sec. 5. The said Court shall have concurrent jurisdiction in New Castle County with the Superior Court in all civil actions at law arising ex contractu, where the value of the matter or thing in controversy, exclusive of interest, shall be between the sums of Two Hundred and Five Hundred Dollars, and in all actions ex delicto where the value of the matter or thing in controversy, exclusive of interest, shall not exceed the sum of Five Hundred Dollars.
The amount claimed by the plaintiff where the said claim is for a sum certain and not in excess of Five Hundred Dollars, exclusive of interest, shall be conclusive as to the jurisdiction of the said Court. In all actions at law whether ex contractu or ex delicto, not involving any sum certain, the plaintiff shall file with his statement of the case, a certificate as to the amount of damages claimed or the value of the thing or matter in controversy, which statement shall be conclusive as to the jurisdiction of the said Court. The said Court shall also have concurrent jurisdiction in actions of forcible entry, detainer and holding over of tenants, and in cases where children or grandchildren neglect or refuse to support their parents or grandparents and vice versa.
The said Court shall also have the same authority at all times to receive pleas of guilty from persons charged with crimes and misdemeanors, as is now exercised by the Court of General Sessions, and thereupon to impose sentence or parole, according to law, as fully as is now done by the Court of General Sessions.
And finally said Court shall have jurisdiction, power and authority to receive, hear, try and dispose of all such arguments, cases, matters and business as, by certificates of the Judges of the Superior Court or Court of General Sessions, may be assigned or transferred to it by the Superior Court or the Court of General. Sessions of New Castle County, pursuant to the Rules of said Courts made for that purpose, provided the same come within the jurisdiction of the said Court of Common Please, and also in cases *there [*where] the parties in interest are entitled to a jury trial, provided they, in writing, filed with said Superior Court, waive said jury trial.
3763 F. Sec. 6. The writs, rules and processes of said Court shall be served and executed by the Sheriff of New Castle County and his Deputies, and also by police officers of the City of Wilmington, provided, however, when the Superior Court or the Court of General Sessions are in Session, the right of said Court of Common Pleas to use the said County Officers shall always be subservient to the said Superior Court or the Court of General Sessions, and said officers shall not be used to the inconvenience or delay of said Courts in any way.
3763 G. Sec. 7. All cases tried before said Court shall be without a Jury or referees, provided, however, any party in interest may have a trial by Jury or referees to be chosen by the Judge of said Court, if the party desiring the same give security to pay for the expense incurred thereby. The Jury or referees shall be of such number, not exceeding five, as the party in interest asking for the same, shall request, and the verdict or finding of the majority of the Jury or referees shall be decisive.
3763 H. Sec. 8. From any order, ruling, decision or judgment of said Court, the aggrieved party shall have the rights of appeal or certiorari, to the Superior Court of New Castle County, in the same manner as is now provided by law as to causes tried before Justices of the Peace.
Any remedy by appeal, certiorari, writ of error or otherwise, from the judgment of said Superior Court, shall be as now provided by law, and as though said cause had originated in said Superior Court.
3763 I. Sec. 9. All civil actions in said Court shall be begun by filing a statement of the plaintiff's claim without the issuance of any formal writ. The said statements shall consist of a concise recital of the facts which the plaintiff claims gives rise to his cause of action, divided into paragraphs, consecutively numbered, as is now the practice in Bills filed in the Court of Chancery. Only one averment of fact as far as possible, shall be included in one paragraph. Where the Plaintiff's claim is based upon a written contract or other writing, a copy thereof shall be annexed to the statement of claim or reason given for the failure so to do. This statement may be filed by the plaintiff or his counsel. All statements shall be verified by the affidavit of the plaintiff or some responsible person for him, excepting counsel, and shall be signed by the plaintiff or his counsel, and shall be filed in duplicate.
The Clerk of said Court shall thereupon issue a summons under the seal of the Court, requiring defendant to appear and file an answer to the plaintiff's claim within ten days after service of the statement upon him. In default of the filing of an answer within ten days the plaintiff may take judgment against the defendant as of course. In order to prevent judgment as aforesaid, the defendant must file within ten days of the service of the summons and statement upon him as aforesaid, an answer which shall consist of a series of numbered paragraphs corresponding to the paragraphs in the plaintiff's statement of his claim and shall contain an admission or denial of each fact averred, provided that if the defendant alleges himself to be ignorant as to the facts averred in any paragraph, he may so state and place the plaintiff upon proof of the same as if they had been denied. All facts which the defendant does not deny or aver himself to be ignorant of and demand proof as aforesaid, shall be deemed to be admitted. The answer may be filed by the defendant or his counsel. All answers shall be verified by the affidavit of the defendant or some responsible person for him, excepting counsel, and shall be signed by the defendant or his counsel. If the defendant has filed an answer, the case shall be at issue without any formal pleas unless he sets up new matter in separate numbered paragraphs in addition to those answering plaintiff's averments ; in which cases plaintiff may, within five days, reply to the same in the same manner and all new matter so averred and not denied by plaintiff, or of which he does not declare himself to be ignorant and demands proof, shall be deemed to be admitted. The case shall then be at issue. Plaintiff may move for judgment for want of a sufficient answer for all or a portion of the claim.
When a case is at issue it shall be the duty of the Judge of the said Court to arrange the trial thereof as promptly as possible, and notify counsel with as little delay as possible.
3763 J. Sec. 10. The said Judge of said Court shall have full power to adopt a seal, make and publish general rules regulating the practice and procedure therein and the keeping of its records, including a schedule of costs and fees, and providing for such deposits as may be deemed necessary, and subject to the provisions of this Act, shall have all the powers of a Court of Record possessed by the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.
3763 K. Sec. 11. All civil judgments rendered by the said Court shall be entered by the Clerk thereof in a judgment docket, which shall be properly indexed. Said judgment shall not be a lien upon the real estate, but a transcript thereof may be filed in the Office of the Superior Court, in and for New Castle County, in the same manner now prescribed by law for filing transcripts of judgments rendered by Justices of the Peace. Writs of execution for the seizure and sale of personal property based upon judgments obtained in said Court shall issue in the same manner as is now provided by law for writs issuing out of the Prothonotary's Office in New Castle County for the seizure and sale of personal property, provided, however, that said Court, if it deem it advisable so to do, may, by rule of Court made for that purpose, change said method of procedure.
3763 L. Sec. 12. The fees, costs or other sums of money received by any Clerk, Sheriff or other officer or employee of said Court, shall be paid into the Treasury of New Castle County, excepting payments received towards the satisfaction of any judgment of said Court, or in pursuance to any rule of said Court, which sums so received shall be held by said Clerk, officer of employee of said Court, subject to the order of the Judge of said Court.
3763 M. Sec. 13. The Superior Court shall appoint a Clerk for said Court of Common Pleas, who shall hold office during the pleasure of said Superior Court. The Clerk shall perform duties similar to those performed by the Prothonotary of the Superior Court, and such other duties as may be incident to said office, and as the Judge of said Court may direct him to perform. The said Clerk shall receive a yearly salary of Fifteen Hundred Dollars, to be paid by the Levy Court of New Castle County, as other County officials are paid.
The Clerk of the Peace for New Castle County shall act as Clerk of said Court of Common Pleas in the discharge of its criminal duties.
3763 N. Sec. 14. There shall be a Crier for said Court appointed by the Judge thereof, who shall receive a yearly salary of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) payable by the Levy Court of New Castle County as other county officials are paid.
3763 0. Sec. 15. The salary of the Judge holding said Court shall be Ten Dollars per diem for such time as he may, during the respective months of the year, hold said Court, the same to be paid by the Levy Court of New Castle County, as other County officials are paid, upon Certificate of Attendance presented to said Levy Court by the Superior Court of New Castle County.
3763 P. Sec. 16. The invalidity of any Section or part thereof of this Act shall not affect the validity of any other Section or part thereof, which can be given effect without such invalid part.
Approved April 24, A. D. 1917.