TITLE 10

Courts and Judicial Procedure

Limitation of Actions

CHAPTER 81. PERSONAL ACTIONS


No action shall be brought upon the official recognizance of any sheriff, or upon any administration bond, or upon any testamentary bond, against either the principal or sureties, after the expiration of 6 years from the date of such recognizance or bond. The bond of any executor or administrator cum testamento annexo, who, during his or her life, is entitled under the will of any deceased testator to the personal estate of such deceased testator, shall continue in force for the period of 3 years after the death of such executor or administrator.

Code 1852, § 2737; 20 Del. Laws, c. 583, § 4; Code 1915, § 4666; Code 1935, § 5124; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8101; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

No action shall be brought upon any guardian bond, against either the principal or sureties, after the expiration of 3 years from the determination or ceasing of the guardianship.

Code 1852, § 2738; Code 1915, § 4667; Code 1935, § 5125; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8102.;

No action shall be brought upon any recognizance taken in the Chancery Court, with condition for the payment of the appraised value or purchase money of lands or tenements, against any surety in such recognizance, or the heirs, terre-tenants, executors, or administrators, of such surety, after the expiration of 3 years from the time when the value, or money, mentioned in the condition, or the last installment thereof (when it is payable by installments), is due.

Code 1852, § 2739; Code 1915, § 4668; Code 1935, § 5126; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8103.;

No action shall be brought upon the official obligation of any State Treasurer, Secretary of State, county treasurer, register of wills, recorder of deeds, Prothonotary, Clerk of the Peace, Register in Chancery, collector, or constable, against either the principal or sureties, after the expiration of 3 years from the accruing of the cause of such action.

Code 1852, § 2740; 19 Del. Laws, c. 265; Code 1915, § 4669; Code 1935, § 5127; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8104.;

No action shall be brought upon the official obligation of an escheator, against either the principal or sureties, after 7 years from the expiration of the escheator's term of office.

Code 1852, § 2741; Code 1915, § 4670; Code 1935, § 5128; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8105; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No action to recover damages for trespass, no action to regain possession of personal chattels, no action to recover damages for the detention of personal chattels, no action to recover a debt not evidenced by a record or by an instrument under seal, no action based on a detailed statement of the mutual demands in the nature of debit and credit between parties arising out of contractual or fiduciary relations, no action based on a promise, no action based on a statute, and no action to recover damages caused by an injury unaccompanied with force or resulting indirectly from the act of the defendant shall be brought after the expiration of 3 years from the accruing of the cause of such action; subject, however, to the provisions of §§ 8108-8110, 8119 and 8127 of this title.

(b) Contractual limitations. — Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a property insurance contract subject to subchapter III of Chapter 41 of Title 18:

(1) May not require that an action for a claim made under the contract be filed less than 1 year from the date of the denial of the claim by the insurer; and

(2) May permit an action for a claim made under the contract to be filed more than 1 year from the date of the denial of the claim by the insurer.

Code 1852, § 2742; Code 1915, § 4671; Code 1935, § 5129; 46 Del. Laws, c. 115, § 1; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8106; 57 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 223, § 2.;

No action to recover damages for wrongful death or for injury to personal property shall be brought after the expiration of 2 years from the accruing of the cause of such action.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 8106A; 52 Del. Laws, c. 339, § 1.;

In the case of a mutual and running account between parties, the limitation, specified in § 8106 of this title, shall not begin to run while such account continues open and current.

Code 1852, § 2743; Code 1915, § 4672; Code 1935, § 5130; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8107.;

When a cause of action arises from a promissory note, bill of exchange, or an acknowledgment under the hand of the party of a subsisting demand, the action may be commenced at any time within 6 years from the accruing of such cause of action.

Code 1852, § 2744; Code 1915, § 4673; Code 1935, § 5131; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8108.;

When, after a recovery in ejectment, an action is brought for mesne profits, if such action is commenced within 6 months after the ejectment, or, if there is an appeal or a writ of error, within 6 months after the affirmance of the judgment, or other determination of the proceeding in error, the action shall, so far as to avoid the intermediate operation of § 8106 of this title, be deemed a continuation of the proceeding in ejectment. The plaintiff shall not be debarred from recovering mesne profits for 3 years next preceding the commencement of the ejectment.

Code 1852, § 2745; Code 1915, § 4674; Code 1935, § 5132; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8109.;

No action for recovery upon a claim for wages, salary, or overtime for work, labor or personal services performed, or for damages (actual, compensatory or punitive, liquidated or otherwise), or for interest or penalties resulting from the failure to pay any such claim, or for any other benefits arising from such work, labor or personal services performed or in connection with any such action, shall be brought after the expiration of 1 year from the accruing of the cause of action on which such action is based.

20 Del. Laws, c. 594; Code 1915, § 4675; Code 1935, § 5133; 46 Del. Laws, c. 114; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8110.;

No action to recover damages for waste shall be brought after the expiration of 3 years from the committing of the waste.

Code 1852, § 2746; Code 1915, § 4676; Code 1935, § 5134; 46 Del. Laws, c. 115, § 2; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8111.;

In all actions or claims against an executor or administrator of a decedent's estate, if the time within which the action could have been brought had not expired in the lifetime of the decedent, then the period of limitations provided for in this chapter shall be extended for a period of 6 months from the date of the decedent's death. If the claim was filed within the proper time with the executor or administrator the defense of the statute of limitations shall not avail to such executor or administrator if he or she subsequently rejects the claim and action is commenced thereon within 3 months after the executor or administrator has notified the claimant of such rejection as provided by § 2102 of Title 12.

Code 1935, § 5143-A; 45 Del. Laws, c. 256; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8112; 66 Del. Laws, c. 374, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

No action shall be brought upon any bond given to the president, directors and company of any bank, or to any corporation, by any officer of such bank or corporation, with condition for the officer's good behavior, or for the faithful discharge of the duties of the officer's station, or touching the execution of the officer's office, against either the principal or sureties, after the expiration of 2 years from the accruing of the cause of such action. No action shall be brought, and no proceedings shall be had upon any such bond, or upon any judgment thereon, against either the principal or sureties, for any cause of action accruing after the expiration of 6 years from the date of such bond.

Code 1852, §§ 2747, 2748; Code 1915, § 4677; Code 1935, § 5135; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8113; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

No civil action for a forfeiture upon a penal statute, whether at the suit of the party aggrieved, or of a common informer, or of the State, or otherwise, shall be brought after the expiration of 1 year from the accruing of the cause of such action.

Code 1852, § 2749; Code 1915, § 4678; Code 1935, § 5136; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8114.;

If a person entitled to any action comprehended within §§ 8101-8115 of this title, shall have been, at the time of the accruing of the cause of such action, under disability of infancy or incompetency of mind, this chapter shall not be a bar to such action during the continuance of such disability, nor until the expiration of 3 years from the removal thereof.

Code 1852, § 2750; Code 1915, § 4679; Code 1935, § 5137; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8115.;

If at the time when a cause of action accrues against any person, such person is out of the State, the action may be commenced, within the time limited therefor in this chapter, after such person comes into the State in such manner that by reasonable diligence, such person may be served with process. If, after a cause of action shall have accrued against any person, such person departs from and resides or remains out of the State, the time of such person's absence until such person shall have returned into the State in the manner provided in this section, shall not be taken as any part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.

Code 1852, § 2751; 20 Del. Laws, c. 594; 25 Del. Laws, c. 234; Code 1915, § 4680; Code 1935, § 5138; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8116; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) If in any action duly commenced within the time limited therefor in this chapter, the writ fails of a sufficient service or return by any unavoidable accident, or by any default or neglect of the officer to whom it is committed; or if the writ is abated, or the action otherwise avoided or defeated by the death of any party thereto, or for any matter of form; or if after a verdict for the plaintiff, the judgment shall not be given for the plaintiff because of some error appearing on the face of the record which vitiates the proceedings; or if a judgment for the plaintiff is reversed on appeal or a writ of error; a new action may be commenced, for the same cause of action, at any time within 1 year after the abatement or other determination of the original action, or after the reversal of the judgment therein.

(b) If in the original action, the benefit of this chapter is pleaded, and a verdict upon such defense is found for the plaintiff, such verdict shall be conclusive evidence that the original action was commenced within the time limited therefor.

Code 1852, §§ 2752, 2753; Code 1915, § 4681; Code 1935, § 5139; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8117.;

No action for the recovery of damages upon a claim for alleged personal injuries shall be brought after the expiration of 2 years from the date upon which it is claimed that such alleged injuries were sustained; subject, however, to the provisions of § 8127 of this title.

20 Del. Laws, c. 594, § 1; Code 1915, § 4675; Code 1935, § 5133; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8118; 52 Del. Laws, c. 339, § 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 3.;

This chapter shall apply to any debt alleged by way of setoff or counterclaim on the part of a defendant. The time of limitation of such debt shall be computed in like manner as if an action therefor had been commenced at the time when the plaintiff's action commenced.

Code 1852, § 2754; Code 1915, § 4682; Code 1935, § 5140; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8119.;

Where a cause of action arises outside of this State, an action cannot be brought in a court of this State to enforce such cause of action after the expiration of whichever is shorter, the time limited by the law of this State, or the time limited by the law of the state or country where the cause of action arose, for bringing an action upon such cause of action. Where the cause of action originally accrued in favor of a person who at the time of such accrual was a resident of this State, the time limited by the law of this State shall apply.

46 Del. Laws, c. 254, § 1; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8120.;

The return of commissions to mark and bound lands, if no action is brought to controvert the same within 7 years, shall be conclusive evidence of the original location of such land, and of the lines and boundaries thereof, saving to infants, persons insane, imprisoned or beyond sea, and those claiming under them, the right to bring such action within 5 years from the removal of such disability. The term of 7 years shall not begin to run against any person while such person is in possession of the land in controversy.

Code 1852, § 996; Code 1915, § 4683; Code 1935, § 5141; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8121; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

No writs shall be issued, by a justice of the peace or the Court of Common Pleas, upon a complaint of forcible entry, after 1 year from the time of such entry; or upon a complaint of forcible detainer merely, after the tenant has been in continued possession of the premises for 2 years. These limitations need not be pleaded, but they shall defeat any such suit whenever it appears that they apply to it.

Code 1852, § 2208; Code 1915, § 4685; Code 1935, § 5143; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8122.;

No action, suit or proceeding shall be brought or maintained against the Mayor and Council of Wilmington for damages on account of physical injuries, death or injury to property by reason of the negligence of the Mayor and Council of Wilmington or any of its departments, officers, agents or employees thereof, unless the person by or on behalf of whom such claim or demand is asserted shall, within 1 year from the happening of such injury, notify the Mayor in writing of the time, place, cause and character of the injuries sustained.

34 Del. Laws, c. 119; Code 1935, § 2470; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8123; 53 Del. Laws, c. 164.;

Actions for anything done in pursuance of Chapter 83 of Title 9, relating to valuation and assessment of property, shall be brought within 6 months. If judgment is given for defendant, defendant shall recover treble costs.

Code 1852, § 175; Code 1915, § 1136; Code 1935, §§ 1282, 1313, 1335; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 8124; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No action, suit or proceeding in any court, whether in law or equity or otherwise, in which the legality of any ordinance, code, regulation or map, relating to zoning, or any amendment thereto, or any regulation or ordinance relating to subdivision and land development, or any amendment thereto, enacted by the governing body of a county or municipality, is challenged, whether by direct or collateral attack or otherwise, shall be brought after the expiration of 60 days from the date of publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality in which such adoption occurred, of notice of the adoption of such ordinance, code, regulation, map or amendment.

(b) No action, suit or proceeding in any court, whether in law or equity or otherwise, in which the legality of any action of the appropriate county or municipal body finally granting or denying approval of a final or record plan submitted under the subdivision and land development regulations of such county or municipality is challenged, whether directly or by collateral attack or otherwise, shall be brought after the expiration of 60 days from the date of publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality in which such action occurred, of notice of such final approval or denial of such final or record plan.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 8125; 56 Del. Laws, c. 467.;

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Action" shall include actions at law or in equity, or otherwise, instituted and/or prosecuted by or on behalf of this State, any of its agencies, commissions, departments or political subdivisions, and by or on behalf of any other governmental subdivision, agency, department or body, as well as by or on behalf of private individuals, persons, parties, corporations, partnerships, associations and other entities.

(2) "Construction" shall include construction, erection, building, alteration, reconstruction and destruction of improvements to real property.

(3) "Contract" shall mean the prime or general contract between the general contractor, on the one hand, and the owner or agent of the owner of the real property upon which or to which the construction is to be performed or the owner or agent of the owner of the improvement to be constructed, on the other hand.

(4) "Deficiency" shall include acts and actions performed and failures to act and omissions.

(5) "Improvement" shall include buildings, highways, roads, streets, bridges, entrances and walkways of any type constructed thereon, and other structures affixed to and on land, as well as the land itself, except that such term shall not include buildings, entrances, walkways and structures used or intended to be used at the time of such construction primarily for residential purposes and uses.

(6) "Person" shall include individuals, corporations, partnerships, firms, individual proprietorships and associations of persons.

(b) No action, whether in or based upon a contract (oral or written, sealed or unsealed), in tort, or otherwise, to recover damages or for indemnification or contribution for damages, resulting:

(1) From any alleged deficiency in the construction or manner of construction of an improvement to real property and/or in the designing, planning, supervision and/or observation of any such construction or manner of construction; or

(2) From any alleged injury to property, real, personal or mixed, arising out of any such alleged deficiency; or

(3) From any alleged personal injuries arising out of any such alleged deficiency; or

(4) From any alleged wrongful death arising out of any such alleged deficiency; or

(5) From any alleged trespass arising out of any such alleged deficiency; or

(6) From any alleged injury unaccompanied with force or resulting indirectly from any such alleged deficiency;

shall be brought against any person performing or furnishing, or causing the performance or furnishing of, any such construction of such an improvement or against any person performing or furnishing, or causing the performing or furnishing of, any such designing, planning, supervision, and/or observation of any such construction or manner of construction of such an improvement, after the expiration of 6 years from whichever of the following dates shall be earliest:

a. The date of purported completion of all the work called for by the contract as provided by the contract if such date has been agreed to in the contract itself;

b. The date when the statute of limitations commences to run in relation to the particular phase or segment of work performed pursuant to the contract in which the alleged deficiency occurred, where such date for such phase or segment of work has been specifically provided for in the contract itself;

c. The date when the statute of limitations commences to run in relation to the contract itself where such date has been specifically provided for in the contract itself;

d. The date when payment in full has been received by the person against whom the action is brought for the particular phase of such construction or for the particular phase of such designing, planning, supervision, and/or observation of such construction or manner of such construction, as the case may be, in which such alleged deficiency occurred;

e. The date the person against whom the action is brought has received final payment in full, under the contract for the construction or for the designing, planning, supervision, and/or observation of construction, as the case may be, called for by contract;

f. The date when the construction of such an improvement as called for by the contract has been substantially completed;

g. The date when an improvement has been accepted, as provided in the contract, by the owner or occupant thereof following the commencement of such construction;

h. For alleged personal injuries also, the date upon which it is claimed that such alleged injuries were sustained; or after the period of limitations provided in the contract, if the contract provides such a period and if such period expires prior to the expiration of 2 years from whichever of the foregoing dates is earliest.

(c) Nothing in this section shall extend or lengthen, nor shall anything in this section be construed or interpreted as extending or lengthening, the period otherwise prescribed by the laws of this State for the bringing of any action covered by this section.

(d) The limitations prescribed by this section shall not be available by way of a defense to any person in actual possession or actual control, as owner, tenant or otherwise, of such an improvement at the time when the alleged deficiency in such an improvement constitutes the proximate cause of the injury or death for which it is proposed to bring an action.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 8126; 57 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1.;

No action for the recovery of damages upon a claim based upon alleged health care malpractice, whether in the nature of a tort action or breach of contract action, shall be brought after the expiration of the time period for bringing such action set forth in § 6856 of Title 18.

60 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 3.;

No action shall be brought by the State for the collection of inheritance taxes and estate taxes upon the estate of any decedent after the expiration of 20 years from the decedent's date of death.

61 Del. Laws, c. 439, § 1.;

(a) Any person, business or institution who makes a good faith donation of prepared or left-over perishable food which appears to be fit for human consumption at the time it is donated to a charitable organization serving free meals to the needy public shall not be liable for damages in any civil action or subject to criminal prosecution for any illness, injury or death due to the condition of such food.

(b) A charitable organization which receives, prepares and serves to the needy public free food which appears to be fit for human consumption at the time it is served shall not be liable for damages in any civil action or subject to criminal prosecution for any illness, injury or death due to the condition of such food unless the condition is a direct result of the gross negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct of employees of the organization.

63 Del. Laws, c. 216, § 1.;

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the time limitation for an action to recover damages for wrongful death or for personal injuries suffered by a member or former member of the armed forces of the United States, who served as a member of the armed forces of the United States in Indochina between January 1, 1962, and May 7, 1975, inclusive, due to exposure to phenoxy herbicides, including but not limited to exposure to substances known as Agent Orange, Agent Blue, Agent White and chemical components known as 2, 4-D; 2, 4, 5-T; TCDD; Picloran and cacodylic acid, shall not expire until 2 years has elapsed from the date that said person has been told by a licensed physician (whether in Delaware or otherwise) that the injuries or death may be related, in whole or in part, to exposure to phenoxy herbicides.

(b) If the foregoing 2-year period has expired as of May 10, 1983, then said person shall have from 6 months from May 10, 1983, to file an action to recover damages for phenoxy herbicide exposure in Indochina.

64 Del. Laws, c. 25, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence which results in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been contributorily negligent shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff or the plaintiff's legal representative where such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of all defendants against whom recovery is sought, but any damages awarded shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.

64 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed herein:

(1) "Activity" is any decision, act or event undertaken by an organization in furtherance of the purpose or purposes for which such organization was organized and exempted from federal income tax, and in the case of a governmental entity described in paragraph (a)(4)b. of this section, in furtherance of the exercise of any governmental function. By way of example, and not limitation, the planning for, sponsorship and conduct of a fundraising event for the benefit of 1 or more organizations is an "activity."

(2) "Compensation" is any remuneration, whether by way of salary, fee or otherwise, for services rendered, exclusive of any gift perquisite in the form of access to services of the organization at no or a reduced cost or reimbursement for costs actually incurred. Compensation shall not include any remuneration which an ex officio trustee receives by way of salary for a position which requires among other duties serving as an ex officio trustee.

(3) "Employee" is any person who receives compensation from an organization or a third party for services rendered in connection with an activity of such organization.

(4) "Organization" shall include:

a. Any not-for-profit organization exempt from federal income tax under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)), as amended, or other act of Congress, and engaged in any activity within the State in furtherance of a purpose for which it was organized; and

b. Any governmental entity, including the United States, the State and any board, commission, division, office, task force or other agency of the State or the United States, exempt from federal income tax under § 115 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 115), as amended, or other acts of Congress, and engaged in any activity within the State in furtherance of the exercise of any governmental function.

(5) "Volunteer" is any trustee, ex officio trustee, director, officer, agent or worker who is engaged in an activity without compensation.

(b) No volunteer of an organization shall be subject to suit directly, derivatively or by way of contribution for any civil damages under the laws of Delaware resulting from any negligent act or omission performed during or in connection with an activity of such organization.

(c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, a plaintiff may sue and recover civil damages from a volunteer based upon a negligent act or omission involving the operation of a motor vehicle during an activity; provided, that the amount recovered from such volunteer shall not exceed the limits of applicable insurance coverage maintained by or on behalf of such volunteer with respect to the negligent operation of a motor vehicle in such circumstances.

(d) The immunity granted in subsection (b) of this section shall not extend to any act or omission constituting wilful and wanton or grossly negligent conduct.

(e) In any suit against an organization for civil damages based upon the negligent act or omission of a volunteer, proof of such act or omission shall be sufficient to establish the liability of the organization therefor under the doctrine of respondeat superior, notwithstanding the immunity granted to the volunteer with respect to such negligent act or omission under subsection (b) of this section.

65 Del. Laws, c. 510, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 170, §§ 1, 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 196, §§ 1, 2.;

(a) The provisions of any law, rule or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding, the liability of any person rendering care, assistance or advice to prevent, minimize or mitigate oil or hazardous material discharge for any removal costs and damage caused by, or related to, such care, assistance or advice shall be limited to acts or omissions of such person which can be shown to have been the result of gross negligence, or reckless, wilful, wanton and/or intentional acts of misconduct on the part of such person.

(b) The limit of liability as set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the actions of any person responsible for the initial discharge.

(c) Any person responsible for the initial discharge is liable for any removal costs and damages that another person is relieved of under subsection (a) of this section.

(d) This section shall not be construed to limit any liability of any person for personal injuries or wrongful death as a result of the acts or omissions of such person.

68 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 1.;

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed herein:

(1) "Activity" is any decision, act or event relating to medical or dental treatment of a person undertaken by the medical or dental clinic in furtherance of the person's medical or dental treatment.

(2) "Compensation" is any remuneration, whether by way of salary, fee or otherwise, for services rendered, exclusive of any gift perquisite in form of access to services of the medical or dental clinic at no or a reduced cost or reimbursement for costs actually incurred or the providing of lunch or other meals.

(3) "Employee" is any person who receives compensation from the medical or dental clinic for services rendered in connection with an activity of the medical or dental clinic.

(4) "Medical or dental clinic" is any facility other than a hospital or doctor's or dentist's office which offers medical or dental services, which is run by a nonprofit entity under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code [26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)], and which is staffed entirely or in part by licensed physicians or nurses or licensed dentists or dental hygienists who serve without compensation.

(5) "Volunteer" is any licensed physician or nurse or licensed dentist or dental hygienist engaged in an activity for a medical or dental clinic without compensation.

(b) No volunteer or the medical or dental clinic with which the volunteer is affiliated shall be subject to suit directly, derivatively or by way of contribution or indemnification for any civil damages under the laws of Delaware resulting from any negligent act or omission performed during or in connection with an activity of the volunteer while serving the medical or dental clinic, unless said volunteer has insurance coverage for such acts or omissions in which case the amount recovered shall not exceed the limits of such applicable insurance coverage.

(c) Notwithstanding those provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a plaintiff may sue and recover civil damages from a volunteer based upon a negligent act or omission involving the operation of a motor vehicle during an activity; provided, that the amount recovered from such volunteer shall not exceed the limits of applicable insurance coverage maintained by or on behalf of such volunteer with respect to the negligent operation of a motor vehicle in such circumstances.

(d) The immunity granted in subsection (b) of this section shall not extend to any act or omission constituting wilful and wanton or grossly negligent conduct.

67 Del. Laws, c. 211, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 395, §§ 1-4.;

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed herein:

(1) An "action involving public petition and participation" is an action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim for damages that is brought by a public applicant or permittee, and is materially related to any efforts of the defendant to report on, rule on, challenge or oppose such application or permission.

(2) "Communication" shall mean any statement, claim or allegation in a proceeding, decision, protest, writing, argument, contention or other expression.

(3) "Government body" shall mean the State and any county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision of the State; any public improvement or special district, public authority, commission, agency or public benefit corporation; any other separate corporate instrumentality or unit of State or local government; or the federal government.

(4) "Public applicant or permittee" shall mean any person who has applied for or obtained a permit, zoning change, lease, license, certificate or other entitlement for use or permission to act from any government body, or any person with an interest, connection or affiliation with such person that is materially related to such application or permission.

(b) In an action involving public petition and participation, damages may only be recovered if the plaintiff, in addition to all other necessary elements, shall have established by clear and convincing evidence that any communication which gives rise to the action was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false, where the truth or falsity of such communication is material to the cause of action at issue.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any constitutional, statutory or common-law protection of defendants to actions involving public petition and participation.

68 Del. Laws, c. 391, § 1.;

(a) A motion to dismiss in which the moving party has demonstrated that the action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim subject to the motion is an action involving public petition and participation as defined in § 8136 of this title shall be granted unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the cause of action has a substantial basis in law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. The court shall grant preference in the hearing of such motion.

(b) A motion for summary judgment in which the moving party has demonstrated that the action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim subject to the action is an action involving public petition and participation as defined in § 8136 of this title shall be granted unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the cause of action has a substantial basis in fact and law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. The court shall grant preference in the hearing of such motion.

68 Del. Laws, c. 391, § 1.;

(a) A defendant in an action involving public petition and participation, as defined in § 8136 of this title, may maintain an action, claim, cross-claim or counter-claim to recover damages, including costs and attorney's fees, from any person who commenced or continued such action; provided that:

(1) Costs, attorney's fees and other compensatory damages may be recovered upon a demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law; and

(2) Punitive damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights.

(b) The right to bring an action under this section can be waived only if it is waived specifically.

(c) Nothing in this section shall affect or preclude the right of any party to any recovery otherwise authorized by law.

68 Del. Laws, c. 391, § 1.;

(a) No civil action for the recovery of damages for a cause of action, as specified in subsection (b) of this section, shall be brought by or on behalf of any person who has:

(1) Been convicted for any felony class A, B, C, D or E except §§ 503, 876, 932 through 936, 1109, 1223, 1352, 1361, 1442, 1448, 1455, 1457 and 1503 of Title 11;

(2) Been convicted of § 629, § 630, § 768, § 769, § 782, § 801, § 824, § 1252, § 1302, or § 1312A of Title 11; or

(3) Not been convicted for any predicate felony listed in paragraph (a)(1) or (2) of this section, but has displayed conduct that but for the person's death or incapacity he or she would have been convicted of such a felony.

(b) "Cause of action," as used in subsection (a) of this section, shall mean any claim for alleged personal injuries where the alleged injury has been sustained by that person while committing, during the course of or in the immediate flight from the crime or alleged crime referenced in subsection (a) of this section, or while that person was attempting to escape or prevent a police officer from effecting an arrest for that crime or alleged crime.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as barring a cause of action against a public entity or a public official for violating the civil rights of such person where those rights are specifically granted or protected by the Constitution or statutes of the United States or the Constitution or statutes of the State of Delaware.

71 Del. Laws, c. 113, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed herein:

(1)a. "Engages in an equine activity" means riding, training, assisting in medical treatment of, driving, or being a passenger upon an equine, whether mounted or unmounted or any person assisting a participant or show management.

b. "Engages in an equine activity" does not include being a spectator at an equine activity, except in cases where the spectator places such spectator's person in an unauthorized area and in immediate proximity to the equine activity;

(2) "Equine" means a horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny;

(3) "Equine activity" means:

a. Equine shows, fairs, competitions, performances or parades that involve any or all breeds of equines and any of the equine disciplines, including, but not limited to, dressage, hunter and jumper horse shows, grand prix jumping, 3-day events, combined training, rodeos, driving, pulling, cutting, polo, steeplechasing, English and western performance riding, endurance trail riding and western games, and hunting;

b. Equine training or teaching activities, or both;

c. Boarding equines;

d. Riding, inspecting or evaluating an equine belonging to another, whether or not the owner has received some monetary consideration or other thing of value for the use of the equine or is permitting a prospective purchaser of the equine to ride, inspect or evaluate the equine;

e. Rides, trips, hunts or other equine activities of any type, however informal or impromptu, that are sponsored by an equine activity sponsor; and

f. Placing or replacing horseshoes on an equine;

(4) "Equine activity sponsor" means an individual, group, club, partnership or corporation, whether or not the sponsor is operating for profit or nonprofit, which sponsors, organizes or provides the facilities for an equine activity, including, but not limited to, pony clubs, 4-H clubs, hunt clubs, riding clubs, school and college-sponsored classes, programs and activities, therapeutic riding programs, and operators, instructors and promoters of equine facilities, including, but not limited to, stables, clubhouses, ponyride strings, fairs and arenas at which the activity is held;

(5) "Equine professional" means a person engaged for compensation:

a. In instructing a participant or renting to a participant an equine for the purpose of riding, driving or being a passenger upon the equine; or

b. In renting equipment or tack to a participant;

(6) "Inherent risks of equine activities" means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of equine activities, including, but not limited to:

a. The propensity of an equine to behave in ways that may result in injury, harm or death to persons on or around them;

b. The unpredictability of an equine's reaction to such things as sounds, sudden movements, and unfamiliar objects, persons or other animals;

c. Certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions;

d. Collisions with other equines or objects; and

e. The potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as failing to maintain control over the animal or not acting within the participant's ability;

(7) "Participant" means any person, whether amateur or professional, who engages in an equine activity, whether or not a fee is paid to participate in the equine activity.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership, shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, no participant or participant's representative shall make any claim against, maintain an action against or recover from an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional or any other person for injury, loss, damage or death of the participant resulting from any of the inherent risks of equine activities.

(c)(1) This section shall not apply to the horse racing industry as regulated in Title 3.

(2) Nothing in subsection (b) of this section shall prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person if the equine activity sponsor, equine professional or person:

a.1. Provided the equipment or tack, and knew or should have known that the equipment or tack was faulty, and such equipment or tack was faulty to the extent that it did cause the injury; or

2. Provided the equine and failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the equine activity and determine the ability of the participant to safely manage the particular equine based on the participant's representations of the participant's ability;

b. Owns, leases, rents or otherwise is in lawful possession and control of the land or facilities upon which the participant sustained injuries because of a dangerous latent condition which was known or should have been known to the equine activity sponsor, equine professional or person and for which warning signs have not been conspicuously posted;

c. Commits an act or omission that constitutes wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, and that act or omission caused the injury; or

d. Intentionally injures the participant.

(3) Nothing in subsection (b) of this section shall prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional under either product liability or trespass claims.

(d)(1) Every equine professional shall post and maintain signs which contain the warning notice specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section. Such signs shall be placed in clearly visible locations on or near stables, corrals or arenas where the equine professional conducts equine activities if such stables, corrals or arenas are owned, managed or controlled by the equine professional. The warning notice specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section shall appear on the sign in red and white, with each letter to be a minimum of 1 inch in height. Every written contract entered into by an equine professional for the providing of professional services, instruction or the rental of equipment or tack or an equine to a participant, whether or not the contract involves equine activities on or off the location or site of the equine professional's business, shall contain in clearly readable print the warning notice specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.

(2) The signs and contracts described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section shall contain the following warning notice:

WARNING

Under Delaware law, an equine professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, pursuant to 10 Delaware Code § 8140.

70 Del. Laws, c. 212, § 1.;

(a) For the purposes of this section, agricultural operations and its appurtenances means an operation for the purpose of:

(1) Cultivation of land;

(2) Production of agricultural crops;

(3) Raising of poultry;

(4) Production of eggs;

(5) Production of milk and milk products, including but not limited to ice cream, cheese and butter;

(6) Production of fruit or other horticultural crops including but not limited to Christmas trees and forestry;

(7) Production of livestock, including pasturage;

(8) Production of bees and their products;

(9) Production and raising of horses of all types and descriptions or other equine activity for the purpose of profit;

(10) The operation of a roadside farmer's stand, or a farmer's cart in which not less than 50% of the products sold at the stand or cart are directly from the agricultural operation;

(11) Grain elevators, bins, feed mills, silos, and seed cleaners; and

(12) Transportation of an agricultural product to or from a market storage area, or to or from any agricultural-related infrastructure as identified in paragraph (a)(11) of this section.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) An agricultural operation that does not conform to federal, state or local health or zoning requirements;

(2) A federal, state or local agency when enforcing air, water quality or other environmental standards under federal, state or local law; or

(3) An agricultural operation that is conducted in a negligent or improper manner.

(c) No agricultural operation or any of its appurtenances shall be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changed conditions in or about the locality thereof after the same has been in operation for more than 1 year if the operation or the change did not constitute a nuisance from the date the agricultural operation began or the date the change in the operation began.

(d) Subsection (c) of this section shall not affect or defeat the right of any person, firm or corporation to recover damages for any injury or damages sustained by them on account of any pollution of, or change in condition of, the waters of any stream or on account of any overflow onto lands of any such person, firm or corporation.

(e) Any and all ordinances of any unit of local government now in effect or hereafter adopted that would make the operation of any such agricultural operation or its appurtenances a nuisance or providing for abatement thereof as a nuisance in the circumstances set forth in this section and shall be null and void; however, this section shall not apply whenever a nuisance results from the failure to conduct the operation in a manner consistent with good agricultural practice as defined in § 1401 of Title 3 or when there has been a significant change in the operation itself.

71 Del. Laws, c. 462, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 376, §§ 2, 3.;

(a) For the purposes of this section, the terms "shooting range" and "hunting operations" and "its appurtenances" mean an operation including any of the following:

(1) Lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use for the shooting of targets for training, education, practice, recreation or competition;

(2) Lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use as a hunting club, hunting preserve, shooting preserve or a restricted experimental, propagating and shooting preserve as provided for in subchapter V of Chapter 5 of Title 7;

(3) Lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use as a kennel, training facility or field trial facility for the breeding, showing, raising and/or training of hunting and sporting dogs; and

(4) Clubs, associations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, corporations and other business and social entities whose activities or holdings include the land and uses described in paragraphs (a)(1)-(3) of this section.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) Shooting ranges or hunting operations which do not conform to federal, state or local health or zoning requirements except as may otherwise be provided elsewhere herein; or

(2) Shooting ranges or hunting operations which are conducted in a negligent or unlawful manner.

(c) No shooting range or hunting operation or any of its appurtenances shall be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changed conditions in or about the locality thereof after the same has been in operation for more than 1 year if the operation or the change did not constitute a nuisance from the date the shooting range or hunting operation began or the date the change in the operation began. Likewise, a shooting range or hunting operation which fully complied with local zoning requirements when operations first began shall not be deemed to be noncompliant based upon zoning requirements which have subsequently changed since the initial commencement of operations.

(d) Subject to the limitations of subsection (c) of this section, any and all state laws and ordinances of any unit of local government now in effect or hereafter adopted that would make the operation of any such shooting range or hunting operation or its appurtenances a nuisance or providing for abatement thereof as a nuisance in the circumstances set forth in this section shall be null and void as applied to shooting ranges and hunting operations and their respective appurtenances; however, this section shall not apply whenever nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of any such shooting range or hunting operation or any of its appurtenances or when there has been a significant and fundamental change in the operation itself.

74 Del. Laws, c. 379, § 1.;

(a)(1) Before a civil action may be commenced, the merchants may send a notice to the defendant's last known address requesting that the defendant or the parent/guardian of a minor if the defendant is a minor make payment of the sums listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section within 20 days of the date of the letter. It is not a condition precedent to maintaining an action under this section that the defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or theft or that a police report has been filed.

(2) No civil action under this section may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise where the merchandise was not recovered in its original condition, plus a penalty in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise or $150, whichever is greater, within 20 days of the date of the initial demand letter. If the merchandise is recovered in merchantable condition, no civil action under this section may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise attempted to be taken or $150, whichever is greater, within 20 days of the date of the initial demand letter. Should the defendant fail to respond in a timely manner as described above, the merchant may request reasonable attorneys' fees in addition to the amounts described above and shall be entitled to recover costs of suit and reasonable attorneys' fees upon filing of an action.

(b) If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 20 days of the date of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of shoplifting or theft.

(c) Parents or legal guardians of an unemancipated minor who triggers the liability portion of this section shall be jointly and severally liable civilly to the merchant. For purposes of this subsection, liability shall not be imposed upon any governmental entity or foster parents assigned responsibility for the minor child pursuant to a court order or action of any governmental agency.

75 Del. Laws, c. 159, § 1.;

(a) A cause of action based upon the sexual abuse of a minor by an adult may be filed in the Superior Court of this State at any time following the commission of the act or acts that constituted the sexual abuse. A civil cause of action for sexual abuse of a minor shall be based upon sexual acts that would constitute a criminal offense under the Delaware Code.

(b) For a period of 2 years following July 9, 2007, victims of child sexual abuse that occurred in this State who have been barred from filing suit against their abusers by virtue of the expiration of the former civil statute of limitations, shall be permitted to file those claims in the Superior Court of this State. If the person committing the act of sexual abuse against a minor was employed by an institution, agency, firm, business, corporation, or other public or private legal entity that owned a duty of care to the victim, or the accused and the minor were engaged in some activity over which the legal entity had some degree of responsibility or control, damages against the legal entity shall be awarded under this subsection only if there is a finding of gross negligence on the part of the legal entity.

(c) A person against whom a suit is filed may recover attorneys' fees where the Court determines that a false accusation was made with no basis in fact and with malicious intent. A verdict in favor of the accused shall not be the sole basis for a determination that an accusation was false. The Court must make an independent finding of an improper motive to award attorneys' fees under this section.

76 Del. Laws, c. 102, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 80, §§ 72, 76; 77 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 1.;