Sweet ending for Acme in apple juice suit

John O'Brien Apr. 24, 2008, 12:25pm


DOVER, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court recently told those with do-it-yourself lawsuits that they better do them right.

The Court on Wednesday affirmed the dismissal of Rudolph Bailey's suit against Acme Supermarkets that alleged he drank contaminated apple juice from an Acme store. Filed by Bailey himself, the case was thrown out because of procedural problems.

Bailey could not locate a sample of the apple juice for an expert to test, a must for his type of case. He blamed the Superior Court for not considering several discovery requests pertaining to obtaining a sample.

"Although we question whether Bailey's discovery requests were appropriately allowed by the Superior Court, it nevertheless was Bailey's responsibility, as the plaintiff, to arrange for whatever testing was required as the basis for his expert opinion on causation," wrote Justice Jack Jacobs.

"He did not do so. Moreover, Bailey may not use his inability to obtain the test results from Acme as an excuse for failing to arrange for his own testing and for failing to submit his expert opinion by the Superior Court's deadline."

Bailey's suit was filed in 2004. In his appeal, he also claimed the Superior Court tampered with the record and fabricated false and misleading evidence against him.

Jacobs and justices Henry duPont Ridgely and Carolyn Berger did not think much of that claim.

"There is absolutely no basis in the record for Bailey's first claim, which we attribute to his frustration with the discovery process," Jacobs said.

According to a recent poll of corporate lawyers, the State of Delaware has the best legal climate in the nation.

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