Case Caption: H. Akia Gore, (Appellant/Plaintiff) vs. Elizabeth Tilden, (Appellee/Defendant)Case Number: S.Ct. Civ. No.: 2008-085Date: 08/21/2008Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

H. Akia Gore ("Gore") filed the underlying small claims action for debt against Elizabeth Tilden ("Tilden") alleging that she defaulted on her lease and failed to pay the last month's rent. On June 8, 2007, Tilden filed a counterclaim requesting the return of her security deposit and $6,000 for repeated violations of her right to quiet enjoyment of the premises. Gore failed to appear at the scheduled June 12, 2007, bench trial on the matter. The Superior Court dismissed Gore's complaint for failure to prosecute and entered default judgment on Tilden's counterclaim for the return of the security deposit, but found that Tilden failed to provide a cognizable measure of damages for the alleged violations of her right to quiet enjoyment. Gore subsequently filed a motion to reopen the matter which was denied by the Superior Court. Gore now appeals the underlying judgment arguing that the Superior Court: (1) failed to timely notify him of the scheduled trial date; (2) was biased in denying his request for a continuance but granting Tilden's request; (3) erred by failing to allow a surrogate to present evidence on his behalf; and (4) erred by entering default judgment against him on Tilden's counterclaim for a refund of the security deposit. This Court must determine on appeal whether the trial court abused its discretion by dismissing Gore's complaint, deciding not to grant him a continuance, not allowing a surrogate to represent him at trial, and entering default against him on the counterclaim. For the reasons which follow, we affirm the Superior Court's dismissal of Gore's complaint, but reverse the entry of default judgment on Tilden's counterclaim and remand the matter to the trial court for a new trial on the merits of the counterclaim.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion