Delaware Trial Handbook § 10:8. CONTINUITY

There is a presumption that something of a continuous nature which is proven to have been in existence at a particular time continues to exist at a subsequent time and that the burden is on the party seeking to prove its termination to establish that fact.79 For example, a domicile once acquired is presumed to continue.80 A relationship that is meretricious at its inception is presumed to continue to be meretricious.81 When a person is shown to be alive at a given date, the continuance of that person’s life will be inferred, at least for a time.82 Possession of land is presumed to continue.83

In employment law, there is a presumption against a promise of a permanent position.83.1 Further, Delaware law creates a heavy presumption that a contract for employment, unless otherwise expressly stated, is at-will in nature with duration indefinite.83.2

79. Klein v. State, 127 A.2d 84, 86 (Del. 1956).

80. Mitchell v. Delaware State Tax Comm’r, 42 A.2d 19, 22 (Del. Super. 1945). Cf. Allder v. Hudson, 106 A.2d 769, 770 (Del. Super. 1954), overruled on other grounds by Whetsel v. Gosnell, 181 A.2d 91 (Del. 1962).

81. Williamson v. Williamson, 104 A.2d 463, 464 (Del. Super. 1954).

82. Evans’ Lessee v Short, 1 Del.Cases 435, 436 (Del. Comm. Pls. 1797).

83. Bradford v. Cuibreth, 10 A.2d 534, 542-47 (Del. Super. 1939), aff’d, 18 A.2d 143 (Del. 1942) (noting that this rule is an “inference of fact, as distinguished from a presumption of law”).

83.1. Carlson v. Hallinan,  925 A.2d 506, 527 (Del. 2006).

83.2. Bailey v. City of Wilmington, 766 A.2d 477, 480 (Del. 2001).

© 2010  David L. Finger