Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Business Law

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The Court of Chancery held that it was without jurisdiction to address Plaintiff's claim seeking equitable relief for alleged common-law slander on the basis that equity will not enjoin a libel. Plaintiff brought this complaint against Defendants, business competitors, alleging tortious interference with prospective business relations and common-law defamation. As to the defamation claim, Plaintiff sought to enjoin future defamatory utterances. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The Court of Chancery granted the motion to dismiss the defamation count, subject to transfer to the superior court, holding that, under this Court's precedent, equity in general will not enjoin future defamation, and no exception to the general rule applies in this case. View "Preston Hollow Capital LLC v. Nuveen LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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In this case disputing who comprised the boards of directors of the nominal defendants the Court of Chancery treated Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings as one for summary judgment and granted Plaintiffs an opportunity to submit an affidavit identifying disputed facts foreclosing summary judgment in Defendants' favor, holding that the consents appointing the directors were not appropriately considered on a motion for judgment on the pleadings. After the National Assembly of Venezuela declared the presidency of Nicolas Maduro illegitimate it appointed Jan Guaido as Interim President. When Guaido assumed office his government appointed a new board of directors to govern Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Guaido's newly appointed directors reconstituted the boards of directors of the nominal defendants - Delaware entities owned by PDVSA. Plaintiffs, who previously served as directors of the nominal defendants, sought a declaration that they comprised the rightful boards of the nominal defendants. The directors appointed by Guaido's PDVSA board counterclaimed. All parties cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings. The Court of Chancery accepted as binding the United States President's recognition of the Guaido government and assumed the validity of the Guaido government's appointments to the PDVSA board but stayed the motions to permit Plaintiffs to submit an affidavit under Ct. Ch. R. 56(e). View "Jimenez v. Palacios" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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The Court of Chancery granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint brought in an effort to collect on an unpaid judgment, holding that one claim must be dismissed as untimely. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. sued Data Treasury Corporation (DTC) and obtained a final judgment against DTC for $69 million. JPMorgan bought this action in an effort to collect on its judgment. DTC moved to dismiss all of JPMorgan's claims on a variety of grounds. JPMorgan claimed that DTC's directors should be liable for dividends DTC paid its stockholders after DTC licensed its patents to someone other than JPMorgan in violation of DTC's obligation to tell JPMorgan under a license agreement. JP Morgan also claimed it was entitled to recover the distributions because they were fraudulent transfers. The Court of Chancery held (1) JPMorgan had standing as a creditor of DTC to assert a claim under Section 174 to recover for itself and other creditors of DTC the dividends DTC paid; (2) the six-year limitations period in 8 Del. C. 174 is a statute of repose. The court thus finds that JPMorgan’s Section 174 claim must be dismissed as untimely; and (3) all of JPMorgan’s fraudulent transfer claims were timely filed. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Ballard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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The Court of Chancery granted in part Defendant's motion to dismiss as to the count alleging a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) but denied Defendant's motion as to the remainder of the non-contractual claims against him, holding that Plaintiff's CFAA claim was legally viable only as to Defendant's post-resignation conduct and that the dismissal of Plaintiffs' other claims was inappropriate. Defendant was the managing partner of Plaintiffs' Paris office and was a party to a limited liability partnership agreement that contained confidentiality obligations. Shortly before his resignation and then shortly after his resignation, Defendant accessed Plaintiffs' business files. Plaintiffs later sued for breach of the confidentiality provisions of the limited liability partnership agreement, asserting violations of the Delaware Uniform Trade Secrets Act (DUTSA), for common law conversion, and for violating CFAA. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. The Court of Chancery granted the motion in part as to the CFAA claims but denied it as to the remaining claims, holding that under the narrow approach set forth in LVRC Holdings LLC v. Brekka, 581 F.3d 1127 (9th Cir. 2009), Defendant's actions while he was employed by Plaintiffs did not support a claim under the CFAA. View "AlixPartners, LLP v. Benichou" on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint to vacate or modify an arbitration award for failure to state a claim, holding that there was no reasonably conceivable evident material miscalculation or evident material mistake in the arbitrator’s report. In 2017, Plaintiff and Company entered into a Securities Purchase Agreement. In 2018, under the dispute resolution provision of the agreement, Plaintiff and the Company engaged in mandatory, binding arbitration regarding the Company’s total accounts receivable reserve (the Total AR Reserve). The arbitrator issued a report determining the Total AR Reserve was $661,165. Plaintiff then filed a complaint to vacate or modify the arbitration award, arguing that the arbitrator made an evident material miscalculation or evident material mistake in his determination of the Total AR Reserve. The Court of Chancery disagreed and granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss. View "CLP Toxicology, Inc. v. Casla Bio Holdings LLC" on Justia Law

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In this dispute regarding the commercialization of a patent covering a method for pooling insurance policies the Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in which they argued that they did not owe any of the contractual or fiduciary obligations that Plaintiff sought to enforce, holding that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiff brought this action asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties related to Defendants’ business development of a patent-holding entity and Defendants’ failure to provide certain information to Plaintiff. The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, thus mooting Plaintiff’s motion to compel and motion for default judgment, holding That Defendants carried their burden to show that Plaintiff could prove no set of facts in support of his claims that would entitle him to relief and that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Ross v. Institutional Longevity Assets LLC" on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to make a pre-suit demand and failure to state a claim for relief Plaintiffs’ second amended complaint asserting a claim for breach of fiduciary duty and seeking the appointment of a receiver, holding that the motion to dismiss was properly granted. Specifically, the Court held (1) Count I of the amended complaint asserting a claim for breach of fiduciary duty must be dismissed based on Plaintiff’s failure to make a pre-suit demand on some of the defendants; and (2) Count II of the amended complaint seeking the appointment of a receiver failed to state a claim for relief. View "Stritzinger v. Barba" on Justia Law

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At issue was the availability of appraisal rights under section 262 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. Section 262 affords stockholders of Delaware corporations a statutory remedy for appraisal of their shares under certain circumstances. The statute provides that appraisal rights shall be available only for the shares of stock of a “constituent corporation” in a merger or consolidation, and the process for determining a stockholder’s entitlement to appraisal contemplates that the stockholder will relinquish its shares in the merger of consolidation. In the instant case, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. and Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. agreed to combine their businesses. Dr Pepper stated that Dr Pepper stockholders would not have appraisal rights under section 262 in connection with the proposed transaction. Two stockholder plaintiffs filed this action challenging that decision. The Court of Chancery held (1) the term “constituent corporation” as used in section 262 means an entity actually being merged or combined and not the parent of such an entity, and therefore, Dr Pepper’s stockholders do not have a statutory right to appraisal under section 262(b) because Dr Pepper is not a constituent corporation; and (2) Dr Pepper stockholders are not entitled to appraisal because they are retaining their shares in connection with the proposed transaction. View "City of North Miami Beach General Employees’ Retirement Plan v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery concluded that Plaintiffs were entitled to specific performance of a call provision of a joint venture agreement, holding that Plaintiffs prevailed on the merits by clear and convincing evidence, and the equities supported relief. Plaintiffs had the right to call partnership interests in a series of joint ventures from Defendants. Plaintiffs called those interest sin 2014. With respect to the majority of the joint ventures, the contractual consideration for the call transactions was required to be units (Mills Units) by a defunct real estate investment trust. Plaintiffs sought to tender their own similar, but not identical, units (Simon Units). The Court of Chancery determined that the applicable joint venture agreements did not provide for such consideration. With respect to one joint venture, however, the Court of Chancery concluded that the Simon Units were valid tender because they were the units of a successor to Mills and they provided substantially the same rights as the Mills Units under the joint venture agreement, and a balancing of the equities favored an order of specific performance. View "Simon-Mills, LLC v. Kan Am USA XVI Ltd. Partnership" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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The Court of Chancery granted Petitioner’s motion for summary judgment for dissolution of Royston, Inc. under 3 Del. C. 273 and appointed a receiver to dissolve the company, holding that the prerequisites for a judicial order of dissolution under section 273 have been met in this case because (1) there were no genuine issues of fact as to Petitioner’s ownership of fifty percent of the company, and (2) there was no evidence that Petitioner filed the petition in bad faith. The Court directed that a receiver be appointed to oversee the dissolution for the company and the wind up of the company’s affairs. View "Feldman v. YIDL Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law