Judges & Cases

This Weeks Cases

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Delaware Professional Ins. Group v. Hajjar, DeFAX Case No. D66392 (D. Del. July 11, 2014) Robinson, J. (12 pages).

Delaware district court had personal jurisdiction over suit arising from defendant's role as nonresident director of Delaware corporations, but proper venue was in New Jersey, based on defendant's residence and significant events giving rise to suit that took place in New Jersey.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process , Venue

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Cot'n Wash, Inc. v. Henkel Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66393 (D. Del. July 11, 2014) Robinson, J. (22 pages).

In a dispute over alleged patent infringments, counterclaim for inequitable conduct before USPTO was not futile where party identified alleged factual particulars of material misrepresentation or omission committed before PTO. Defendants' motion for leave to file a second amended answer, affirmative defenses, and counterclaims denied; defendant's motion to amend answer, affirmative defenses, and counterclaims with respect to the false marking counterclaim denied; defendant's motion to amend with respect to inequitable conduct counterclaim granted.

Practice Areas: Intellectual Property , Patents , Infringement (Patents) , Civil Procedure , Discovery , Torts , Intentional Torts , Fraud (Torts)

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Opengate Capital Group LLC v. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66387 (D. Del. July 8, 2014) Sleet, J. (33 pages).

Court found purchaser of business adequately pleaded violations of federal securities and common law fraud and concealment where seller misrepresented the financial health and the security status of the business's manufacturing facility in Reynosa, Mexico.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Securities Fraud , Torts , Intentional Torts , Fraud (Torts) , Contracts , Fraud (Contracts)

Delaware Supreme Court

Permenter v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66389 (Del. July 16, 2014) Strine, C.J. (4 pages).

Appellants' pro se brief on appeal of Superior Court's denial of motions to reopen mortgage foreclosure action and stay execution of writ of possession offered no discernible argument in support of contention lower court committed error. Judgment of Superior Court affirmed.

Practice Areas: Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Banking and Financial Institutions , Civil Procedure , Motion Practice

Delaware Court of Chancery

Branin v. Stein Roe Invest. Counsel, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66395 (Del. Ch. June 30, 2014) Noble, V.C. (25 pages).

Whether principal in investment management company was indemnified for attorney fees and litigation costs hinged on whether he had acted in good faith and within the scope of his authority. Plaintiff and defendants' motions for judgment on the pleadings denied.

Practice Areas: Business Entities , LLCs and LLPS , Contracts , Interpretation , Successor Liability

Delaware Court of Chancery

Carter Farm, LLC v. New Castle Cty., DeFAX Case No. D66394 (Del. Ch. July 17, 2014) Glasscock, M.J. (23 pages).

Plaintiff real estate developer failed to present evidence supporting claim that defendant county agreed to rescind and renegotiate 2007 settlement agreement regarding proposed sewer line construction. Defendant's deemed motion for summary judgment granted; action dismissed with prejudice.

Practice Areas: Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Contracts , Performance

Delaware Superior Court

State v. Guess, DeFAX Case No. D66390 (Del. Super. July 15, 2014) Scott, J. (8 pages).

Defense counsel's decision not to request supplemental suppression of evidence hearing to consider whether police complied with terms of warrant for electronic tracking of vehicle was reasonable where counsel was actively negotiating plea while taking into account ground for suppression. Motion for post-conviction relief denied.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Legal Profession , Attorney Malpractice

Delaware Superior Court

Murphy & Landon, P.A. v. Pernic, DeFAX Case No. D66386 (Del. Super. July 11, 2014) Wharton, J. (13 pages).

Where paralegal was warned that her misconduct could lead to termination, but was fired for violating law firm's financial policy, the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board found that law firm failed to show it had fired paralegal for "just cause." Board decision upheld.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Social Services Law , Unemployment Compensation , Evidence , Documentary Evidence

Courts of Common Pleas

State v. Love, DeFAX Case No. D66385 (C.P. Kent June 28, 2014) Reigle, J. (10 pages).

Where police officer, who was the sole witness for the state, did not author the original police report indicting defendant, defense counsel could not compel production of police reports. Motion to compel production denied.

Practice Areas: Evidence , Impeachment , Witnesses , Criminal Law

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Kemske v. Johnson Controls, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66376 (D. Del. July 2, 2014) Stark, J. (18 pages).

Absent supporting facts in EEOC filing or other indication that her charge was a continuing action, plaintiff's hostile work environment claim was not within the fair scope of her original EEOC filing alleging sex discrimination. Motion for summary judgment granted.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Discrimination , Sex Discrimination , Administrative Law , Civil Procedure , Statute of Limitations

Delaware Court of Chancery

Lucas v. Hanson, DeFAX Case No. D66379 (Del. Ch. July 1, 2014) LeGrow, M.C. (7 pages).

Plaintiff's failure to allege that he was a limited partner mandated dismissal of complaint seeking injunction to prevent disbursal of partnership funds to named defendants, for lack of standing. Recommendation that motions to dismiss amended complaint be granted, with leave to amend.

Practice Areas: Business Entities , Partnerships , Civil Procedure , Standing

Delaware Court of Chancery

Capano v. Capano, DeFAX Case No. D66375 (Del. Ch. June 30, 2014) Noble, V.C. (39 pages).

Defendants' laches defense to plaintiffs' claims challenging transfers of family member's voting interests in family company failed where plaintiff based claims on document signed under seal and where he alleged facts indicating he was incapacitated by inebriation when the document was executed. Defendants' motions for dismissal granted in part and denied in part.

Practice Areas: Business Entities , LLCs and LLPS , Closely Held Corporations , Contracts , Breach

Delaware Court of Chancery

Kostyszyn v. Martuscelli, DeFAX Case No. D66377 (Del. Ch. July 14, 2014) Ayvazian, M.C. (19 pages).

Where plaintiffs alleged fraud by defendants and sought to cancel all legal documents underlying purchase of business, Master in Chancery determined that plaintiffs failed to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 12(b)(6) and could not seek remedies in equitable rescission, cancellation or an accounting.

Practice Areas: Contracts , Fraud (Contracts) , Rescission , Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process

Delaware Superior Court

Delaware v. McLaughlin, DeFAX Case No. D66384 (Del. Super. July 2, 2014) Rocanelli, J. (9 pages).

Defense counsel's decision not to aggressively cross-examine 10-year-old rape victim did not support defendant's claim of ineffective assistance, and claim for postconviction relief lacked merit. Defendant's motion for postconviction relief denied; appointed counsel's motion to withdraw granted.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Legal Profession , Attorney Malpractice

Delaware Superior Court

Haden v. Bethany Beach Police Dep't, DeFAX Case No. D66378 (Del. Super. June 30, 2014) Stokes, J. (20 pages).

Superior Court lacked jurisdiction to hear police officer's appeal from disciplinary decision of board of officers, and officer's motion to amend appeal to writ of certiorari had to be dismissed where review would have been futile. Defendant's motion to dismiss granted; plaintiff's motion to amend denied.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process

Delaware Superior Court

Bilski v. Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, DeFAX Case No. D66382 (Del. Super. June 30, 2014) Medinilla, J. (17 pages).

Medical board's determination that physician's failure to maintain proper treatment records in connection with pain medication prescription over two-year period warranted one-year probation was supported by substantial evidence. Board's decision affirmed on appeal to Superior Court.

Practice Areas: Medical Malpractice , Administrative Law , Evidence , Expert Witnesses

Courts of Common Pleas

State v. Elliott, DeFAX Case No. D66381 (C.P. Kent April 1, 2014) Reigle, J. (7 pages).

The results of defendant's Intoxilyzer test were admissible because the officer had sufficient "probable cause" under the "totality of the circumstances" test to seize defendant for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Motor Vehicles (Criminal) , Evidence , Admissibility

Third Circuit

Ward v. MBNA America, DeFAX Case No. D66371 (3d Cir. June 30, 2014) (per curiam) (6 pages).

Defendant employer's proffer that plaintiff bank employee was not hired for teller position because she could not recall or explain company's "principles" constituted legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for not selecting her for position. Defendant's motion for summary judgment granted.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Discrimination , Constitutional Law

U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware

In re PMI Group Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66368 (Bankr. D. Del. June 23, 2014) Shannon, J. (10 pages).

Plaintiff failed to carry his burden to prove the validity of his claim for benefits under a salary continuation plan; therefore,the bankruptcy court sustained debtor's objection to the claim.

Practice Areas: Bankruptcy

Delaware Supreme Court

Butler v. State, DeFAX Case No. D66365 (Del. June 24, 2014) Strine, C.J. (en banc) (35 pages).

Double jeopardy barred defendant's convictions because the trial judge in a prior proceeding took a series of improper actions with intent to provoke defense counsel to move for a mistrial.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Constitutional Law

Delaware Court of Chancery

Wayman Fire Protection, Inc. v. Premium Fire & Security, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66372 (Del. Ch. June 27, 2014) Parsons, V.C. (10 pages).

Plaintiff who prevailed in Computer Misuse Act suit was entitled to attorney fees and costs but not in amount so large as to be disproportionate to result achieved in trial. Order granted defendant's request for reduction in plaintiff's claim for attorney fees and costs.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery , Insurance Law

Delaware Court of Chancery

Cambridge Retirement Sys. v. Bosnjak, DeFAX Case No. D66366 (Del. Ch. June 26, 2014) Bouchard, V.C. (23 pages).

Stockholder's derivative action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and corporate waste was partially dismissed.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Debt Securities , Derivatives , Executive Compensation (Securities) , Civil Procedure

Delaware Court of Chancery

I/M/O Estate of Dean, DeFAX Case No. D66367 (Del. Ch. June 30, 2014) LeGrow, M.C. (24 pages).

In dispute between two adult children of an elderly, wealthy parent: 1) one of the children was entitled to a forensic accounting as to how the other, who held a power of attorney for the parent, had disbursed funds on his parent's behalf from the time the power of attorney was executed; and 2) the child who sought the accounting was entitled to reimbursement of educational expenses incurred, consistent with the parent's past pattern of giving.

Practice Areas: Trusts and Estates

Delaware Superior Court

Progressive Gulf Ins. Co. v. Doughty, DeFAX Case No. D66369 (Del. Super. June 24, 2014) Vaughn, P.J. (4 pages).

The Delaware Insurance Department Automotive Arbitration Panel lacked jurisdiction to arbitrate the insurance coverage dispute arising from an out-of-state policy.

Practice Areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution , Arbitration (ADR) , Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process , Insurance Law , Automotive

Delaware Superior Court

Walker v. City of New Castle, DeFAX Case No. D66370 (Del. Super. June 23, 2014) Davis, J. (9 pages).

Defendant city and city code enforcement officer were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's constitutional and state law tort claims.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Motion Practice , Standing , Statute of Limitations

Third Circuit

In re SCH Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66363 (3d Cir. June 17, 2014) Ambro, J. (7 pages).

The Third Circuit vacated and remanded the district court's dismissal of appellants' bankruptcy appeal as equitably moot, because the district court dismissed the appeal despite a finding that reversing the plan of liquidation would not result in any inequity and because further consideration was necessary in light of an opinion issued after the district court's decision.

Practice Areas: Bankruptcy , Appellate Law - Civil

Third Circuit

Carroll v. ABM Janitorial Servs. Mid-Atlantic, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66361 (3d Cir. June 17, 2014) (per curiam) (7 pages).

Plaintiff work supervisor who allowed employees to leave early before holiday weekend could not maintain claim for wrongful termination based on false allegations where employment agreement specifically provided that employees who punched other employees' time cards were subject to immediate termination. Defendant employer's motion for summary judgment was granted.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , At-Will Employment , Discrimination

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Desmond v. Phelps, DeFAX Case No. D66362 (D. Del. June 16, 2014) Robinson, J. (5 pages).

Plaintiffs-inmates' motions for injunctive relief and motion for reconsideration were denied in their lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

Practice Areas: Civil Rights , Civil Procedure , Motion Practice

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Townsend v. Eastern Specialty Finance, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66364 (D. Del. June 17, 2014) Robinson, J. (7 pages).

Plaintiff borrower, per terms of loan agreement, failed to state claim of breach of implied duty of fair deal for failure to identify specific implied contractual obligation that was violated. Defendant's motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Consumer Protection , Contracts , Fraud (Contracts)

Delaware Supreme Court

SPX Corp. v. Garda USA Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66360 (Del. June 16, 2014) Berger, J. (en banc) (11 pages).

The record did not show that the arbitrator consciously chose to ignore a legal principle, or contract term, that was so clear that it was not subject to reasonable debate in the parties' dispute arising from a corporate acquisition. Court of Chancery's judgment vacating the arbitrator's award was improper.

Practice Areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution , Arbitration (ADR) , Civil Procedure , Motion Practice , Contracts , Interpretation

Delaware Court of Chancery

In re TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. Stockholders Litig., DeFAX Case No. D66357 (Del. Ch. June 13, 2014) Noble, V.C. (17 pages).

Plaintiff shareholders failed to allege a colorable claim that the corporation's directors breached their fiduciary duties to warrant expediting their claims.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Motion Practice , Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Shareholder Rights

Delaware Court of Chancery

Raul v. Astoria Financial Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66359 (Del. Ch. June 20, 2014) Glasscock, V.C. (27 pages).

Stockholder who, with an attorney's assistance, presented a pre-suit letter to a corporation demanding compliance with "Say-On-Pay" provisions of the Dodd-Frank statute and who thereafter obtained compliance with his demand was not entitled to reimbursement for attorneys fees under the corporate benefit doctrine in the absence of any showing that a meritorious claim existed when he wrote his letter. Defendant's motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Shareholder Rights , Corporate Governance/Compliance , Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery

Delaware Court of Chancery

Allen v. El Paso Pipeline GP Co., L.L.C., DeFAX Case No. D66355 (Del. Ch. June 20, 2014) Laster, V.C. (45 pages).

In dispute arising from corporation's purchase of interest in company from general partner's parent company, plaintiffs failed to establish 1) claims for breach of express terms of LP agreement and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and 2) claims for aiding and abetting, where plaintiffs offered no evidence to show defendants lacked subjective good faith in the transaction and where defendants' actions were in accord with the contractual standard established by the LP agreement. Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Corporate Governance/Compliance , Mergers and Acquisitions , Contracts , Breach

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Walkup v. Air & Liquid Sys. Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66340 (D. Del. June 4, 2014) Fallon, M.J. (14 pages).

In tort action alleging asbestos exposure, plaintiff's deposition testimony indicated he lacked certainty as to name of manufacturer(s) of machinery causing asbestos exposure, and documentary evidence he supplied did not establish name of manufacturer(s) of machines in his workplace. Summary judgment recommended in favor of defendants.

Practice Areas: Torts , Toxic Torts , Products Liability , Evidence , Documentary Evidence