Judges & Cases

This Weeks Cases

Third Circuit

Stones v. McDonald, DeFAX Case No. D66435 (3d Cir. Aug. 4, 2014) per curiam (5 pages).

Plaintiff-inmate failed to show that there was a genuine dispute as to any material fact regarding his claim that appellees were deliberately indifferent to his ankle injury. Grant of appellees' motions for summary judgment affirmed.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Judgments , Constitutional Law

Delaware Supreme Court

Cooke v. Murphy, DeFAX Case No. D66441 (Del. July 30, 2014) Ridgely, J. (9 pages).

Jury properly concluded defendant proximately caused auto accident but did not have to pay any damages; trial court then properly found defendant was entitled to costs as prevailing party. Superior Court judgment affirmed.

Practice Areas: Torts , Damages , Evidence , Expert Witnesses , Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery

Delaware Court of Chancery

Matthew v. Laudamiel, DeFAX Case No. D66440 (Del. Ch. July 21, 2014) Noble, V.C. (7 pages).

Defendant was entitled to broad discovery as to plaintiff's activities following earlier litigation, for purposes of defendant's mitigation and unclean hands defense, and defendant was entitled to unredacted settlement agreement with settling defendants, to allow defendant to assess remaining liability. Plaintiff ordered to provide full response to defendants' discovery requests.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Discovery , Settlement , Intellectual Property , Trade Secrets

Delaware Court of Chancery

Buttonwood Tree Value Partners, L.P. v. R.L. Polk & Co., DeFAX Case No. D66442 (Del. Ch. Aug. 7, 2014) Glasscock, V.C. (15 pages).

Shareholders accused corporation and board of directors of breach of fiduciary duty for misrepresenting the company's worth in its self-tender. Defendant's motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Shareholder Rights , Corporate Governance/Compliance , Civil Procedure , Class Actions

Delaware Court of Chancery

Salamone v. Gorman, DeFAX Case No. D66456 (July 31, 2014) Noble, V.C. (11 pages).

Where a disputed election of four directors to a corporation's board of directors created management deadlock, the Court of Chancery entered a status quo order until a final judicial determination resolved the summary proceeding.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Corporate Governance/Compliance , Shareholder Rights

Delaware Court of Chancery

Sample v. Gumbiner, DeFAX Case No. D66455 (July 31, 2014) Noble, V.C. (12 pages).

In this action to determine an appropriate amount for attorney fees from shareholder litigation, the court had to determine who was responsible for release of the banker's book under the settlement agreement.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Mergers and Acquisitions , Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery , Securities Transactions

Delaware Superior Court

State v. Gillis, DeFAX Case No. D66436 (Del. Super. July 24, 2014) Johnston, J. (9 pages).

Probation and parole officers' administrative searches of defendant's record address and current residence were proper and his statement to an officer was not coerced. Motion to suppress denied.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Evidence , Admissibility

Delaware Superior Court

Gray v. Beebe Med. Ctr., DeFAX Case No. D66438 (Del. Super. Aug. 13, 2014) Stokes, J. (8 pages).

Employee who declined his employer's attempt to accommodate his allergy to chemical cleaners by making only occasional work assignments in areas where cleaning materials were kept was unable to work due to a health condition and was therefore not entitled to collect unemployment benefits. Decision of Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board affirmed.

Practice Areas: Social Services Law , Unemployment Compensation , Labor and Employment , Labor Law , Working Conditions

Delaware Superior Court

Eastern Savings Bank, FSB v. Cach, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66427 (Del. Super. July 31, 2014) Medinilla, J. (13 pages).

Junior mortgage holder sought to apply equitable subrogation doctrine to advance its priority position in order to retain funds from mortgage foreclosure sale. Court of common pleas decision affirmed.

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

Courts of Common Pleas

Connor v. Martin, DeFAX Case No. D66347 (C.P. New Castle Aug. 8, 2014) Rennie, J. (5 pages).

Defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claims for negligence and negligent misrepresentation was granted, but his motion to dismiss plaintiffs' breach of contract claim was denied as further discovery was necessary.

Practice Areas: Torts , Damages , Contracts , Breach , Civil Procedure , Discovery

Courts of Common Pleas

State v. Moon, DeFAX Case No. D66434 (C.P. New Castle July 9, 2014) Surles, J. (11 pages).

Admission of statistical data used in selection of sobriety checkpoint properly admitted through testimony of police officer who was involved in selection of checkpoint location. Defendant's motion to suppress evidence denied and defendant found guilty of driving under the influence.

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

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Burr v. Biden, DeFAX Case No. D66428 (D. Del. Aug. 1, 2014) (memorandum) Sleet, J. (12 pages).

Plaintiff seeking constitutional protection from wearing seat belts failed to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(6)(b). Defendant's motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Constitutional Law , Administrative Law

Delaware Court of Chancery

In re Jenzabar, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66432 (Del. Ch. July 30, 2014) Glasscock, V.C. (17 pages).

Under Massachusetts law, after trust had expired while still holding assets on behalf of beneficiary, trustee was empowered to take necessary actions to preserve assets for purposes of distribution and wind-up but lacked authority to maintain stockholder derivative claims. Defendants' motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Shareholder Derivative Suits , Trusts and Estates

U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware

In re Newstarcom Holdings, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66433 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 6, 2014) Sontchi, B.J. (18 pages).

Discovery of post-sale financial information sought by bankruptcy trustee to determine accuracy and reasonableness of projections used to create valuations of company before it was sold at fire sale price to company officers would have provided only limited assistance in determining reasonableness of directors' decision to sell company at particular price. Trustee's motion to compel production of documents denied.

Practice Areas: Bankruptcy , Civil Procedure , Discovery , Business Entities , Valuation

Delaware Supreme Court

Desmond v. State, DeFAX Case No. D66429 (Del. Aug. 1, 2014) Strine, C.J. (6 pages).

Appellant's contention that concurrent sentences constituted a de facto life sentence and were thus illegal because he was not convicted of a Class A felony did not stand up to scrutiny. Superior Court's judgment affirmed.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Appellate Law - Criminal

U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware

In re Energy Future Holdings Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66431 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 5, 2014) Sontchi, B.J. (25 pages).

In a make-whole dispute, information regarding a debtor's valuation and solvency is relevant, and thus discoverable, but that information cannot be obtained from third parties who do not intend to offer expert or other evidence on the issue. Order directing parties to submit proposed order consistent with court's opinion.

Practice Areas: Bankruptcy , Creditors' and Debtors' Rights

Delaware Court of Chancery

Comerica Bank v. Global Payments Direct, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66430 (Del. Ch. Aug. 1, 2014) Bouchard, V.C. (46 pages).

Following termination of service agreement between plaintiff bank and defendant credit and debit card processor, bank was entitled to receive certain information and assistance it had requested to effectuate its transition to a new payment processor, with expenses to be paid by their joint-venture enterprise. Liquidating trustee appointed by court.

Practice Areas: Banking and Financial Institutions , Contracts , Interpretation

Delaware Supreme Court

In the Matter of the Petition of Brown, DeFAX Case No. D66417 (Del. July 24, 2014) Strine, C.J. (3 pages).

Supreme Court had no original jurisdiction to issue writ of mandamus directed to non-court state agency. Petition for writ of mandamus dismissed.

Practice Areas: Appellate Law - Civil , Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process , Social Services Law

Delaware Supreme Court

O'Conner v. O'Conner, DeFAX Case No. D66415 (Del. July 24, 2014) Strine, C.J. (8 pages).

Father petitioned for divorce in October 2011 and requested that the family court retain jurisdiction over issues stemming from the division of property. Mother petitioned for custody in March 2012. The divorce was granted in July 2012.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support , Appellate Law - Civil , Timeliness , Civil Procedure , Statute of Limitations

Delaware Supreme Court

Christman v. Delaware Dep't of Health and Social Services, DeFAX Case No. D66416 (Del. July 25, 2014) Ridgely, J. (14 pages).

Refusal of prospective Medical Director of Division of Public Health of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to sign standing orders and collaborative agrements and obtain a National Provider Identifier number warranted terminating her for insubordination. Judgment of superior court affirmed.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment

Delaware Court of Chancery

RCM LS II, LLC v. Lincoln Circle Associates, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66419 (Del. Ch. July 28, 2014) Laster, V.C. (34 pages).

Defendant property owner breached right of first offer agreement by negotiating proposed sale with third party before sending property offer notice to plaintiff rights holder and by failing to specify material terms in offer notice.

Practice Areas: Contracts , Breach , Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Debt Securities , Derivatives

Delaware Court of Chancery

Hardy v. Hardy, DeFAX Case No. D66422 (Del. Ch. July 29, 2014) (memorandum) Parsons, V.C. (58 pages).

Defendant trustees who depleted trust held for disabled sibling were jointly and severally liable for their self-interested purchases and other expenditures and for failure to account for monies withdrawn from the account.

Practice Areas: Trusts and Estates , Torts , Liability , Joint and Several Liability , Damages

Delaware Superior Court

Wood v. Collison, DeFAX Case No. D66421 (Del. Super. July 22, 2014) Rocanelli, J. (5 pages).

Prisoner seeking injunction against prison authorities to prevent further alleged acts of retaliation following filing of lawsuit failed to produce evidence of irreparable harm or demonstrate likelihood of success on merits. Motion for "emergency injunction" denied.

Practice Areas: Civil Rights

Delaware Superior Court

Northpointe Holdings, LLC v. Nationwide Emerging Managers, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66418 (Del. Super. July 16, 2014) Rocanelli, J. (61 pages).

Consortium of financial and investment companies breached the contract with a spinoff investment and mutual funds advisory firm when, in violation of the purchase agreement and without good cause, consortium terminated its relationship to the spinoff, looted assets, refused to pay contractual termination fees, and failed to meet contractual marketing obligations.

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

Courts of Common Pleas

Ryan v. Lewis, DeFAX Case No. D66423 (C.P. Sussex July 18, 2014) Beauregard, J. (8 pages).

Defaulting party to a vaguely worded promissory note could not unilaterally postpone performance on the note indefinitely. Plaintiff was awarded damages.

Practice Areas: Contracts , Performance , Breach , Remedies

Courts of Common Pleas

State v. DeGregoriis, DeFAX Case No. D66424 (C.P. New Castle Aug. 1, 2014) Rennie, J. (7 pages).

The state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and a traffic offense.

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

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Johnson v. Ace Cash Express, Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66413 (D. Del. July 24, 2014) Stark, J. (18 pages).

Short-term loan recipient who alleged loan corporation breached its duty of fair dealing and violated the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act was subject to the arbitration terms of the loan agreement. Motion for leave to amend complaint granted.

Practice Areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution , Arbitration (ADR) , Contractual Clauses , Civil Procedure , Choice of Law

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Homax Products, Inc. v. Old Magic Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66412 (D. Del. July 28, 2014) (memorandum) Robinson, J. (13 pages).

Successor in merger mistakenly named as a defendant in mesothelioma case and that sought indemnification from other parties to the suit was not an indemnified party under the asset purchase agreement entered into prior to its merger.

Practice Areas: Business Entities , Successor Liability , Contracts , Warranties , Civil Procedure , Judgments

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Fruchtman v. Town of Dewey Beach, DeFAX Case No. D66411 (D. Del. July 24, 2014) Stark, J. (15 pages).

Store owner claimed township denied him his constitutional rights when they attempted to regulate his placement of street side merchandise. Town's motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Constitutional Law , Contracts , Breach , Residential and Commercial Real Estate

U.S. District Court of Delaware

Scanlon v. Medtronic Sofamar Danek USA Inc., DeFAX Case No. D66398 (D. Del. July 28, 2014) Robinson, J. (16 pages).

Product liability suit against manufacturer of infuse device used off-label in spinal surgery was preempted under Medical Device Amendments of 1976 both as to claim of failure to warn and claim of false and negligent misrepresentations by manufacturer's representatives. Defendant's motion to dismiss granted.

Practice Areas: Products Liability , Failure to Warn , Torts , Causation

U.S. District Court of Delaware

In re PMTS Liquidating Corp., DeFAX Case No. D66396 (D. Del. July 28, 2014) Robinson, J. (17 pages).

Bankrupt corporation satisfactorily pleaded breach of fiduciary duty claim against board member based on allegations that he breached his duty to disclose a conflict of interest when another company for which he served as managing director was seeking to gain a controlling interest in a major competitor. Motion to dismiss granted as to two counts and denied as to a third count.

Practice Areas: Securities and Federal Corporate Law , Corporate Governance/Compliance , Bankruptcy

Delaware Supreme Court

Luttrell v. State of Delaware, DeFAX Case No. D66391 (Del. July 28, 2014) Holland, J. (17 pages).

Trial court erred in failing to grant defendant's motion for bill of particulars, where indictment did not clearly delineate acts for which he was being prosecuted, and committed plain error when it allowed impermissible vouching evidence to be presented to jury. Reversed.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law

Delaware Supreme Court

Ozdemir v. State, DeFAX Case No. D66414 (Del. July 23, 2014) Berger, J. (11 pages).

Unredacted family court records used in Superior Court to prove interference with custody were inadmissible because they included hearsay. Reversed.

Practice Areas: Evidence , Hearsay , Documentary Evidence , Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Delaware Supreme Court

R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. v. Galliher, DeFAX Case No. D66397 (Del. July 24, 2014) Ridgely, J. (16 pages).

Trial court's failure to instruct jury on duty of care required of asbestos plaintiff's employer and failure to grant new trial following admission of unreliable and inflammatory evidence warranted reversal for new trial. Reversed.

Practice Areas: Torts , Toxic Torts , Labor and Employment , Labor Law , Working Conditions , Evidence , Admissibility

Delaware Court of Chancery

Durham v. Grapetree, LLC, DeFAX Case No. D66410 (Del. Ch. July 21, 2014) Glasscock, V.C. (11 pages).

LLC member who refused to substantiate evidence proving that his personal expenditures benefited the LLC was only allowed to recoup amount agreed to by LLC.

Practice Areas: Evidence , Documentary Evidence , Competency , Business Entities , LLCs and LLPS