Richards Layton & Finger

Complex Commercial Litigation Division

The Delaware Superior Court launched the Complex Commercial Litigation Division (“CCLD”) in May 2010 to provide a forum for resolution of complex business disputes, with specially assigned judicial officers and procedural rules designed for these cases. The CCLD provides an alternative to the Court of Chancery for business disputes that do not invoke equity jurisdiction, and ensures that Delaware’s historic split between law and equity does not hinder the efficient resolution of complex business disputes.

Unlike the Court of Chancery, the CCLD allows for jury trials, and remedies such as punitive damages are available only in the CCLD. The CCLD is available for cases that include a claim asserted by any party (direct or declaratory judgment) with an amount in controversy of $1 million or more (designated in the pleadings for either jury or non-jury trials), involve an exclusive choice of court agreement or a judgment resulting from an exclusive choice of court agreement, or are designated as CCLD cases by the Superior Court’s president judge.

Specifically designed to handle business cases, the CCLD is not available for personal injury cases, mechanics lien actions, or cases involving a choice of court agreement where a party to the agreement is an individual acting primarily for personal, family, or household purposes or where the agreement relates to an individual or collective contract of employment.

To ensure efficient case management, the CCLD has adopted the following guidelines: (1) assignment of cases to the same judge for all purposes through final disposition, (2) early scheduling conferences after all pleadings have been filed, and (3) firm pretrial and prompt trial dates that will not be continued due to scheduling conflicts with other civil cases. The CCLD is designed to be flexible, and cases can move swiftly if desirable to the parties. Accordingly, the CCLD has shown a willingness to expedite certain types of disputes—consistent with the practice in the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Currently, there are four CCLD panel judges: the Honorable William C. Carpenter, the Honorable Mary M. Johnston, the Honorable Eric M. Davis, and the Honorable Paul R. Wallace.

Since its inception, the CCLD has become a favored venue for litigating cases involving a wide variety of business disputes, including commercial agreements, insurance coverage disputes, asset purchase agreements, and trade secrets. For descriptions of recent CCLD cases, please visit the links below to view Richards, Layton & Finger’s quarterly CCLD updates.

Quarterly CCLD Law Updates