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Delaware Complex Commercial Litigation Division Law Update

April 11, 2017

In the first quarter of 2017, the Superior Court’s Complex Commercial Litigation Division (“CCLD”) judges issued notable decisions concerning fraudulent inducement claims and addressed legal doctrines common in bankruptcy proceedings.  The Division has shown its commitment to expeditious resolution of business disputes by maintaining judicial assignments even after judges have rotated out of the Division and transferring cases to the Court of Chancery rather than dismissing for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  If you have any questions concerning the decisions listed below or the CCLD in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Judge Davis Dismisses Promissory Estoppel Claim but Allows Plaintiff to Re-Plead Its Lender Liability Claims
In NVent, LLC v. Hortonworks, Inc., C.A. No. N16C-05-148-EMD-CCLD, Judge Davis granted in part and denied in part the defendant’s motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiff leave to amend its complaint.  The plaintiff, NVent LLC (“NVent”), initiated a breach of contract action against the defendant, Hortonworks Inc. (“Hortonworks”), based upon two agreements: a vendor services agreement and a term loan agreement.  NVent asserted claims for declaratory judgment, promissory estoppel, misrepresentation, and lender liability.  
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Judge Wallace Dismisses Fraudulent Inducement Claims Where Damages Duplicated Breach of Contract Claim
In EZLinks Golf LLC v. PCMS Datafit, Inc., C.A. No. N16C-07-080-PRW-CCLD, Judge Wallace granted the defendant’s partial motion to dismiss.  The plaintiff, EZLinks Golf LLC (“EZLinks”), initiated a breach of contract and fraud action against the defendant, PCMS Datafit, Inc. (“PCMS”).  EZLinks claimed that PCMS fraudulently induced EZLinks into entering a reseller agreement and then breached the agreement.  
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Judge Davis Denies Motion to Dismiss, Transfers Case to Court of Chancery
In Haney v. Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., C.A. No. N16C-03-231-EMD-CCLD, Judge Davis denied defendant Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc.’s (“Blackhawk”) motion to dismiss for improper venue and transferred the case to the Court of Chancery.  Plaintiff George Haney (“Haney”), sellers’ representative of Cardlab, Inc., initiated a breach of contract action seeking declarations that Blackhawk did not make a timely request for payment from an escrow account and that Haney was entitled to the remaining funds in the escrow account. 
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Judge Davis Denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, Finding a Justiciable Controversy that Was Not Barred by the Barton Doctrine
In TMC Consulting Servs. v. Wright et al., C.A. No. N15C-11-132-EMD-CCLD, Judge Davis denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that the plaintiff’s complaint presented a valid controversy.  The plaintiff, TMC Consulting Services (“TMC”), initiated the lawsuit against the defendants, Matthew Wright (“Wright”), Christopher Kennedy (“Kennedy”), and six separate but related limited liability companies (collectively, the “Funds”).  TMC claimed that Wright, Kennedy, and the Funds breached the parties’ consulting agreement by terminating the agreement before giving TMC the opportunity to cure an alleged breach.
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Judge Davis Denies Motion for Spoliation Sanctions 
In Riverside Fund v. Shyamsundar, C.A. No. N14C-10-038-EMD-CCLD, Judge Davis denied defendant Visagar Shyamsundar’s (“Shyamsundar”) motion for spoliation sanctions against co-defendant Ronald F. Cornelison (“Cornelison”).  The Court found that Shyamsundar failed to provide sufficient evidence proving that spoliation occurred.  In his motion for spoliation sanctions, Shyamsundar claimed that Cornelison destroyed a recording related to Cornelison’s fraud cross-claim against Shyamsundar.  
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Judge Jurden Vacates Order to Ensure Proper Administration of Justice
In Alltrista Plastics, LLC d/b/a Jarden Plastic Solutions v. Rockline Industries, Inc., C.A. No. N12C-09-094 (Del. Super. January 18, 2017), President Judge Jurden relieved a defendant in a breach-of-contract action from an adverse judgment after invoking her “plenary power to vacate, modify, or set aside judgments or orders where reasonably necessary to ensure the proper administration of justice.”  
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