Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery
Smith v. Donald L. Mattia, Inc.
Plaintiffs, David and Barbara Smith, asserted various claims arising out of the construction of their home against Defendants, Donald L. Mattia, Inc. (DLM), Donald Mattia, and Barbara Joseph (Barbara). The Chancery Court (1) granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on (i) Plaintiffs' breach of contract claim and (ii) Plaintiffs' civil conspiracy claim; (2) denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment on (i) Plaintiffs' claim for misappropriation of Plaintiffs' backfill and money paid to DLM that was not applied to their project and (ii) Plaintiffs' claim that Defendants fraudulently induced Plaintiffs to purchase excess lumber and misappropriated $8,836 in connection with the purchase of excess lumber; (2) granted Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, as Defendants did not articulate a viable cause of action in their counterclaim; and (3) denied Barbara's motion for Chan. Ct. R. 11 sanctions where there was no evidence that Plaintiffs' attorney did not have a good faith belief in the legitimacy of the claims asserted against Barbara.
Bessemer Trust Co. of DE, N.A. v. Wilson
Decedent's parents brought a wrongful death action against the nominal defendant after the nominal defendant allegedly ran through a stop sign which resulted in decedent's death. As part of that dispute, decedent's parents sought to discover information regarding two trusts, collectively known as the JBG Children's 1991 Trust (1991 Trusts), that nominal defendant and his ex-wife created for the benefit of their children (beneficiaries). Plaintiff, the trustee of the 1991 Trusts filed the present action seeking to confirm that the nominal defendant had no beneficial interest in the 1991 Trusts and that, therefore, decedent's parents should not be permitted to depose the trustee's employees in Delaware or Florida or otherwise obtain records of, or confidential information about, those trusts. The trustee subsequently filed a Motion and Proposed Order for a Rule to Show Cause in this action that would direct the decedent's parents to appear before the court and state why it should not enter a declaratory judgment. As a preliminary matter, the court held that the trustee's claims for relief presented an actual case or controversy sufficient to support a justifiable claim for relief under the Delaware Declaratory Judgment Act, 10 Del. C. 6501-6513. The court also held that the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Corp. v. McDowell-Wellman Eng'g Co. Doctrine did not justify maintaining a stay and that there was no good reason to delay further proceedings to address the narrowly focused relief sought by the trustee's motion for entry of a rule to show cause.