Investors, LLC v. Genger, C.A. No. 6697-CS (Del. Ch. Feb. 18, 2013).
Whether the doctrine of "issue preclusion" prevented the relitigation of issues
previously decided, and thus supported the grant of a motion for summary
judgment. Short answer: Yes.
This 58-page opinion chronicles the long and tortuous
procedural history of the internecine strife among the parties in this case
over many years in multiple courts in two states. See generally several
prior Delaware decisions in this long-running dispute highlighted on these
here, here and
The Court of Chancery explains in exhaustive and
exhausting detail the lengthy history of the multiple court decisions in two
states involving overlapping issues. The bottom line on a practical level for
most readers, regarding why this decision merits a post on this blog, is that
this opinion discusses principles with wide application on at few useful points
First, it discusses and applies the doctrine of issue
preclusion (as compared to the doctrine of claim preclusion), that prevents a
party from litigating an issue previously decided in litigation between the
parties. This opinion is must reading for anyone who needs to know the latest
Delaware law on those two concepts, and wonders how they might interface with
the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel.
Second, it addresses a situation where a party
(represented in this case by a former vice chancellor) was unsuccessful in
thwarting a motion for summary judgment despite submitting an affidavit based
on counsel's personal knowledge, that provided a lengthy list of arguments
about why more discovery was needed in order to develop a more complete factual
record on key issues, before a motion for summary judgment would be ripe. That
effort failed in part due to the doctrine of issue preclusion. Regarding Court
of Chancery Rule 56(e), as compared to Rule 56(f), the court explained that:
The party opposing summary judgment may not merely
deny the facts in the affidavit, but -by affidavits or . . . otherwise, must
-set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
If the opposing party cannot provide an affidavit contesting the
facts set forth in the moving party's affidavit, it may, under Rule 56(f),
furnish an affidavit showing why discovery is required.
Read more Delaware business
litigation case summaries and commentary on Delaware
Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog, a blog hosted by Francis G.X.
Pileggi, of Eckert Seamans.
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