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Delaware Docket Newsletter

SUPERIOR COURT ESTABLISHES NEW COMPLEX COMMERCIAL LITIGATION DIVISION

A new Superior Court Complex Commercial Litigation Division (“CCLD”) was created on May 1, 2010. According to President Judge James T. Vaughn, Jr., “The new division will provide for streamlined and more uniform administration of complex commercial cases.” Cases will be streamlined by being given firm pretrial and prompt trial dates. In addition, they will be assigned to one of the three judges on a panel of Superior Court judges created to hear these cases and will be given scheduling priority over other cases heard by the assigned judge.

Uniformity in administration will be promoted through the establishment of consistent procedures by the panel of judges, as well as a case management order that will provide guidance on handling discovery disputes and dispositive motions, require mandatory disclosures such as those contemplated by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a), and establish procedures for other matters relevant to the case, including electronic discovery. A sample case management order and a sample e-discovery plan are included as exhibits to the Administrative Directive.

To be eligible for the CCLD, a case must involve an amount in controversy of one million dollars or more, be designated by the President Judge of the Superior Court, or involve an exclusive choice of court agreement or a judgment resulting from an exclusive choice of court agreement. However, to ensure that the CCLD focuses on true large-scale commercial disputes, the following types of cases are excluded: any case containing a claim for personal, physical or mental injury; mortgage foreclosure actions; mechanics’ lien actions; condemnation proceedings; and any case involving an exclusive 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.

Judges will be assigned to the CCLD panel for a term of three years. The first three judges appointed to the panel, each of whom has an extensive background in complex business litigation, are: The Hon. Fred S. Silverman, The Hon Joseph R. Slights, III, and the Hon. Jan R. Jurden.

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