In Quereguan v. New Castle County v. State of Delaware, read opinion here, the Chancery Court denied the following three motions:
(1) Motion for Reargument [see here for summary on this blog of prior decision for which reargument was sought]; (2) A Motion to Sever (to allegedly avoid confusion due to the various parties and claims); and (3) A Motion to Transfer the Case to Superior Court.
Most of these issues were addressed in the prior court decision of Quereguan v. New Castle County, 2004 WL 2271606 (Del. Ch., Sept. 28, 2004), but especially noteworthy in this decision is the discussion about whether certain of the third-party complaint allegations should be transferred to Superior Court pursuant to Court of Chancery Rules 14 and 42(b), based on the assertion that they are outside the limited subject matter jurisdiction of the Chancery Court. Rule 14 allows a party to move for the severance of the third-party claim, while Rule 42(b) provides that in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, the court may order a separate trial of any claim, crossclaim, counterclaim or third-party claim. The court did not regard the issues in the case as “distinctly complicated, nor did it find that a second trial would be more efficient.”
The court noted that it frequently tries complicated cases involving multiple claims against multiple defendants and that this particular case was not especially challenging. Lastly, the court observed that it clearly had jurisdiction over claims for specific performance and even if only money damages were sought, the Chancery Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate legal claims under the “clean-up doctrine.” That doctrine serves to: avoid piecemeal litigation, conserve scarce judicial resources, as well as limit costs to litigants and the public. The doctrine also serves to decrease the risk of inconsistent verdicts by retaining jurisdiction over some portion of a controversy if it will allow for a resolution of the whole controversy even though that may involve the grant of a purely legal remedy such as a money judgment.