In Leatherbury v. Greenspun, (Del. Supr., Nov. 30, 2007), read opinion here, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a statutory provision that required notice to be sent by "certified mail, return receipt requested", was not satisfied by notice that was only sent by Federal Express. The statute allowed for the statute of limitations to be be tolled by 90 days after the specified statutory notice was sent. The net result of this ruling is that the complaint was filed after the statute of limitations had expired.
This is how the court summarized the holding:
A plaintiff may toll the running of the two-year statute of limitations for ninety days by sending a Notice of Intent to investigate only by certified mail, return receipt requested. We further hold that the term “certified mail” does not include delivery through private carriers, such as delivery by Federal Express.
Footnote 16 in the High Court’s opinion cites to cases where the Delaware courts have also invalidated service of process that was not sent via certified mail, return receipt requesed, as required by statute.
This opinion includes jewels of general statutory construction principles, and the reaffirmation by the court that it will apply the plain meaning of an unambiguous statute even if it may lead to an "unfortunate result". It will not act as a "super-legislature" by venturing beyond the boundaries of the judicial branch of government to provide allegedly necessary corrections or amplifications to a statute.