Rohm and Haas Co. v. The Dow Chemical Co., (Del. Ch., Feb. 19, 2009), read letter decision here. The Chancery Court denied a Motion for Protective Order filed by proposed third-party deponents in this procedural ruling. Dow sought to depose several members of the Haas family who were also trustees of the trust that is a major shareholder. This expedited case is scheduled to go to trial next month on the claim by Rohm and Haas that it is entitled to specific performance of a merger agreement.
Prior posts about the background of this case that has received widespread attention in the popular press, and a prior procedural decision, have been highlighted on this blog here.
In this short letter decision, the court noted the broad scope of discovery allowable under Rule 26, but also acknowledged the court’s power to restrict discovery where appropriate. In light of the large role played by the trust as a shareholder, and the claim that the shareholders would be harmed if the merger was not consummated, as well as the likelihood of obtaining useful information from the deponents, the court denied the motion for protective order, but emphasized that Dow assured the court that it would treat the witnesses with respect and "accommodate their schedules and conduct the depositions in a location convenient to the witnesses."