Town Council of Ocean View v. Brown, C.A. No. 4969-VCL (Del. Ch. May 27, 2010). read letter decision here.
This short letter decision provides, in a practical manner, a pithy overview of the basis for the limited subject matter jurisdiction exercised by the Court of Chancery, as well as the basis for the Court exercising personal jurisdiction.
In addition, on a theoretical level, by way of entertainment for those who may enjoy watching the History Channel or otherwise enjoy the legal aspects surrounding the history of our country, the Court provides a rather succinct overview of what it refers to as “the American foundational narrative” in a rather scholarly refutation of an argument by a pro se litigant. The pro se party argued that he was not bound by either the laws of the State of Delaware or the ordinances of his local municipality.
As an introduction to its tutorial, the Court recounts the inclusion of the three counties that now constitute the current State of Delaware, as part of the property of William Penn’s Pennsylvania. Penn obtained those three counties in the 1600s from the Duke of York. In 1704, however, those three counties were separated from Pennsylvania. The Court then chronicled the history of our country from the Declaration of Independence to the United States Constitution, to explain the legal underpinning for the obligation of a local resident to comply with the laws of its local municipality.
This short letter ruling provides citations to authority that would be of interest to history buffs as well, such as the date for the “shot heard ’round the world” in Concord, Massachusetts, that is often referred to as the formal commencement of hostilities between the North American colonies and the Crown. Also noteworthy is the legal explanation of the delegation of authority by the legislature to local municipalities, as well as the delegation to the States of power not otherwise given to the United States by the U.S. Constitution nor otherwise prohibited by it to be exercised by the States. See U.S. Const. amend. X.