Encite LLC v. Soni, et al., Del. Ch., C.A. No. 2476-VCG (Dec. 13, 2011). The prior decision by the Court of Chancery in this case, that this ruling refused to modify, was highlighted on this blog here. Another Chancery decision in this matter was summarized here.
This summary was prepared by a former associate of Eckert Seamans.
The Court’s previous decisions in this case denied plaintiff’s requests to (i) extend an already expired deadline, and (ii) permit expert evidence on damages despite submitting its expert report months after it was due. The position that the Court took in this matter was an eye-opener for litigators who frequently request and grant extensions to scheduling orders without seeking Court approval.
In this most recent ruling, Encite moved the Court to set aside the prior orders of the Court (which were made by then-Chancellor Chandler), and to allow the plaintiff to proffer expert testimony at trial. The Court denied the plaintiff’s invitation and found that then-Chancellor Chandler’s decisions were the “law of the case,” which controls subsequent litigation unless:
(1) the prior ruling was clearly wrong; (2) there has been an important change of circumstances; or (3) equitable concerns render application of the law of the case doctrine inappropriate.
Encite argued that circumstances had changed because the trial date was moved. Plaintiff argued that since the trial date was no longer looming, defendants wouldn’t be prejudiced by allowing plaintiff to submit expert testimony. The Court disagreed and reminded Encite that then-Chancellor Chandler cited six separate reasons that plaintiff’s behavior warranted the exclusion of expert testimony—the looming trial date being only one reason. Since plaintiff did not (and could not) argue that the remaining five circumstances cited by then-Chancellor Chandler had changed, the Court upheld the law of the case and denied plaintiff’s motion.