Nationwide Emerging Managers, LLC v. Northpointe Holdings, LLC, No. 441, 2014 (Del. Supr., Mar. 18, 2015). This Delaware Supreme Court opinion is notable for at least the following reasons:
(i) it provides the latest iteration of Delaware law on the amorphous but important contract provision imposed by law on every Delaware contract: the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This 32-page opinion reversed the trial court’s finding that the implied covenant did apply to the contract at issue in this case. The Supreme Court’s reversal is another reminder of how challenging it is to make a successful claim based on the implied covenant;
(ii) many basic contract interpretation principles are explained in this opinion, but one that I found especially notable is that before the court can “fix a typographical error” in a contract, it must first satisfy the exacting prerequisites that would entitle one to the remedy of reformation of a contract, just as if it were a material term apparently.
There is much more to commend this opinion for its scholarly analysis and interesting facts, including the backstory of the buyer of an investment advisory firm who thought it was entitled to millions of dollars in damages because it did not think the seller gave it everything that it thought it was buying. That is not an uncommon complaint, but I still find it interesting that it remains such a common allegation.
Supplement: Professor Bainbridge provides scholarly insights about the case and in particular the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (ICGF). (We are grateful that he links to this post in his comments.)