For the most recent iteration of Delaware law on the topic of forum non conveniens, as it has evolved over the last few years, careful readers should be aware of the recent Chancery decision in Sweeny v. RPD Holdings Group, LLC, C.A. No. 2020-0813-SG (Del. Ch. May 27, 2021). This decision is consistent with the latest developments in Delaware law regarding forum non conveniens, to the extent that “overwhelming hardship” need not be established by the defendant where, as in this matter, the plaintiff did not file suit first, and the cases in competing states are deemed to have been simultaneously filed. The shift towards a reduced importance of that “hardship criteria” developed after the Delaware Supreme Court’s 2014 opinion in the Martinez case, which was highlighted on these pages.
The opinion also features a reference to an unusual form of financing not essential to its conclusion, called the tontine, named after a 15th century Italian financier Lorenzo de Tonti.
One of the more quotable parts of this decision is that the court decided that it should not retain jurisdiction to apply New Jersey law because that would be “lane-hogging”, and that the court wanted to “stay in [its] lane.”