A recent decision of the Delaware Court of Chancery acknowledged longstanding precedent which prohibits a state court from enjoining proceedings in a federal court. In Schwartz v. Cognizant Technologies Solutions Corporation, C.A. No. 2021-0634-LWW (Del. Ch. March 25, 2022), the court recited several well-established principles barring it from issuing an injunction to interfere with a federal court proceeding–which should be compared to the many decisions that have been discussed on these pages over the last 17 years regarding the well-settled enforceability of forum selection clauses.
Extensive background facts about the underlying advancement litigation appears in a Reuters article that describes the dispute between the parties as “lurid”. Extensive commentary on advancement cases have appeared on these pages over the last 17 years, but this case provides an usual procedural twist.
- The court relied on several United States Supreme Court decisions for the principle that a state court cannot enjoin proceedings in a federal court. See Slip op. at 7-11. The court described it as “black letter law” that an anti-suit injunction was not permissible in this context. Cf. Suits to enforce Delaware forum selection clauses.
- The court distinguished the enforcement of forum selection clauses involving cases in other state courts. See Slip op. at 12.
- The court explained that the federal court where related litigation is pending is the court that will decide whether the forum selection clause before that court should be enforced, and cited several cases where federal courts have routinely enforced forum selection clauses. See Slip op. at 13.