Compared to what might be described as an epistemological analysis of some aspects of Delaware corporate law, this short post is a more practical tool for the toolbox of litigators who can benefit, on a substantive level, from enforcing strict compliance with procedural discovery rules. In the case styled: In re Delaware Public Schools Litigation, C.A. No. 2018-0029-JTL (Del. Ch. May 30, 2024), the Delaware Court of Chancery provides a deep dive into the requirements for fee-shifting if a party denies a request for admission–and the requesting party proves at trial that the fact that was denied should have been admitted.  See Rule 37(c) and Rule 36. [As an aside, a few days ago the Court of Chancery published a recent tranche of revisions to its rules that practitioners should carefully review.]

This extensively footnoted 52-page decision deserves a comprehensive review but for purposes of this short blog post I will provide highlights via bullet points.


●          Although rarely enforced in practice, and often observed in the breach, the court elucidates the proper way to object to discovery, with citations to extensive support to explain why commonly used boilerplate objections to discovery requests may result in waiver. Valid discovery objections must satisfy three requirements: (1) the objections must specifically apply to the facts of the case; (2) if information is being provided subject to an objection, the objection must clarify how the objection is applied; and (3) the responding party must explain what information is being provided notwithstanding the objection. See Slip op. at 18 and accompanying footnotes.

●          This scholarly opinion explains why Rule 36 allows requests for admissions of “ultimate facts”—but not requests for admissions of “legal conclusions.” The decision cites to and discusses applicable case law that helps to determine the boundaries of those two ends of the spectrum.  See Slip op. at 25-39.

●          In connection with awarding fees, the court reviews the standard to determine what reasonable hourly rate the court will allow, as well as the reasoning to buttress the unwillingness of the court to review bills “line by line.” See Slip op. at 43-50.