Articles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery

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Charles and Melissa Dalton obtained a loan from Household Finance Corporation II that was secured by a mortgage on their property. The Daltons received a trial period plan pursuant to a Trial Period Plan Agreement. The Daltons’ loan was later sold to LSF9 Master Participation Trust, and the servicing of the Daltons’ loan was transferred to Caliber Home Loans, Inc. The Daltons filed this action against LSF9 and Caliber alleging, inter alia, breach of the Trial Period Plan Agreement and seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining LSF9 and Caliber from terminating the Daltons’ loan modification. The Court of Chancery dismissed all claims against LSF9 and Caliber, holding (1) LSF9 and Caliber were not parties nor successors in interest to the Trial Period Plan Agreement; (2) LSF9 and Caliber were not parties to the consent orders between Household Finance and the United States Department of the Treasury; (3) the Daltons failed to state a claim for unjust enrichment; and (4) the Daltons failed to allege a reasonable probability of success on the merits or imminent threat of irreparable injury. View "Dalton v. Household Finance Corp., II" on Justia Law

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Freestone Insurance Company was a Delaware-domiciled insurer that was placed in liquidation. The liquidation proceeding was governed by the Uniform Insurers Liquidation Act (the Uniform Act). The order that placed Freestone into liquidation contained an injunction (the Anti-Suit Injunction) barring third parties from pursuing claims against Freestone other than through the statutory process for receiving evaluating, and paying claims (the Claims Process). U.S. Bank National Association (the Bank) moved to lift the Anti-Suit Injunction, claiming that it wished to litigate against Freestone outside of the Claims Process and establish the amount of its claims and its status as a general creditor of Freestone. The Court of Chancery denied the Bank’s motion, holding that granting relief on the facts of this case would contravene the policies of the Uniform Act, interfere with the Claims Process, and impose unnecessary costs on Freestone and the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Delaware, who was serving as the receiver for Freestone. View "In re Liquidation of Freestone Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking the partition by sale of property owned by her deceased father and distribution of the proceeds to the three cotenants, herself, her sister Claudia, and her brother Benjamin. Claudia filed a counterclaim and cross-claim against Plaintiff, Benjamin, Benjamin's wife, Homeowners Loan Corporation (HLC), and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) for, among other things, a declaratory judgment that she had a life estate in the property. The Court of Chancery found in favor of Plaintiff and her request for a partition of the property. Claudia was then evicted from the property by a trustee appointed by the court to oversee the sale of the property. Thereafter, Plaintiff sought reimbursement for several expenses. HLC and MERS sought attorneys' fees and rent payments. The Court of Chancery awarded a total of $12,098 to Plaintiff for attorneys' fees, rent payments, funeral expenses, and trustee's fees. The Court also awarded $2,166 in rent payments to HLC and MERS and requested an itemized list of fees incurred as a result of Claudia's behavior that was found to be vexatious or in bad faith. View "Brown v. Wiltbank" on Justia Law

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Central Mortgage and Morgan Stanley entered into a contract concerning the purchase of servicing rights for loans that Morgan Stanley planned to sell to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the agencies) and private investors. Subsequently, many of the loans for which Morgan Stanley sold the servicing rights began to fall delinquent. The agencies exercised their contract right to put delinquent agency loans back to Central Mortgage. Central Mortgage then filed a complaint against Morgan Stanley for breach of contract. The Chancery Court granted Morgan Stanley's motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the claims were legally sufficient to withstand the motion. Central Mortgage then filed an amended complaint to add new claims for additional agency loans (new loans) that had been put back by the agencies and to challenge the private loans. Morgan Stanley moved to dismiss the amended complaint. The Chancery Court (1) denied the motion to dismiss to the extent that it rehashed theories that the Court and Supreme Court already considered in the context of its original motion to dismiss; but (2) granted the motion to dismiss the claims related to the new loans because those claims were barred by Delaware's statute of limitations. View "Central Mortgage Co. v. Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings LLC" on Justia Law

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In this derivative action, the parties sought judicial approval of a settlement. Defendants agreed to pay the Fund, on whose behalf the derivative claims were brought, and agreed not to pursue claims for indemnification against the Fund. Certain limited partners in the Fund, including the named plaintiffs, objected to the settlement consideration as inadequate. The court held that the settlement consideration fell within a range of fairness, albeit at the low end. Because the consideration fell within the range of fairness, the court will approve the settlement unless the objectors make the equivalent of a topping bid. View "Forsythe, et al. v. ESC Fund Management Co. (U.S.), Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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This action was before the court on a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin the consummation of a proposed restructuring of a mortgage loan secured by certain resorts properties in Mexico and the Bahamas. Holders of more senior participations claim that the proposed transaction unfairly benefited the junior holder at the expense of the more senior holders in direct contravention of the terms of the agreements controlling the debt. The senior holders further claimed that if the proposed transaction was allowed to close, they would suffer irreparable harm through the loss of certain rights and guaranties under the new terms of the loan. The court concluded that the senior holders have stated colorable claims and made a sufficient showing that they would suffer imminent harm if the proposed transaction were allowed to close. Further, the court found that this potential irreparable harm outweighed the harm that would result to the junior holders by delaying the closing for a few weeks until a preliminary injunction could be heard. Accordingly, the court granted the TRO.

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When Morgan Joseph Holdings, an investment bank in which Petitioners held preferred stock, merged with another investment bank, Petitioners demanded appraisal instead of exchanging their shares. At issue was (1) the correct interpretation of Morgan Joseph's certificate of incorporation and whether the automatic redemption of the stock under the certificate was a mandatory redemption that was not subject to a requirement that Morgan Joseph have excess cash available; and (2) whether the automatic redemption right afforded to the stock holders was irrelevant to the fair value analysis in an appraisal. The Chancery Court granted Petitioners' motion for partial summary judgment, holding (1) under the certificate, automatic redemptions were not subject to an excess cash requirement; and (2) the automatic redemption was relevant to the Court's determination of fair value in an appraisal proceeding.

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Plaintiff alleged that defendant had a personal bank account at Fulton Financial Corporation (Fulton), of which his wife could be a joint holder. Plaintiff sought a temporary restraining order enjoining both defendant and his wife from using the funds or removing them from Fulton, pending a final disposition of its claim that the funds were wrongfully removed by defendant from plaintiff's account. The court held that while the complaint stated a colorable claim, the court was unpersuaded that irreparable harm would result absent the entry of a restraining order, ex parte. The court also held that where, as here, the plaintiff sought to freeze the funds of an account legally held, not only by the alleged wrongdoer but jointly by an innocent third party, a request for ex parte action raised concerns of due process. Therefore, since plaintiff failed to show that irreparable harm would occur absent entry of a temporary restraining order ex parte, the court deferred decision on the restraining order request pending service and an opportunity for defendant to be heard.

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This case arose when Commerzbank agreed to acquire Dresdner Bank in September 2008. As part of the deal, Commerzbank also acquired Dresdner Bank's trust preferred structures, and holders of Dresdner's trust preferred securities received distributions in both 2009 and 2010. Plaintiff claimed that paying those distributions "pushed," or required Commerzbank to make distributions on, a class of its owned preferred securities in which plaintiff had an interest, and, by the complaint, plaintiff asked the court to enforce that alleged obligation. Plaintiff also sought specific performance of a support agreement that was argued to require the elevation of the liquidation preference of Commerzbank's trust preferred securities in response to a restructuring of one class of the Dresdner securities. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The court held, among other things, that because the DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim under the Pusher Provision. The court also held that because DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities or Junior Securities, Section 6 of the Support Undertaking was not triggered by amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates. Accordingly, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim that the amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates required defendants to amend the Trusted Preferred Securities.