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Joseph C. Leonard

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Showing 8 posts by Joseph C. Leonard.

Chancery Rules that Multiple Egregious Discovery Abuses Lead to the Ultimate Sanction


DG BF, LLC v. Ray, C.A. No. 2020-0459-MTZ (Del. Ch. Nov. 19, 2021)
Delaware courts may impose sanctions on parties that refuse to comply with court orders or neglect their own discovery obligations. Possible sanctions may include, among other things, monetary penalties, an instruction of adverse inference, or the ultimate sanction of default judgment against the offending party. These sanctions are imposed to remedy the wrongs at-issue and to deter abusive discovery conduct. More ›

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Chancery Finds Former Directors Bringing Wrongful Termination Claims Were Not Entitled to all Privileged Communications During Their Board Tenures, and Shifts Some Fees for Inadequate Privilege Logs


SerVaas v. Ford Smart Mobility LLC, C.A. No. 2020-0909-LWW (Del. Ch. Nov. 9, 2021)
With limited exceptions, directors normally have “unfettered” access to corporate information. This decision indicates, however, that the same may not hold true for former directors who do not challenge their removal as directors and who seek documents for reasons unrelated to their prior board service. Here, the Court of Chancery denied a motion to compel by two former directors who challenged the termination of their employment, and who sought in discovery all of the documents the corporation withheld as a privilege from their time as directors.  More ›

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Chancery Denies Motion to Compel Director’s Privileged Communications Stored on Third-Party’s Email Server


In Re Dell Technologies Inc Class V Stockholders Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 2018-0816-JTL (Del. Ch. Sept. 17, 2021) (TRANSCRIPT)
A director utilizing an email account associated with a different company for board service communications might unintentionally compromise otherwise privileged communications. Here, a member of Dell’s board of directors served on a special committee and utilized an email account associated with his former employer to communicate with the committee’s lawyers. Plaintiff moved to compel the production of otherwise privileged communications on his account, raising the question of whether the director had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his communications. More ›

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Chancery Finds Adversity Between Directors and Formation of Special Committee Shields Against Production of Company-Privileged Information


In re: Howard Midstream Energy Partners, LLC, C.A. No. 2021-0487-LWW (Del. Ch. Sept. 22, 2021)
Issues of corporate privilege among directors entail a fact-specific analysis when a dispute arises among them. Here, the Court of Chancery considered a motion to compel brought by former directors and officers who claimed they were “ambushed” in a corporate “coup.” Because the directors should have considered themselves adverse to the corporation, and because a special committee was formed to deal with the petitioners’ potential separation from the company, the Court denied the petitioners’ motion to compel communications between the other directors and the company withheld as privileged.  More ›

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Chancery Addresses Records Custodian Discovery Dispute


Fortis Advisors LLC v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., C.A. No. 2021-0881-LWW (Del. Ch. Sept. 21, 2021)
Initial productions may raise new issues, including whether additional custodial collections might be necessary. While the bar for discoverability generally is low, the work and cost involved in collecting, processing, and analyzing data may be significant, and discovery demands may be disproportionate to the needs of the case. Delaware courts balance these important interests when faced with questions regarding the appropriate scope of discovery. More ›

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In Unusual Circumstances, Chancery Declines to Stay Discovery Pending Motion to Dismiss

Posted In Chancery, Discovery


Edward Deane, et al. v. Robert Maginn, Jr., C.A. No. 2017-0346-LWW (Del. Ch. Sept. 8, 2021)
Delaware courts often grant a motion to stay discovery pending the resolution of a potentially case-dispositive motion to dismiss. In “[t]he unique circumstances of this case,” however, the Court of Chancery denied a stay. The court focused on the parties’ responsibility to adhere to the discovery schedule to which they previously agreed. More ›

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Chancery Declines to Order Production of Privileged Document


Drachman v. BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., C.A. No. 2019-0728-LWW (Del. Ch. Aug. 25, 2021)
Drachman addresses the attorney-client privilege, certain exceptions thereto, including the Garner doctrine, and waiver. Plaintiffs moved to compel the production of a redacted document over which defendants asserted privilege. The document in question was part of an email thread, or group of related communications, that included the advice of counsel and was produced across multiple documents with inconsistent redactions. One version of the communication “slipped through the cracks,” and was produced without redactions before being clawed back by the defendants under the confidentiality order entered in the case. More ›

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Chancery Addresses Common Interest and Privilege Log Issues in Matter Involving Special Discovery Master


Buttonwood Tree Value Partner, L.P. v. R.L. Polk & Co., Inc., et al., C.A. No. 9250-VCG (Del Ch. Jul. 30, 2021)

With increasing frequency, the Court of Chancery is appointing Special Discovery Masters and Discovery Facilitators as discovery issues continue becoming more complex and time-intensive. With those appointments also comes the opportunity for litigants to challenge the findings of those Special Masters and Facilitators and force the Court’s de novo review. This is just such a case. More ›

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jleonard@morrisjames.com
T 302.888.6872
Joseph Leonard is an eDiscovery attorney in the Corporate and Commercial Litigation Group at Morris James. His practice involves partnering with in-house legal, IT, records …
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