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Showing one post in Equitable Defenses and Remedies.

Formulaic Recitations of Equitable Jurisdiction Are Not Enough for Court of Chancery Jurisdiction

Posted In Chancery, Equitable Defenses and Remedies, Jurisdiction

Athene Life and Annuity Co. v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co., C.A. No. 2018-0244-SG (Del. Ch. July 31, 2019).

The Court of Chancery is a court of limited jurisdiction. It maintains subject matter jurisdiction only for (i) equitable claims, (ii) when equitable relief is sought and no adequate remedy is available at law, or (iii) where a statute confers jurisdiction.  Applying well-recognized equitable jurisdiction principles, the Court dismissed this breach of contract action.  Although Plaintiffs sought equitable relief in the form of specific performance and an injunction, their request for equitable relief was merely a “formulaic incantation” rather than substantive.  Applying a realistic assessment of the nature of the wrong alleged and the remedy available at law, the Court concluded that a legal remedy for the breach of contract claim was available in the form of a declaratory judgment and damages, and fully adequate. Normally when a court issues a declaratory judgment establishing the parties’ respective contract rights, the court will not presume that the defendant will fail to abide by the court’s ruling in the future requiring an injunction to secure performance. A real threat of continuing injury must be shown, which was absent here. More ›