Chancery Finds Personal Jurisdiction Under Conspiracy Theory of Jurisdiction Based on Trust Domestication
Harris v. Harris, C.A. No. 2019-0736-JTL (Del. Ch. Jan. 16, 2023)
Under the conspiracy theory of personal jurisdiction, when defendants conspire to engage in tortious activities, the Delaware-directed acts of one co-conspirator can be attributed to the other conspirators for the purpose of establishing personal jurisdiction under Delaware’s Long-Arm Statute. Here, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants acted in concert to support the domestication of a trust (specifically, a GRAT) in Delaware for purposes of a larger tortious scheme. Based on these allegations, the Court of Chancery found there was sufficient support to support personal jurisdiction under the conspiracy theory, or minimally to allow for jurisdictional discovery. But the Court also concluded that the discovery was unnecessary because there was evidence of spoliation, which allowed for a pleadings stage inference that the defendants were engaged in a conspiracy sufficient to support personal jurisdiction.