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Chancery Refuses to Impose Additional Conditions on Voluntary Dismissal of Claims Subject to Advancement

Sal Gilbertie, et al. v. Dale Riker, et al., C.A. No. 2020-1018-LWW (Del. Ch.)
The Delaware Court of Chancery frequently hears advancement disputes, wherein officers or directors of Delaware entities seek to enforce their right to the ongoing payment of legal fees in the defense of claims brought against them. Sometimes, as in this case, a plaintiff entity moves to voluntarily dismiss its claims rather than to pay the freight for both sides. Here, the plaintiffs sought to dismiss the pending claims subject to advancement with prejudice after the Court granted the defendants advancement in a separate action. The defendants opposed the plaintiffs’ motion and sought to impose additional conditions on any dismissal under the Court of Chancery rule governing voluntary, court-approved dismissals, including conditions related to advancement and a finding that the defendants had prevailed on the merits. The Court rejected the defendants’ requests because the advancement relief could be considered under the controlling Fitracks order, and any characterization was premature given the remaining counterclaims. Thus, the Court granted the voluntary motion to dismiss without any conditions.

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