Chancery Stays Advancement Action in Favor of Pending Related Federal Action
The Harmon 1999 Descendants’ Trust v. CGH Investment Management, LLC, C.A. No. 2021-0407-KSJM (Sept. 21, 2021)
Generally, absent unusual circumstances, claims for advancement will not be stayed or dismissed in favor of prior pending litigation. At issue, in this case, was whether the plaintiff was a limited partner or agent of the partnership, which would render the plaintiff a covered person under the agreement and entitle the plaintiff to advancement. However, whether the plaintiff was a limited partner was squarely before a Virginia federal court. The Court of Chancery found that the issue of whether the plaintiff was a limited partner was “a material, factually rife, and disputed issue.” The Virginia action was also in its “penultimate phase,” with trial set less than three months away, and likely was going to resolve the issue before the Court of Chancery could rule. Therefore, the court stayed the Delaware advancement action in favor of the pending Virginia action, finding it would avoid wasting judicial resources, risking inconsistent results, and disrespecting principles of comity.