Delaware Corporate Law Update

Updates on Delaware Corporate Law by Evan O. Williford, Esq., Delaware Corporate Litigation Attorney.

Delaware Courts: New Five P.M. Deadline

The Delaware Supreme Court recently ordered a new 5:00 p.m. deadline for most Delaware state court filings to be considered timely filed that day.  The action follows on the heels of the District Court’s 6:00 p.m. filing deadline, adopted in 2014.  Wise Delaware and out-of-state counsel will carefully consider any necessary measures (such as moving work to the day before) this new deadline will require.

The order comes into effect September 14.  All filings in non-expedited cases before Delaware state courts – except initial pleadings and notices of appeal – must be made before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time to be considered timely filed that day.

This change comes based on a report recommending this and several other changes to improve work/life balance for lawyers and their staff.  The report noted that this in particular was a “contested” change.  The report recognizes a criticism that the earlier deadline will simply result in more work on the previous day (or night).  However, the report argues that when late filings are “the result of the human tendency to delay until any deadline, especially on the part of those who do not bear the worst consequences of delay, what can result is a dispiriting and unnecessary requirement for litigators and support staff to routinely be in the office late at night to file papers that could have been filed during the business day.”  And in the case of expedited filings, where procrastination may be less of a factor, the deadline remains midnight.

The Supreme Court also ordered Delaware courts to consider other work/life balance policies discouraging (1) deadlines on Mondays or the day after a holiday, (2) court opinions deciding dispositive motions or post-trial relief after noon on Fridays or 4:00 p.m. any other day, and (3) scheduling oral arguments or trials in August.

Delaware and out-of-state counsel would do well to reflect on the changes in workflow that will be necessary to submit the same high-quality, often labor-intensive work product.  As Francis Pileggi notes in his blog, California counsel will need to complete any work on filings several hours before typical close of business there.  And if there is extra work the day before that is not certain to be completed the next day (whether that be from procrastination, miscommunication, or simply the human condition), any overtime/nighttime work will have to be done the night before.

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Filed under: Court of Chancery, Delaware Supreme Court, Expedited

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Disclaimer

Delaware Corporate Law Update solely reflect the views of Evan Williford of The Williford Firm, LLP. Its purpose is to provide general information concerning Delaware law; no representation is made about the accuracy of any information contained herein, and it may or may not be updated to reflect subsequent relevant events. This website is not intended to provide legal advice. It does not form any attorney-client relationship and it is not a substitute for one.