Saturday, November 10, 2012
Courts - Delaware Supreme Court rebukes chief judge of the Delaware Court of Chancery for opinion containing nearly a dozen pages of dictum
Peter Lattman reports today in the NY Times in a long story that begins:
As the chief judge of the Delaware Court of Chancery — the country’s most influential court overseeing business cases — Leo E. Strine Jr. has been called an activist. He has also been called an iconoclast, a genius and a humorist.Here is the Delaware Supreme Court opinion, Gatz Properties v. Auriga Capital (Nov. 7, 2012). The slap-down begins on. p. 24 with "For the reasons next discussed, that court’s statutory pronouncements must be regarded as dictum without any precedential value." It concludes:
But this week, Delaware’s highest court called him out of bounds.
The Delaware Supreme Court issued a stinging rebuke of Judge Strine on Wednesday, criticizing him for what it said was an improper digression in an opinion. Judge Strine’s decision related to a contractual dispute but went off on an 11-page tangent about an obscure issue related to limited liability companies.
“The court’s excursus on this issue strayed beyond the proper purview and function of a judicial opinion,” the Supreme Court wrote, adding, “We remind Delaware judges that the obligation to write judicial opinions on the issues presented is not a license to use those opinions as a platform from which to propagate their individual world views on issues not presented.”
Fifth, and finally, the court’s excursus on this issue strayed beyond the proper purview and function of a judicial opinion. “Delaware law requires that a justiciable controversy exist before a court can adjudicate properly a dispute brought before it.” We remind Delaware judges that the obligation to write judicial opinions on the issues presented is not a license to use those opinions as a platform from which to propagate their individual world views on issues not presented. A judge’s duty is to resolve the issues that the parties present in a clear and concise manner. To the extent Delaware judges wish to stray beyond those issues and, without making any definitive pronouncements, ruminate on what the proper direction of Delaware law should be, there are appropriate platforms, such as law review articles, the classroom, continuing legal education presentations, and keynote speeches.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 10, 2012 10:05 AM
Posted to Courts in general