“What’s going on in Delaware”
This is my 4th article in a series spotlighting the recent practices and apparent bias in one of the Delaware Chancery Court Cases which has gleaned significant public attention.
In my last article in this series I focused on the Elting v. Shawe case involving the company Transperfect, a translation company with 4,000 employees and 90 offices throughout the world. For those of you who might be just joining this series, this is a case involving the highly-connected Democratic activist Andre Bouchard who was appointed Chief Chancellor of the Chancery Court although he never served a day on the bench. His appointment by Governor Markell was never questioned and in my first article I pointed out how Bouchard seemed to be part of the rampant cronyism widespread in the Delaware Court System.
If there was ever a reason to question these type of practices and the harm they can cause to the people of Delaware, the Transperfect case is a shining example. You may recognize this case by now from my previous missives: This is the one where Chancellor Bouchard in one of his very first cases appointed a custodian to oversee an auction of this quite profitable company. What makes this unique is that Chancellor Bouchard’s decision was unprecedented in the history of Delaware and its implications can have a chilling effect on the future of Delaware as the corporate capital of the United States. The people of Delaware have every reason to be concerned as 14 percent of all jobs in Delaware are created as a result of this franchise and this decision has raised eyebrows up and down the legislative hallways.
However, this decision has more immediate repercussions to the 4,000 employees of TransPerfect who have started a committee to amend statute 226…. to prevent this type of unprecedented judicial activism that has a good chance of leading to the loss of many jobs and possibly lead to the demise of this company which has never failed to have a profitable year in its 24-year history.
The aspects of this case are quite fascinating. After reading many of the motions and testimony in this dispute what made it so unusual was not only was it the first decision of it’s kind coming from a freshman jurist but that there was an obvious prejudice by Judge Bouchard who completely ignored the overwhelming evidence presented by Defendant Shawe that indicated many questionable irregularities by the plaintiff. Ten witnesses testified on behalf of Mr. Shawe while Ms. Elting presented none. This prejudice amplified when the judge refused to allow communications on company emaiIs between Elting and her husband Michael Burlandt, the company real estate broker, to be presented in court showing further evidence of a nefarious scheme to debunk the status quo of TransPerfect to the detriment of its founder Phil Shawe.
If the ruling by Chancellor Bouchard to auction a profitable company (which makes over $500 million dollars a year) and forcibly take it away from it’s visionary founder Phil Shawe wasn’t strange enough, then how do you explain such a ruling that appeared to be based entirely on Elting’s questionable testimony? Shawe, on the other hand, was not allowed to present relevant and beneficial evidence to make his case. Furthermore, much evidence that was presented by Shawe which put Elting in a very bad light, was completely ignored by Chancellor Bouchard. Apparently Ms. Elting tried to remove Mr. Shawe as CEO in a New York State Court prior to coming down to Delaware, where the judge summarily threw her case out not in small part due to the fact that 110 employees submitted affidavits on behalf of Mr. Shawe. As in the Delaware case Ms. Elting presented none, yet Chancellor Bouchard apparently didn’t care. The appearance of improprieties and substantial court bias throughout this whole case are outrageous, and any logical observer could ascertain grounds for an appeal.
Regardless of the negative effect this arbitrary and capricious ruling could have onDelaware’s lucrative corporate bonanza, any logical person who has followed the case as I have, can clearly recognize that fairness and justice have not been adjudicated. There is much more to talk about, so more articles are coming. As always my opinions are open for discussion and your comments are welcome.
New York Times Agrees that Delaware Chancery Has Too Much Power
- Who Decides ‘Fair Value?’ In Dell’s Case, a Judge
Andrew Sorkin writes about the difficulties in Delaware’s Chancery Court’s control. In a story about Dell, the Delaware Chancellor determines fair value, not the market.
Always on Delaware’s Side
JUDSON Bennett-Coastal Network