In the recent decision of Reid v. Siniscalchi, C.A. No. 2874-VCS (Del. Ch. Jan. 30, 2018), the Court of Chancery analyzed the “conspiracy theory” of personal jurisdiction.

According to the Court:

Under the conspiracy theory of personal jurisdiction, the parties to a conspiracy are treated as each other’s agents with respect to acts in furtherance of the conspiracy. Thus, a substantial Delaware act by a conspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy may be attributed to nonresident co-conspirators if the co-conspirators knew or had reason to know of that act and the act “in [Delaware] was a direct and foreseeable result of the conduct in furtherance of the conspiracy.” In turn, if a conspirator’s conduct in furtherance of the conspiracy subjects him to the jurisdiction of Delaware’s courts, then the attribution of that conduct to nonresident co-conspirators will subject all of the conspirators to the jurisdiction of the Delaware courts.

Slip op., at 37 (internal citations omitted).

The case had spanned for over a decade to allow plaintiff to take jurisdictional discovery to support such theory of jurisdiction.  On a motion for summary judgment, the Court determined that the plaintiff “misled the Court by crying ‘victim’ of a Delaware based conspiracy, when, in fact, he was an architect of the very wrongdoing that he claimed provided a basis for the Court to exercise long-arm jurisdiction over [defendant].”  Slip op., at 42.  As such, Vice Chancellor Slights declined to exercise jurisdiction over such non-resident defendant, and granted summary judgment in its favor based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in the State of Delaware and regularly practices before the Delaware Court of Chancery, with an emphasis on shareholder disputes. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.