In the case of State of Delaware v. MERSCORP, Inc., C.A. No. 6987-CS, the Court issued a letter opinion addressing whether to grant a motion to intervene in the matter filed by Mr. La Mar Gunn. This decision is important in that it highlights the requirements that must be met in order to successfully intervene in an action either as a matter of right under Court of Chancery Rule 24(a), or permissively under Rule 24(b).
As way of background, the State of Delaware commenced this matter alleging that defendants engaged in deceptive trade practices in violation of 6 Del. C. § 2532. Mr. Gunn sought to intervene as a right under Rule 24(a), and alternatively that permissive intervention should be granted under Rule 24(b). Both the State and defendants opposed the motion.
In determining the motion to intervene, the Court stated that Rule 24(a) requires the court to allow intervention “when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant’s ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant’s interest is adequately represented by existing parties.” The Court determined that Mr. Gunn did not have an “interest” at risk in the litigation given that he merely was in possession of documents that may be relevant to the matter, and therefore denied the request under Rule 24(a).
The Court further indicated that under Rule 24(b), permissive intervention is available at the court’s discretion “when an applicant’s claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. In exercising its discretion the Court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties.”
The Court denied Mr. Gunn’s application under Rule 24(b) given that he does not present any question of law or fact in common with the State’s action, and does not advance any claims against MERS itself, and his legal concerns. Further, the Court indicated that granting the motion would likely unduly delay the State’s action. Accordingly, the Court denied Mr. Gunn’s motion to intervene in full.