Movant's Pro Se Status Cannot Overcome Statutory Purpose to Provide Quick Review(1)

Bloomberg BNA’s Corporate Law & Accountability Report is available on the Corporate Law Resource Center. This news service keeps corporate practitioners informed of legal developments of...

By Michael Greene 

Oct. 7 — The Delaware Chancery Court denied a pro se defendant's request to reschedule an expedited trial involving the composition of Visenergy, Inc.'s board of directors, citing the purpose of an action filed under 8 Del. C. § 225.

Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard opined that the purpose of Section 225 is to provide a quick method of reviewing the corporate election process, which overcomes even a pro se defendant's personal reasons for requesting a postponement.

Pro Se Status Not Enough

On Sept. 9, 2014, the plaintiff Visenergy stockholder filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment, pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 225, that the actions taken by the majority of company stockholders to remove the pro se defendant as a director and to elect the plaintiff and two others were valid and effective.

Chancellor Bouchard informed the parties during an Oct. 1 teleconference that the matter would be expedited and the parties agreed on Nov. 14 trial date.

Two days later, the pro se defendant requested the trial be postponed until early 2015 because of the “upcoming holidays” and the “time required to run two companies.” The plaintiff opposed this postponement.

In a brief opinion, Chancellor Bouchard denied the pro se defendant's request. Noting that the court is sympathetic to his pro se status, Chancellor Bouchard wrote: “that status does not overcome the exigency of resolving the dispute concerning the composition of Visenergy's board.”

The court additionally found that the time frame for the trial—approximately 60 days after the complaint was filed—was particularly appropriate given that the dispute only involved a narrow issue of the validity of two stockholder written consents.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Greene in Washington at mgreene@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

The opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Salvatore_Peter_J_vs_Visenergy_Inc_Docket_No_10108_Del_Ch_Sept_09.