In a decision dated March 09, 2016, The Superior Court of The State of Delaware denied DuPont’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit between Charge Injection Technologies, Inc. (CIT) and E. I. DuPont De Nemours & Company.
DuPont alleged that CIT engaged in champerty and maintenance when CIT entered in to a finance agreement with Burford Capital Ltd. to pay for legal fees. Further, DuPont alleged that Burford Capital Ltd. was given legal rights to interfere with the lawsuit. It is these allegations that prompted DuPont’s motion to dismiss.
This decision brings about the below questions regarding champerty and maintenance.
What exactly are champerty and maintenance?
Champerty refers to an agreement entered in to by one party in a lawsuit and a third person, who is not a party in the lawsuit. The nonparty assumes some or all of the cost of the lawsuit in hopes of receiving a portion of the proceeds recovered.
Maintenance is the intervention in lawsuit by a nonparty.
Why do we have champerty and maintenance laws?
Champerty and maintenance laws, which date back to medieval England, were established to discourage frivolous lawsuits backed by unscrupulous nobles in exchange for a portion of the recovered property.
What does the decision in Delaware have to do with me?
The Superior Court of The State of Delaware found that CIT had not engaged champerty and maintenance, which means that CIT legally obtained funds needed to continue their existing lawsuit against DuPont.
This landmark decision supports the modern belief that lack of finance should not be a hindrance for seeking the justice you deserve.