Simmons Hanly Conroy Client Prevails on Important Statute of Limitations Issue in Delaware Supreme Court

On April 9, 2009, Simmons Hanly Conroy won a significant victory for its client – and for plaintiffs generally – when the Supreme Court of Delaware, sitting en banc, unanimously ruled that a plaintiff who had previously sued in Texas – and whose case had been dismissed in Texas for lack of personal jurisdiction – could bring a new action in Delaware, even though the Delaware Statute of Limitations had by then expired. The Court agreed with Simmons Hanly Conroy’s argument, presented by shareholder Tom Sheridan, that, pursuant to the Delaware “Saving Statute,” the plaintiff had one year from the final termination of his Texas lawsuit to commence a new action in Delaware. Represented by other lawyers, the plaintiff had originally sued in Texas in 2001, and he litigated his case all the way to an unsuccessful petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court in 2006. Plaintiff then retained Simmons Hanly Conroy and started a new lawsuit in Delaware. The Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed the new case, ruling that the one-year period of the Saving Statute had begun to run in March of 2006 when the Texas Supreme Court denied a motion by plaintiff for a rehearing. Since the plaintiff sued in Delaware in April 2007, the Court of Chancery ruled that the new Delaware lawsuit had been filed too late. Reversing the lower court, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the Texas action did not fully terminate, for purposes of the Saving Statute, until the United States Supreme Court denied plaintiff’s petition for certiorari in October 2006. Measuring the one-year period from that date, plaintiff’s Delaware action was timely. The lawsuit, Reid v. Siniscalchi, is a derivative action involving claims arising from a joint venture to finance Russian communications satellites.