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Court of Chancery Amends Court of Chancery Rules 6(e), 10, and 171

By Sara E. Bussiere

As of February 1, 2014, Court of Chancery Rule 6(e) was amended. It no longer permits an additional three days to respond to documents served by LexisNexis E-File & Serve.  Prior to the amendment, parties served by mail or by e-file received an additional three days to respond to served documents.  Now, the additional three-day period is limited to parties served by mail.  (see Ct. Ch. R. 6(e)).

Effective April 1, 2014, Rule 10 (Form of pleadings) and Rule 171 (Briefs) will provide new formatting requirements for Court of Chancery filings, which will dramatically affect the forms of briefs and pleadings are filed in the Court of Chancery.

Court of Chancery Rule 10, which sets forth the requirements for pleadings, will now require:

  • Answers to complaints, counterclaims, and cross-claims to list the text of the allegations in the pleading to which it is responding, followed by the response below each allegation (see Ct. Ch. R. 10(b));
  • Filed documents, including letters, to conform with the following formatting requirements (see Ct. Ch. R. 10(d)):
  • Opaque, unglazed white 8 ½ x 11 inch paper (unchanged);
  • Double space between each line of text – except quotations and footnotes;
  • At least 1-inch margins on all sides of page;
  • Times New Roman font; and
  • 14-point typeface of all text.

Court of Chancery Rule 171(d)  which governs the formatting for briefs and memoranda, will provide:

  • All briefs and memoranda must be bound along the left side and printed on 8 ½ x 11 inch paper (see Ct. Ch. R. 171(d)(3);
  • All briefs and memoranda must have double spacing between each line of text – except for quotations and footnotes (see Ct. Ch. R. 171(d)(3));
  • All briefs and memoranda shall use Times New Roman font with 14-point typeface, including text in footnotes (see Ct. Ch. R. 171(d)(4)); and
  • All margins  in briefs and memoranda shall be not less than 1 inch on all sides (see Ct. Ch. R. 171(d)(3)).

In addition, the Court of Chancery has instituted a word limit for briefs under Rule 171(f), which applies to all briefs unless the Court provides “express permission” for more words:

  • Main and Answering Briefs: 14,000 words or less (see Ct. Ch. R. 171(f)(1));
  • Reply Briefs: 8,000 words or less (see Ct. Ch. R. 171(f)(1)).

The word requirement excludes the front cover, table of contents, table of citations, signature block, and any footer included pursuant to Rule 5.1(c).

Finally, Court of Chancery Rule 171(f)(2)(A) requires parties to submit  a Certificate of Compliance with any brief or memorandum, stating that the brief or memorandum complies with the “typeface requirement and typeface volume limitation.”  The Certificate of Compliance must state the number of words in the brief or memorandum.  Form 6 in the Appendix of Forms provides a sample Certificate of Compliance.

Copies of the amendments to Court of Chancery Rules 6(e), 10, and 171 can be found here.

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