Avaya, Inc. v. Charter Commc’ns Holding Co., LLCAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a Master Purchase/Service Agreement (MPSA) containing a provision that, under certain conditions, allowed the prevailing party in a dispute arising under the MPSA to recovery attorneys’ fees. Plaintiff brought suit in the Delaware Superior Court, and then Defendant filed in New Jersey. The venue dispute ended with the Delaware Superior Court granting Defendant’s motion to stay in favor of the New Jersey action, which effectively mooted the Delaware action. Plaintiff sought a voluntary dismissal, but Defendant wanted dismissal with prejudice and to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in the action. The Court of Chancery dismissed this action under Court of Chancery Rule 419(a)(2), without prejudice. As a condition of dismissal, the Court retained jurisdiction to award attorneys’ fees and costs to Defendant in accordance with the MPSA, holding (1) dismissal without prejudice was appropriate as to the venue dispute; and (2) while waiting for the final outcome of the New Jersey action would be the preferable approach before awarding attorneys’ fees, at this point, under the terms of the MPSA, Defendant was entitled to its attorneys’ fees that were incurred in this action.