The Supreme Court of Delaware today reversed a court of chancery order that dismissed a case because a party failed to hire counsel who would commit not to seek withdrawal under any circumstances.  The trial court berated the plaintiffs for their "torpor" and "inexcusable torpor" in prosecuting their derivative case.  And, in grudgingly granting their original counsel’s motion to withdraw, the court threatened to dismiss the action with prejudice unless plaintiffs secured replacement counsel willing to make a "nonwithdrawable appearance."  The Supreme Court sympathized with the trial court’s frustration but held that ethical rules require lawyers to withdraw under some circumstances and that therefore the trial court erred in requiring new counsel to appear on a nonwithdrawable basis.  Parfi Holding AB v. Mirror Image Internet, Inc., No. 344, 2006 (Del. May 9, 2007).

The case appears to have involved — ahem — difficult clients, and the lawyers who withdrew no doubt felt great joy in their release from captivity.  Which raises the question of why anybody would want to take their place, even if they could withdraw.

Blawgletter likes the word "torpor", by the way.  Wikipedia defines it as "a state of regulated hypothermia in an endotherm" — sorta like what bears go through when they hibernate.  Try to work it into conversation.  Torpor.

Barry Barnett

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