Delaware Supreme Court Imposes 5 PM Filing Deadline for Most State Court Cases

By order dated July 18, 2018, the Delaware Supreme Court has required that all state court impose a 5 p.m. filing deadline for electronic filings, with limited exceptions:

The courts shall amend their rules and/or electronic filing policies to require that all electronic filings in non-expedited matters, except for initial pleadings and notices of appeal, must be completed by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time in order to be considered timely filed that day. All initial pleadings, notices of appeal, and electronic filings in expedited matters must be completed before midnight Eastern Time in order to be considered timely filed that day, except for expedited matters where the parties have agreed upon, or the court has ordered, a different filing deadline. The 5:00 p.m. filing deadline shall become effective September 14, 2018.

The Supreme Court also encouraged state courts to adopt policies disfavoring

(i) filing due dates on Mondays or the day after a holiday in non-expedited matters; (ii) the issuance of non-expedited opinions addressing dispositive motions or post-trial relief after 4:00 p.m. as a general matter and after noon on Fridays; and (iii) the scheduling of oral arguments and trials in August, except in expedited matters or where there is an important reason for proceeding at that time.

The move came after the Court's review of Shaping Delaware's Competitive Edge: A Report To the Delaware Judiciary on Improving the Quality of Lawyering in Delawarea report submitted and endorsed by a number of prominent members of the Delaware Bar. However, as the report itself notes, almost none of the measures recommended therein enjoy majority support among Delaware attorneys, and the 5 pm filing deadline was particularly unpopular.