Keener v. Isken

In Keener v. Isken, 58 A.3d 407, 2013 WL 22087 (Del. 2013), the plaintiff's attorney mistakenly believed that an additional filing by the defense permitted the plaintiff another twenty days to file a response to a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court in that case found that the party's neglect in the matter was excusable. In Keener, the Court explicitly reaffirmed the principle that the requirements to gain relief from a final judgment are to be liberally construed in favor of deciding cases on the merits. In Keener v. Isken, counsel failed to meet a deadline based upon a mistaken belief as to the proper filing. In reversing the Superior Court's refusal to reopen the case, the Supreme Court concluded that trial courts must afford adequate weight to Delaware's policy of favoring trials on the merits, and should consider all the surrounding circumstances before determining that a party should be deprived his or her day in court. Following a thorough examination of counsel's error under a Rule 60(b) analysis, the Supreme Court stated that the appellant "was wrong, but a person can be reasonably prudent yet still be mistaken."