A Delaware Court of Chancery judge on Tuesday ruled that Twitter's case against Elon Musk for terminating his $44 billion acquisition of the platform will go to trial in October this year.
The ruling puts Twitter at an advantage as it had requested for a trial to begin in September. Musk's legal team had, in turn, asked the court to reject Twitter's "unjustifiable request" and wait for February next year.
Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, in her ruling, agreed with Twitter's reasoning and said that the delay requested by Musk could potentially cause "irreparable harm to the sellers," according to Financial Times.
She left it to the parties to decide on the exact date.
McCormick Doesn’t Bode Well for Musk
Twitter appears to have the upper hand, going into this trial.
The judge presiding over the case, Kathaleen McCormick, has a record of siding with the sellers and has previously forced a buyer to follow through with their acquisition in a similar case.
Her no-nonsense approach doesn't bode well for Musk, said Eric Talley, a Columbia Law School professor who has known McCormick for seven years, according to Business Insider.
Musk's agreement with Twitter allows him to walk away only if Twitter’s securities filings are inaccurate enough to have a 'material adverse effect' (MAE) on the company. Delaware courts almost never accept this argument.
"If it goes to court, Musk has the burden to prove more likely than not, that the spam account numbers not only were false, but they were so false that it will have significant effect on Twitter's earnings going forward," Ann Lipton, a professor at Tulane Law School, told Reuters.
Such legal battles usually end in re-negotiations or settlements, some experts suggest. Others think that even if Twitter wins, the court might ask Musk to pay monetary damages instead of forcing him to buy the platform.
While Twitter is based in Silicon Valley, California, it has taken Musk to court in the eastern state of Delaware where the company is registered.
Because of its company friendly laws, Delaware has become the United States' corporate haven. As a result, Delaware courts are highly experienced in handling corporate disputes.
"The Chancery Court, which handles most of these matters, is very expert in corporate law, and more particularly, mergers and acquisitions. So this is the place to go," Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told AFP.
(With inputs from Reuters, Business Insider, and Financial Times)
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