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Wenske v. Blue Bell Creameries, Inc.

Court of Chancery of Delaware

August 28, 2019

Ms. Mary Giddings WENSKE, Individually and as Trustee of the Thomas Hunter Giddings, Jr. Trust U/W/O Thomas H. Giddings Dated 5/23/2000, Plaintiffs,
v.
BLUE BELL CREAMERIES, INC., Blue Bell Creameries, U.S.A., Inc., Paul W. Kruse, Jim E. Kruse, Howard W. Kruse, Greg Bridges, Richard Dickson, William J. Rankin, Diana Markwardt, John W. Barnhill, Jr., Paul A. Ehlert, Dorothy McLeod MacInerney, Patricia Ryan, Defendants. and Blue Bell Creameries, L.P., Nominal Defendant.

         Date Submitted: July 15, 2019

          Corrected: August 30, 2019

Page 959

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 960

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 961

          Jessica Zeldin, Esquire of Rosenthal, Monhait & Goddess, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware and Scott G. Burdine, Esquire and David E. Wynne, Esquire of Burdine Wynne LLP, Houston, Texas, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

         Timothy R. Dudderar, Esquire of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Defendants Blue Bell Creameries, U.S.A., Inc., Jim E. Kruse, Howard W. Kruse, Richard Dickson, William J. Rankin, Diana Markwardt, John W. Barnhill, Jr., Paul A. Ehlert, Dorothy McLeod MacInerney and Patricia Ryan.

         Srinivas M. Raju, Esquire and Kelly L. Freund, Esquire of Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Defendants Greg Bridges and Paul W. Kruse.

         Paul A. Fioravanti, Jr., Esquire and John G. Day, Esquire of Prickett, Jones & Elliott, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware and Hugh C. Connor II, Esquire, Michael D. Anderson, Esquire and Caleb B. Bulls, Esquire of Kelly Hart & Hallman, LLP, Fort Worth, Texas, Attorneys for Defendant Blue Bell Creameries, Inc. and Blue Bell Creameries, U.S.A., Inc.

         Joseph B. Cicero, Esquire and Gregory E. Stuhlman, Esquire of Chipman Brown Cicero & Cole, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Nominal Defendant Blue Bell Creameries, L.P.

         Michael J. Maimone, Esquire and Joseph C. Schoell, Esquire of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Special Litigation Committee of Blue Bell Creameries, L.P.

          OPINION

         SLIGHTS, Vice Chancellor

         This derivative action arises from alleged failures by Defendant, Blue Bell Creameries, Inc. ("BBGP"), as sole general partner of Nominal Defendant, Blue Bell Creameries, LLP ("Blue Bell" or the "Partnership"), to operate the Partnership in compliance with the governing standards set forth in the Partnership’s Limited Partnership Agreement (the "LPA"). The consequences of these failures, it is alleged, were widespread contamination at Blue Bell’s ice cream production facilities, a listeria outbreak infecting scores of Blue Bell customers, a temporary shutdown of Blue Bell’s operations and hundreds of millions of dollars of lost profits. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ claims under Court of Chancery Rules 12(b)(6) and 23.1. The Court denied the ...


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