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Delaware judge denies motion for judgment in lawsuit over Pandur, an armored fighting vehicle

By Karen Kidd | Nov 14, 2018


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WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) – A Delaware Superior Court judge recently denied a Washington, D.C.-based energy and security company's motion in its breach of contract litigation with a defense company, saying the motion was premature.

"The Court finds that, at this stage, there are disputes of fact in this case," Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis said in his 13-page denial issued Oct. 31.

Davis handed down the denial in Sarn Energy LLC v. Tatra Defense Vehicle A.S. to SARN's motion for judgment on the pleadings.

The case stems from a disagreement between SARN and Tatra over payment after the former company helped facilitate the latter company's sale of its armored fighting vehicle, the Pandur.

The ruling states Tatra hired SARN to help market the Pandur in the Slovak or Czech republics, a deal the two companies memorialized in January 2016, and agreed to pay SARN $1 million to facilitate sale of 20 Pandurs. 

The following year, the ruling states Tatra entered an agreement with the Czech Ministry of Defense for the $80 million sale of 20 Pandurs, for which the ministry of defense made its initial payment in June 2017. Tatra and made an initial payment of $40,000 to SARN under the agreement, but SARN demanded full payment. When Tatra allegedly refused to pay, SARN filed the breach of contract suit, which ultimately was assigned to the Delaware Superior Court's complex commercial litigation division.

In its motion for judgment on the pleadings, SARN sought judgment in its favor for its fee under its agreement with Tatra, which opposed the motion, arguing it had been filed before all pleadings were closed and that the motion was premature because SARN failed to respond to counterclaim.

Davis did not find that parts of the motion were premature, but disputes remained that prevented him from entering judgment this early in the litigation.

"As was discussed at the hearing, the Court understands that Tatra made a payment under the Agreement and has, at least once, admitted that it was obligated to SARN under the Agreement," Davis wrote.

"These are strong facts in favor of SARN's claims; however, the Court will not, at this stage of the case, enter judgment on the pleadings..."

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