Federal court tosses Delaware lawsuit over forced company sale

TransPerfect protest outside Leg. Hall in Dover

Supporters of a bill that would prevent the sale of TransPerfect gather outside Legislative Hall in Dover in June. (Zoë Read/WHYY)

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Delaware judge’s decision ordering the sale of a successful New York-based translation company because the relationship between the company’s two co-founders and sole directors had become dysfunctional.

In dismissing the lawsuit by Philip Shawe, the judge on Tuesday cited a doctrine barring federal district courts from hearing cases that are essentially appeals from state-court judgments.

The ruling is the latest in a legal saga pitting Philip Shawe against his former fiancée Elizabeth Elting. The two co-founded TransPerfect Global, which provides translation, website localization and other services, with offices in scores of cities worldwide.

In a ruling upheld by Delaware’s Supreme Court, a Chancery judge ordered the privately held company sold because Shawe and Elting were hopelessly deadlocked over its management.

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