Recent News

Parsons' Retirement Continues High-Profile Bench Reshuffle

By Michael A. Riccardi |

When Collins J. "C.J." Seitz Jr. was sworn in as Delaware's newest Supreme Court justice in May, it was seen as the end of a year-long reshuffling on the high court, one that also had an impact on the Court of Chancery, seen as the state's other high-profile bench, as Leo E. Strine Jr. was elevated from chancellor to chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Superior Court Lacks Jurisdiction in Delmarva Billing Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The New Castle County Superior Court has ruled it does not have jurisdiction in a class action filed against the Delmarva power company for overcharging for electricity.

Workers' Compensation Dismissal Bars Negligence Lawsuit

By Ben Seal |

A man who pursued workers' compensation benefits with the Industrial Accident Board is barred by the election of remedies doctrine from pursuing a negligence suit against his employer, despite the IAB rejecting his efforts, the New Castle County Superior Court has ruled.

Saul Ewing Partner Elected Appoquinimink Board President

Saul Ewing partner Richard A. Forsten was elected president of the Appoquinimink Board of Education for the 2015-16 school term.


Morris James Attorney to Participate in Bankruptcy Panel

Stephen M. Miller, a partner with Morris James, is scheduled to participate in a panel titled "Reading Between the Lines: Writing-Based Focus (Drafting Agreements)" at the 11th annual Mid-Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop on Aug. 7.

Young Conaway Attorney Speaks at ABA Webinar

Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor associate Margaret M. DiBianca was a panelist for the American Bar Association webinar titled "Clash of the Titans: Mixing Personal and Professional on Social Media" on July 15.

Seitz Confirmed to Delaware Supreme Court

By Gina Passarella and Michael A. Riccardi |

The Delaware Senate last week unanimously confirmed the nomination of Collins J. "C.J." Seitz Jr. as a justice on the state Supreme Court.

Joseph J. Rhoades, left, and Stephen T. Morrow

Firm Becomes Rhoades & Morrow

With the election of Stephen T. Morrow as a partner, the Law Offices of Joseph J. Rhoades announced a new name: Rhoades & Morrow.

Former Del. Deputy AG Daniel Simmons

Ex-Assistant AG Simmons Pleads Guilty to Rape Charge

By Michael A. Riccardi |

Daniel Simmons, a former deputy attorney general, entered a guilty plea March 23 to one count of fourth-degree rape of a 16-year-old boy, according to the Delaware Department of Justice.

Hormel Entitled to Payment of $2.84M Claim From Hog Producer

By Michael A. Riccardi |

A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has ordered that a hog producer pay a $2.84 million arbitration award originally owed to Hormel Foods, even though the award is currently still in litigation.

Court Applies 'Alice' to Invalidate Airline Industry Sales Patent

By Gina Passarella |

In applying the U.S. Supreme Court's much-discussed 2014 patent decision in Alice v. CLS Bank International, a Delaware federal judge has found patents for computer technology that helps airlines upsell seat offerings to passengers were directed at an abstract idea that could not be patented.

Court Tosses $15 Million Verdict, Saying It Contradicts Agreement

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Delaware Supreme Court has reversed a $15.1 million award to NorthPointe Capital, ruling that the Superior Court improperly interpreted and reformed a contract between the plaintiff and its former majority owner.

Anxiety Caused by Trial Delays Is Prejudicial to Defense, Court Rules

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware Court of Common Pleas dismissed a driving under the influence charge against a defendant after concluding the roughly two-year gap between his arrest and scheduled jury trial unfairly prejudiced the case.


New AG, Simmons Case Highlight Criminal Law Developments

By Jeff Mordock |

The Attorney General's Office was the focus of Delaware's criminal law bar for much of 2014. A new attorney general was elected for the first time in eight years and a longtime prosecutor was arrested on charges that he raped a teenager.

Primary Assumption of Risk Must Be Evaluated Through Evidence

By Jeff Mordock |

Judicial evaluation of a primary assumption of risk defense must be fact-intensive and may only be adjudicated through summary judgment on rare occasions, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled.


Morris Nichols Partner to Take Part in Panel on Corporate Law

Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell partner Patricia O. Vella is set to speak at Northwestern University School of Law's 42nd annual Securities Regulation Institute.


Bayard Associate Speaks at Phila. Bar Event on Bankruptcy

Evan T. Miller, an associate in Bayard P.A.'s bankruptcy group, spoke at an event organized by the Philadelphia Bar Association's banking and commercial finance committee.

Seven Richards Layton Lawyers Admitted to Delaware Bar

Richards, Layton & Finger welcomed seven new associates to the Delaware bar.

Delaware Supreme Court

Two Seen as Possible Candidates to Replace Ridgely on High Court

By Jeff Mordock |

Roughly one month after Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely announced his intent to retire in January, two names are being discussed among the state's legal community as possible replacements.


Del. Supreme Ct., Amid Personnel Shifts, Forges New Ground

By Jeff Mordock |

Turnover—including the installation of new Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr.—didn't stop the Delaware Supreme Court from authoring several important decisions this year.

Defendant Ordered to Pay Attorney Fees for Discovery Violations

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware Court of Chancery has ordered a cash advance lender to pay a plaintiff's attorney fees and expenses after the loan company failed to comply with a court order to produce a spreadsheet detailing its annual percentage rates.


Saint Mark's High School Mock Trial Team Named Fourth in World

The Saint Mark's High School mock trial team was named fourth in the world in the Empire Mock Trial World Championship held in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Reger Rizzo Adds Attorney To Its Wilmington Office

Robert K. Pearce joined Reger Rizzo & Darnall.

Widener Law Appoints Four Profs With Distinguished Title

Widener University School of Law interim dean Erin Daly appointed four Delaware faculty members with the title "distinguished professor of law."

Despite Row, Smooth Path to Confirmation Seen for Jurden

By Jeff Mordock |

Only one member of the Delaware General Assembly's Senate Executive Committee said he intends to ask Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden about her controversial decision in the Richards case during her confirmation hearing to become president judge of the court she now serves.

Sanctions Against Young Conaway Nixed in Jewel Hoax Lawsuit

By Jeff Mordock |

A Florida federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor aided a treasure hunter's phony search for emeralds, but the firm's attorney, Bruce Silverstein, could still face sanctions for his alleged role in the hoax.

business man cutting red ribbon

Womble Carlyle Launches Delaware Chancery Court Practice

By Jeff Mordock |

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has launched a Delaware Court of Chancery litigation group in its Delaware office and tapped corporate law practitioner Jill K. Agro as the new unit's first hire.

ACLU Argues Del. Charter Schools Are Discriminatory

The American Civil Liberties Union and Community Legal Aid Society Inc. filed a complaint Dec. 3 with the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education arguing that Delaware's charter school law and policies have a discriminatory impact on students of color and students with disabilities.

Morris Nichols Attorney Receives DSBA Service Award

The Delaware State Bar Association selected Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell partner Michael Houghton as this year's recipient of the Award for Outstanding Service to the Courts and the Bar.


Dillon Named Partner With McCann & Wall

Timothy A. Dillon was named a partner in McCann & Wall.

JP Court Must Review Evidence Before Issuing Forthwith Summons

By Jeff Mordock |

Delaware's Justice of the Peace Court cannot issue a forthwith summons, a trial occurring roughly one day after a complaint is filed, in rent disputes unless a landlord produces evidence of immediate harm, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled. The Supreme Court's decision ordered a new trial for a couple who lost an eviction hearing less than 24 hours after they received the complaint.

Seal of Supreme Court of Delaware

Analysts Say Corporations Shouldn't Fret Over Court Turnover

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware Supreme Court, viewed by many as the nation's top corporate court, has been rocked by turnover with four of its five justices retiring in roughly one year's time. Corporate law analysts say the departures will not impact the state's reputation among a business community more focused on the substance of law rather than the judges deciding it.

Failure to Seek Bland Instruction Did Not Prejudice Jury

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware Supreme Court held that the trial attorney for convicted murderer Mark Purnell should have requested a jury instruction regarding the credibility of accomplice testimony, a so-called Bland instruction. However, the court declined to overturn Purnell's conviction, ruling the error did not prejudice the jury because it received general instructions regarding witness motivation and bias.


Montgomery Selected as Del. Supreme Court Administrator

William S. Montgomery was selected as the next Delaware Supreme Court administrator.

Whiteford Taylor Adds Two Attorneys to Wilmington Office

Christopher M. Samis and L. Katherine Good joined Whiteford Taylor Preston's business reorganizations and bankruptcy practice in Wilmington.


Elliott Greenleaf Lawyers Speak at PBI Institute

Elliott Greenleaf attorneys Rafael X. Zahralddin-Aravena, Shelley Kinsella and Eric Sutty served as panelists on the "Directors', Officers' and Advisors' Liability" presentation at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 20th annual Business Lawyers' Institute.

Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden

Markell Nominates Jurden to Lead Superior Court

By Jeff Mordock |

Gov. Jack Markell has nominated Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden to serve as president judge of the court she now serves. Jurden, who has applied to become a state Supreme Court justice in the past, has been a Superior Court judge since 2001.

Should Ex-JNC Members Pursue Judgeships?

By Jeff Mordock |

In a year that has seen a record number of judicial vacancies in Delaware, two members of the commission charged with filling those positions have resigned to pursue judicial vacancies.

Undocumented Status Not a Shield to Prevent Disability Payments

By Jeff Mordock |

A disabled employee's status as an undocumented worker does not relieve companies of the burden of proving that jobs are actually available to the employee in order to halt disability payments, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Attorney Suspended for Fostering Unauthorized Practice of Law

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware Supreme Court has imposed a one-year suspension on longtime employment attorney Jeffrey K. Martin for allegedly permitting a suspended attorney to practice law in violation of a court order.

Delaware Center for Justice Elects Executive Director

Ashley Biden was voted executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ), effective Nov. 13.

Benesch Adds Attorney in Litigation Practice Group

Kevin M. Capuzzi joined Benesch as an associate. Capuzzi is an associate in the litigation practice group who works out of the firm's Wilmington office.


Lawyer Joins Reger Rizzo In Wilmington Office

Andrea L. Johnson joined Reger Rizzo & Darnall. She practices out of the firm's Wilmington office and joins the members of Reger Rizzo's litigation, insurance practices and professional liability groups.

Judiciary Partners With University of Delaware to Improve Efficiency

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware judiciary and the University of Delaware last week entered into a 10-year partnership to institute private-sector management techniques in administering the courts' increasing caseload.

Delaware Supreme Court Justice Karen Valihura, U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware Christopher J. Burke, U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware Sri Srinivasan and Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster

Srinivasan Tells Del. Audience of U.S. Supreme Court Experiences

By Jeff Mordock |

A federal appeals court judge who is often spoken of as a potential future U.S. Supreme Court nominee told an audience of lawyers, judges and politicians about his experiences arguing cases before the nation's highest court last week in Wilmington.

Delaware, Pennsylvania Firms Strong on Inventory, Lagging on Rates

By Gina Passarella |

Pennsylvania and Delaware law firms could have a banner year if the 2014 collections cycle goes well, according to another survey that shows area law firms have strong inventory along with revenue projections that are outpacing expense growth.

JNC Sends Three Candidates to Gov. for Superior Court Opening

By Jeff Mordock |

The Judicial Nominating Commission has submitted the names of three current Superior Court judges to Gov. Jack Markell for consideration as the court's next president judge, according to sources familiar with the process. The three candidates are said to be Judges William C. Carpenter Jr., Eric M. Davis and Jan R. Jurden.


Common Cause Delaware To Host Awards Dinner

The governing board of Common Cause Delaware's 2014 Good Government Tribute Awards Dinner is scheduled from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m. Thursday at the Christiana Hilton in Newark, Del.

Rahaim & Saints Receives DSBA Pro Bono Award

Rahaim & Saints received the Delaware State Bar Association's Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Leadership Award in October.

Del. Supreme Court Justice Ridgely to Retire

By Jeff Mordock |

Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely is set to retire in January, according to a statement from Gov. Jack Markell. Ridgely is stepping down after 30 years as a Delaware judge.

AG-Elect Denn to Immediately Push Crime-Reduction Plan

By Jeff Mordock |

Attorney General-elect Matt Denn said he plans to hit the ground running to implement his seven-point crime-reduction plan as quickly as possible. The ambitious plan, along with his experience drafting legislation, could make him one of the more active attorneys general in terms of policy creation in Delaware history, political observers said.

Six Apply to Be Delaware Superior Court President Judge

By Jeff Mordock |

Five active judges and one private practice attorney have applied to lead the Delaware Superior Court, according to sources familiar with the process. The six candidates are vying to replace former Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr., who was appointed to the state Supreme Court last month.


Best Practices Committee Formed by AG's Office

State Attorney General Beau Biden announced Oct. 29 that his office created a Best Practices Committee to establish uniform policies and procedures for law enforcement agencies in Delaware.


M&A Attorney Joins K&L Gates As Partner in Wilmington Office

Lisa R. Stark joined the Wilmington office of K&L Gates as a partner in its corporate/M&A practice.


Widener Law to Present Tax Institute Program

The Delaware campus of Widener University School of Law is set to present the Delaware Tax Institute program "Holding the Line on Taxes: Developments in Income Tax and Estate Planning, State Income Taxes, Circular 230 and Income Tax Strategies," on Friday in the school's Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.

In Trade-Secrets Case, HP Ordered To Pay $6.5M to Security Company

By Jeff Mordock |

A Delaware jury has ordered Hewlett-Packard Co. to pay $6.5 million in damages to a corporate security company for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and defamation. The jury returned the verdict last week after a Delaware Superior Court trial before Judge Mary M. Johnston.

Del. Supreme Court Rules Excluded Police Testimony Relevant

By Jeff Mordock |

The testimony of a retired police officer who planned to tell a Delaware Superior Court jury that a defendant was merely a drug addict, not a dealer, should have been admitted during a criminal trial, the state Supreme Court has ruled. In the reversing opinion, the Supreme Court said the officer's testimony was necessary to support the defendant's argument that she did not possess nor deliver the heroin.

Del. Prison Officials Appeal Third Circuit Ruling in Suicide Case

By Jeff Mordock |

State attorneys representing two former Delaware prison officials plan to file a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a federal appellate court decision allowing the family of an inmate who committed suicide to pursue claims against the administrators, according to court documents.


University of Delaware to Host Law Issues Update Conference

The second Delaware Law Issues Update conference is scheduled to take place at the University of Delaware campus Nov. 19-20.

Elliott Greenleaf Attorney Appointed GC of HNBA

Rafael Zahralddin-Aravena, chair of the national commercial bankruptcy and restructuring practice at Elliott Greenleaf, was appointed as general counsel of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

business man cutting red ribbon

Marshall Dennehey Relocates Office to Nemours Building

Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin relocated its office from N. Market St. in downtown Wilmington to the Nemours Building.

Review of State's Problem-Solving Courts Depends on Many Factors

By Jeff Mordock |

As a committee of Delaware judges works to create consistent outcome measures for the state's problem-solving courts, analysts say gauging recidivism, efficiency and defendant eligibility is vital to understanding their effectiveness.


Del. Supreme Ct. Reprimands Attorney With 'Difficult' Client

By Jeff Mordock |

The Delaware Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded Alex J. Brown, the attorney for embattled insurance executive Jeffrey Cohen, after he filed litigation in Maryland in violation of a seizure and injunction order barring additional lawsuits in the case.

Adult's Vehicle Violation Doesn't Bar Expungement of Youth Record

By Jeff Mordock |

A motor vehicle violation committed as an adult does not cancel out a person's right to have his or her juvenile record expunged, a majority of Delaware Supreme Court justices have ruled.


Del. Barristers Association to Host Benefit and Awards Gala

The Delaware Barristers Association is set to host its third annual Louis L. Redding Benefit and Awards Gala, honoring several members of the bench, bar and Delaware professional community.

Former Chief Justice Steele Named to NACD Hall of Fame

Myron T. Steele, Potter Anderson & Corroon partner and former chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, was named to the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Hall of Fame.

Strine Forms Committee to Overhaul Problem-Solving Courts

By Jeff Mordock |

In a sweeping measure that could overhaul the state's so-called "problem-solving courts," Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. formed a committee composed of active state judges to review those courts for effectiveness and determine which courts "warrant continuation," Strine announced last week.

business man cutting red ribbon

Wilson Sonsini Opens Office in Downtown Wilmington

By Jeff Mordock |

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has expanded its Delaware presence with the opening of a second office in downtown Wilmington.

RBC Capital Penalized $76M for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

By Jeff Mordock |

In a case of first impression, the Delaware Court of Chancery has ruled that the Delaware Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act does not bar RBC Capital Markets LLC from collecting a settlement credit because other defendants in the Rural/Metro Corp. shareholder litigation settled with the plaintiffs.


At AG Debate, Hopefuls Stress Response to Crime

Disagreement over the role of the state attorney general in responding to crime was a main point of the debate last week among four of the five candidates seeking Delaware's top law enforcement post.

Former Radio Station Executive Settles Claims With Kiss 101.7

A former executive of Kiss 101.7 has settled claims with the radio station, according to his attorney.