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Delaware Trial Practice Blog

Stay Up To Date On Delaware State Court Matters

The U.S. Supreme Court Issues Its Decision On Same Sex Marriage In Obergefell et. al v. Hodges

Posted in Uncategorized

The Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision today in the  case of Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Depertment of Health, et al.  Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan.  The majority concluded that,

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

 

The Court held that  the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires a State to license a marriage between same sex couples, and to recognize that marriage if it was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.

Delaware passed its Marriage Equality Act in 2013, but based on the Supreme Court’s decision the marriages performed in Delaware will now be recognized in other states.

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Leslie Spoltore is an attorney with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

 

 

 

Delaware Senate Confirms Nomination Of Felice Glennon Kerr

Posted in Delaware Family Court

Family Court SealThe Delaware Senate has confirmed the nomination of Felice Glennon Kerr to serve as a Judge of the Family Court.  Her confirmation fills the Associate Judge vacancy created with Judge Michael K. Newell became the Chief Judge of the Family Court on June 10, 2015.

 

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

Delaware Supreme Court Remands Partition Decision

Posted in Delaware Family Court, Delaware Supreme Court, Family Law

House

In the case of Cooper v. Cooper, No. 642, 2014 (June 22, 2015), Ms. Cooper sought to challenge a Family Court partition order that permitted her former husband, Mr. Cooper, to buy out her interest in jointly titled real estate without requiring that he remove her from the mortgage and/or home equity loan associated with the property. The Supreme Court noted that pursuant to 10 Del. C § 921(14) Family Court must apply equitable principles when dividing real property in a partition action.  The Court held that the “failure to address the removal of [Ms. Cooper’s] name from the loan on the Property does not reflect the application of “equitable principles.”  Id. at 5.  The matter has been remanded to the Family Court.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

Pre-submission Communication within the Delaware Supreme Court Regarding Resolution of Cases

Posted in Uncategorized

Last week, Leslie posted about the Delaware Supreme Court’s Amendment to its Internal Operating Procedures (a link to the post can be found here).  As a follow up to the post, I want to highlight a change concerning pre-submission communication within the Court regarding the resolution of cases.  The previous procedure followed by the Court was as follows:

No discussion prior to scheduled sitting. Each Justice independently reviews briefs and appendices prior to an oral argument day or decisional conference unless specifically agreed otherwise in a given case. Neither the Justices nor their law clerks discuss the merits of a matter between chambers prior to oral argument or the decisional conference for cases  submitted on briefs.

In the Amended Procedures, the Court opens up the possibility for pre-submission communications:

Typical pre-submission communications. Before scheduled sittings, each Justice independently reviews the briefs and appendices unless specifically agreed otherwise in a given case. Neither the Justices nor their law clerks discuss the merits of a matter between chambers before oral argument or the date of submission for cases submitted on briefs.

In particular situations, however, the Justices assigned to decide a case may determine it would be useful to confer in advance of oral argument or the date of submission of a case to be decided without argument on the briefs. For example, in an expedited case where a decision is required at or shortly after oral argument, the Justices may determine that it is advisable to circulate preliminary thoughts and key questions based on their reading of the briefs and record on appeal, so that the Justices can best prepare for oral argument, oral argument can be the most helpful to reaching a sound decision, and the Justices can issue their decision with the requisite speed. In these circumstances, all of the Justices assigned to decide a case should discuss the approach to communication and endeavor to reach consensus.

Time will tell whether this change impacts arguments before the Court.

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Seth Niederman is a partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP. Seth practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office. You can reach Seth at 302-622-4238, or sniederman@foxrothschild.com.

 

 

Delaware Supreme Court Adopts Rules To Govern Arbitration’s Conducted Pursuant To The Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act

Posted in Alternate Dispute Resolution, Delaware Supreme Court

By Order dated June 17, 2015, and in accordance with Section 5804(a) of the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, the Delaware Supreme Court adopted Rules to govern arbitrations conducted pursuant to that Act.  The Rules, which may be viewed here, become effective on June 22, 2015.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

DELAWARE SUPREME COURT AMENDS INTERNAL OPERATING PROCEDURES

Posted in Delaware Supreme Court

The Delaware Supreme Court maintains Internal Operating Procedures to describe how it operates and how it typically processes cases.  Those Procedures have been amended and updated effective today.  The Court described the updated Procedures as follows:

The updated procedures are largely consistent with the existing procedures, but have been streamlined and updated: (i) to eliminate provisions that simply repeated sections of the Court’s Rules; (ii) to address how the Court has operated in the past decade when technology has increased the easier flow of information; (iii) to create more flexibility in internal communications, deliberations, and preparation for oral arguments, while retaining the important ethos that all key decision-making communications include everyone involved in the entire panel assigned to case; and (iv) to eliminate outdated provisions that no longer reflect how the Court has operated in the past decade.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

 

Repurchase Obligations Under Delaware’s Equipment Dealer Contracts Statute

Posted in Delaware Supreme Court

In connection with an appeal pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (“Third Circuit”), a question of law was certified to the Delaware Supreme Court.  Specifically, the Third Circuit asked the following question regarding the Equipment Dealer Contracts Statute (6 Del. C. §  2720, et seq.)(“Dealer Statute”) :

Does a supplier’s repurchase obligation under § 2723(a) of the Dealer Statute extend to used inventory or is it limited to “new, unused, undamaged and complete inventory” under § 2723(b)?

Cases involving statutory construction are always interesting, and this case was no exception.  In the end, the Court concluded:

a supplier’s repurchase obligation under the Dealer Statute is limited to new, unused, undamaged and complete inventory, consistent with the statutory scheme, the canon of avoiding unnecessary statutory gap-filling, and our preference to avoid interpretations that could invite constitutional entanglements.

The decision in Terex Corporation v. Southern Track & Pump, Inc., No. 704, 2014 (June 15, 2015) may be viewed in its entirety here.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

GOVERNOR MARKELL ANNOUNCES NOMINATION TO THE FAMILY COURT

Posted in Delaware Family Court

Earlier today Governor Jack Markell announced the nomination of Felice Glennon Kerr to serve on the Family Court.  She has been nominated to fill the vacancy left by Judge Michael K. Newell, who was sworn in as Chief Judge of the Family Court yesterday.  In a statement issued regarding the nomination Governor Markell said:

Felice Kerr is an accomplished and well-respected family law attorney who has more than 2 decades of experience practicing family law . . . If she is confirmed by the Senate, I believe she will serve our state well as a Family Court judge.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

Judge Michael K. Newell Confirmed As The New Chief Judge Of The Family Court

Posted in Delaware Family Court

 

Family Court SealThe Delaware Senate has confirmed the nomination of Judge Michael K. Newell to serve as the Chief Judge of the Family Court.  Judge Newell has served on the Court as an Associate Judge since in September, 2004.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

LEGISLATION PROPOSES TO OPEN CERTAIN FAMILY COURT PROCEEDINGS

Posted in Delaware Family Court, Legislation

Family Court SealMost Family Court proceedings and files are closed.  As a result, only the parties and their attorneys may be present for hearings or access Court documents.  Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 9, entitled “A Resolution To Create A Blue Ribbon Task Force To Review Open Family Court Proceedings”, established a panel to examine whether more proceedings should be open.  On June 9, 2015, Senate Bill 119 was introduced and is based on the recommendations of the Task Force.  Under the terms of this legislation paternity, divorce, property division and alimony matters would be presumed to be public, but the Court would retain the discretion to hold the proceedings in private in certain circumstances.  Adoption, custody, visitation, third party visitation, Child Protection Registry and child welfare hearings would remain private, but the Family Court may open those hearings to the public in certain circumstances.  The Bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, may be viewed here.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.