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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Spring 2013


Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron T. Steele, Court of Chancery Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr., and Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster have been named among the 500 leading lawyers in America. Lawdragon, an industry publication published its list of the 500 leading lawyers in America, based on 25,000 nominations out of the more than 1.1 million lawyers in the United States. Chief Justice Steele, Chancellor Strine, and Vice Chancellor Laster were selected based upon their important work affecting corporate law in America. In selecting Chief Justice Steele, Lawdragon reported that he is "a judicial role model for his unflinching commitment to his state's outstanding judiciary, which he played no small part in raising to its rare level of excellence." Lawdragon called Chancellor Strine "a brilliant overseer of Corporate America's litigation since becoming Chancellor," and for Vice Chancellor Laster, they noted that "he is emerging as one of the nation's sharpest legal minds."

Lewes Book Cover

Justice Randy J. Holland of the Delaware Supreme Court recently published a Delaware Heritage Press book, Delaware's Destiny Determined By Lewes, through the efforts of the Delaware Heritage Commission. The book tells the story of the protracted lawsuit between William Penn and Lord Baltimore in the English courts during the late 17th and early 18th centuries over the ownership of what is now the State of Delaware. As the title of the book suggests, it was the 1631 Dutch settlement of Lewes that ultimately won the case for William Penn. That courtroom victory is why Delaware is now a separate state and not part of Maryland. Justice Holland gave the keynote address at the eighth annual summit of the Taiwan Corporate Governance Association that was held in Taipei, Taiwan last fall. He also met with Hau-Min Rai, the Chief Justice of Taiwan's Constitutional Court. Justice Holland presented the Chief Justice with a copy of his recent book on Delaware Corporation Law that is only published in Chinese. One hundred signed copies of Justice Holland's book were distributed to the judges in Taiwan for use as a reference. While Justice Holland was in Taipei, he also made presentations at the Taiwan Stock Exchange and at the prestigious National Taiwan University's Law School and Business School. The subjects of his various speeches were executive compensation, director's fiduciary duties, corporate governance, and corporate compliance responsibilities.

Superior Court Judge William L. Witham, Jr. recently co-authored an article in a collection of articles published in the 2012 State Defense Force Monograph Series. Reserve Force Trials, Trauma and Transitions: Examining the Modern Deployed Reserve Force Mental Health Support Needs. Another Avenue to Treatment: The Veterans Court. The article discusses the success of alternative "problem-solving" courts, in this specific case, the Veterans Mental Health Courts. In 2011, Delaware established the very first statewide Veterans Court in the country that is both a diversion and a probation court. No other court with this expansive capability exists in the United States. The Court has achieved success due to the cooperation of the Delaware Attorney General's Office, the Office of the Public Defender, the Veterans Administration and resource agencies of the State of Delaware.

Superior Court Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. has been appointed to the American Bar Association (ABA) Board of Governors Committee on Planning, Evaluation and Programming (PEP). Judge Carpenter, who is Chair of the National Conference of State Trial Judges and on the Executive Committee of the Section Officers Conference of the ABA, will serve as that group's liaison to the Committee. The PEP is one of three governing committees established by the ABA Board of Governors and oversees the Association's programming and strategic planning.

Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden completed Current Issues in the Law, April 8-11, 2013, with the National Judicial College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Current Issues in the Law offers the latest legal updates on many areas of law including Crawford, evidence, discovery, social media and the courts, specialty courts, cultural competency and the courts, and current hot topics of law.

The Superior Court of the State of Delaware welcomes four new Judges in New Castle County: On December 7, 2012, the Honorable Charles E. Butler was sworn in as a Superior Court Judge. Prior to coming to Superior Court, Judge Butler was Delaware's Chief Deputy Attorney General, and previously served as a prosecutor in the Delaware Department of Justice from 1985 to 1995, and was an Assistant District Attorney with the City of Philadelphia from 1983 to 1985. He also worked in private practice in the areas of commercial litigation and criminal defense.

The Honorable Eric M. Davis became a judge in the Superior Court on December 21, 2012. Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Judge Davis served as a Judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware beginning in April 2010. Before that, he was a partner in the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, in Wilmington.

The Superior Court sat in special session on March 8, 2013 in the New Castle County Courthouse for the investiture ceremony of the Honorable Paul R. Wallace. Judge Wallace began serving on the bench on January 25, 2013. Before coming to the bench, Judge Wallace served for more than two decades with the Delaware Department of Justice, handling cases at every level, state and federal, trial and appellate. Judge Wallace served as Delaware's Chief of Appeals from 2008 until his appointment to the Superior Court, and had previously served as the Chief Prosecutor for New Castle County.

Honorable Vivian L. Rapposelli
Judge Vivian Rapposelli

The Honorable Vivian L. Rapposelli was sworn in as a member of the Superior Court on February 5, 2013. Prior to her appointment, she served as Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, was in private practice, and served as a commissioner for the Child Protection Accountability Commission, then on the Delaware Hispanic Commission, and on the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. Judge Rapposelli was the 2009 Recipient of the Haskell/Wyeth Award by Delaware Futures, the 2010 Recipient of the Distinguished Hispanic Delawarean Award by the Latin American Community Center, and inducted into the Delaware Women's Hall of Fame in 2012.

On March 8, 2013, the Court of Common Pleas for the State of Delaware sat in special session in the New Castle County Courthouse, for the investiture of the Honorable Carl C. Danberg. Judge Danberg served as the Commissioner in the Delaware Department of Corrections from February 2007 until his appointment to the Court of Common Pleas. Previously, he served in the Delaware Department of Justice as the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General. Judge Danberg currently serves as a Lt. Colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corp of the Delaware Army National Guard and as Adjunct Professor at the University of Delaware.

On February 8, 2013, the Court of Common Pleas sat in special session in the New Castle County Courthouse for the investiture of the Honorable Robert H. Surles. Judge Surles is the Military Judge for the Delaware Army National Guard and a veteran of the Iraqi War. In addition to his military duties, he served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Delaware Department of Justice from 1990 to 2012.

The Family Court recognizes and thanks the Honorable Frederick Kenney for over 37 years of service to the State of Delaware.  Commissioner Kenney, who retired on June 30, 2012, began his judicial career as a Magistrate for the Justice of the Peace Court from 1975 " 1978.  He joined the Family Court of the State of Delaware as a Master from 1978 until 1994 when he became a Family Court Commissioner.  He served the Family Court in that capacity until his retirement in June.  Leann Summa, Family Court Administrator, stated, "Commissioner Kenney's dedication and service to the families of Delaware is remarkable."

The Justice of the Peace Court recognizes Judge Rosalind Toulson for her more than 33 years of service to the Court at her retirement on April 19, 2013. Judge Toulson served six terms as a Justice of the Peace and helped to found the Delaware Truancy Court in New Castle County in 1996. Truancy Court was recognized nationally as the "2003 Program of the Year" by the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention.

The Justice of the Peace Court thanks Judge Marcealeate Ruffin, who retired on February 1, 2013, for over 40 years of service with the State of Delaware. Before coming to the Justice of the Peace Court, Judge Ruffin was employed with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Family Services.

"We appreciate Judge Toulson's and Judge Ruffin's dedication to the Justice of the Peace Court and we hope that they fully enjoy the leisure they have earned," stated Chief Magistrate Alan Davis.