Articles Posted in D. Del. News and Events

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Chief Judges Leonard P. Stark and Christopher S. Sontchi have announced procedures for protecting the public and court employees from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Chief Judges stated that the District Court and Bankruptcy Court will, if practicable and efficient, conduct conferences and hearings telephonically. Additionally, if practitioners believe they have come into contact with someone displaying symptoms of, or tested positively for, COVID-19, the practitioner should inform the respective Court immediately. The Court will promptly consider a request to change a conference or hearing from in-person to telephonic. The Courts will consider adopting additional measures if warranted.

Beyond these measures effecting official court business, the Chief Judges also announced that Court personnel have been instructed to adopt cold and flu season hygiene practices. Further, Court personnel have been asked to exercise extra precautions such as staying home from work if they’re feeling ill and telecommuting if possible, consistent with Court policies. The Court urged practitioners to follow similar procedures.

The Chief Judges’ full announcement is available here.

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The District of Delaware today announced the selection of Jennifer L. Hall to become a United States Magistrate Judge. Ms. Hall will fill the fourth Magistrate Judge seat in the District of Delaware, which was recently created by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Ms. Hall has been selected after a process that included screening dozens of applications, and she will begin later this year after completion of an FBI background investigation.

Ms. Hall has served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware for eight years, and currently serves as the Chief of the Civil Division. Prior to the United States Attorney’s Office, Ms. Hall was a patent litigator at the Wilmington office of Fish & Richardson P.C. Ms. Hall holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota, a M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After law school, she clerked for both the Honorable Sharon Prost, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Honorable Kent A. Jordan of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The Court’s full announcement is available here.

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Today the District of Delaware issued a Public Notice and Order regarding its anticipated continued operations during the federal government shutdown.

Per the Public Notice, funds are only available to maintain normal operations of the District Court through next Friday, January 25. As the Court has determined that all its judicial officers and staff are essential personnel, after that day all District of Delaware employees will continue to report to work. The operations of the Clerk’s Office, including the acceptance and processing of new civil and criminal cases, will also remain in effect.

In terms of active cases, “[t]o the extent possible, the Court will be open and operational without disruption, including by conducting jury trials and other criminal and civil proceedings.” Any proceeding regarding the potential deprivation of an individual’s liberty will be deemed the most essential of all judicial functions. The Court will then determine, on a case-by-case basis, action required on its remaining pending civil and criminal matters. It “remains within the discretion of each judge to manage his or her own docket, which may or may not include granting requests for stays or other relief.”

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The United States District Court for the District of Delaware today released the following announcement:

District of Delaware Welcomes Judges Connolly and Noreika

The United States District Court for the District of Delaware is pleased to welcome the Honorable Colm F. Connolly and the Honorable Maryellen Noreika as United States District Court Judges.

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On August 1, 2018, the Senate confirmed Colm F. Connolly and Maryellen Noreika as the District of Delaware’s newest District Judges. Connolly will fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Judge Sue L. Robinson, and Noreika will fill the seat vacated by Senior Judge Gregory M. Sleet. These confirmations return the District of Delaware to a full complement of District Judges.

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Today the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on the nominations of Colm F. Connolly and Maryellen Noreika to be United States District Judges for the District of Delaware, bringing the District of Delaware one step closer to returning to full strength. The nominations will next be voted on by the full Senate.

Colm Connolly is a partner with the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he manages the Wilmington office as a member of the firm’s litigation and intellectual property practice groups. He joined Morgan Lewis in 2009, after serving eight years as the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware. Before his confirmation as United States Attorney, Mr. Connolly spent more than two years as a partner in the Wilmington law firm Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP. Prior to joining Morris Nichols, Mr. Connolly served for seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Delaware and as a law clerk to Judge Walter K. Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Connolly earned his B.A., with honors, from the University of Notre Dame, his M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and his J.D., with honors, from the Duke University School of Law.

Maryellen Noreika is a partner in the Wilmington law firm of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP where she began her career as an associate upon graduation from law school in 1993. During her 24 years at Morris Nichols, Ms. Noreika has served as counsel in more than 500 cases, while specializing in patent law, and representing parties in cases involving biotechnology, chemistry, consumer products, computer science, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Ms. Noreika earned her B.S. from Lehigh University, her M.A. in biology from Columbia University, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif, and served as a member of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.

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The United States District Court for the District of Delaware today announced a new procedure for the assignment of cases to visiting judges in light of the District’s two District Judge vacancies. The Court’s announcement includes the following key points:

1. The Clerk of Court will immediately start reassigning a portion of Senior Judge Robinson’s cases to a visiting judge, with the majority of the remainder of her cases to be reassigned once she retires in July.

2. All new civil cases will continue to be assigned to Chief Judge Stark, Judge Andrews, Senior Judge Sleet, and the Vacant Judgeship docket.

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The United States District Court for the District of Delaware announced today that the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet will become a Senior United States District Court Judge as of May 1, 2017, and intends to render substantial judicial service in that role going forward.

The Court’s official announcement regarding Judge Sleet can be viewed HERE.

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The United States District Court for the District of Delaware announced today that, coinciding with the celebration of her birthday, the Honorable Sue L. Robinson has become a Senior United States District Court Judge. Judge Robinson intends to serve the District of Delaware as a Senior Judge until this summer.

The Court, in light of Judge Robinson’s new role, will be modifying case assignment practices effective immediately. Specifically, Judge Robinson will not receive new criminal or civil case assignments. Until the vacancy left by Judge Robinson is filled, some civil cases will be assigned to a “Vacant Judgeship” and referred to one of Magistrate Judges Thynge, Burke, or Fallon, who will have full authority to manage the Vacant Judgeship docket to the extent permitted by law. As needed, cases on Judge Robinson’s docket or the Vacant Judgeship docket will be reassigned to one of the active District Judges.

The Court’s official announcement outlining these changes can be viewed HERE.

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