Michael Houghton

Partner

(302) 351-9215 T
(302) 425-4675 F

Mike has helped draft and enact numerous pieces of Delaware legislation including Delaware’s Bank Insurance Powers Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, Delaware’s “Technology Court” legislation and most recently the Prevention and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act.

Mike’s practice involves the representation of governmental entities, such as the Delaware River & Bay Authority and the Port of Wilmington, as well as representation of banks, trust companies, insurance companies and public utilities in commercial transactions and before regulatory authorities and state, county and local governments and in legislative and public policy matters before Delaware government as well.

For more than 25 years, Mike has also advised numerous entities, including Fortune 500 companies, on unclaimed property issues.  He has represented various companies in connection with unclaimed property audits as well as voluntary compliance with unclaimed property laws.  Mike has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America from 2009-2017.  He frequently speaks on unclaimed property issues and is coauthor of the recently revised Bloomberg BNA Corporate Practice Series Portfolio, Unclaimed Property.

Mike is a member of a Legislative Task Force currently examining, and making recommendations concerning, Delaware’s Unclaimed Property program.  Mike is also Co-Chair of the Uniform Laws Commission Drafting Committee to Revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, legislation which forms the basis for the law of unclaimed property for over 40 states.  He is a past-President of the Uniform State Laws Commission.

Mike has helped draft and enact numerous pieces of Delaware legislation including Delaware’s Bank Insurance Powers Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and Delaware’s “Technology Court” legislation granting the Delaware Court of Chancery jurisdiction over complex business disputes involving technology and, most recently, the Prevention and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act.

Active in Delaware politics for more than 30 years, Mike has advised, and raised funds for the campaigns of, Delaware Governors, Attorneys General and Insurance Commissioners as well as numerous members of the Delaware General Assembly and other Delaware elected officials.  Among his many professional and community leadership activities, he has served on various committees and task forces involving judicial compensation and judicial resources and the administration of justice at the request of the Delaware Supreme Court.  Mike also serves on the Executive Committee of the Delaware State Bar Association, the Board of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Morris Nichols Executive Committee.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (Chair)
  • Delaware Public Policy Institute (Board Member)
  • Delaware State Bar Association (President Elect; Executive Committee; Former Chair, Commercial Law Section)
  • Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (Board Member)
  • Pete du Pont Freedom Award Foundation (Board Member)
  • Uniform Law Commission (Past President, member of the Executive Committee; Co-Chair, Drafting Committee to Revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act; President, 2012-2013; Chair, Executive Committee, 2010-2011; Chair, Scope and Program Committee, 2008-2009; Vice President, 2006-2007; Chair, Legislative Committee, 2000-2005)

News

Mike Houghton Appointed Chair of DEFAC

Wilmington, DE (April 7, 2017) – Michael Houghton, a partner with the Wilmington, Delaware law firm of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, has been appointed as Chair of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (“DEFAC”) by Governor John Carney. Established by Executive Order in 1977 by Governor Pete du Pont and continued... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted by Bloomberg BNA on New Law Revising Delaware Unclaimed Property Program

In an article titled, “Delaware Revamps Unclaimed Property After Lawsuits,” Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with Bloomberg BNA about unclaimed property legislation enacted by Delaware Gov. John Carney on February 2, 2017. “This is an absolute and complete revision of the Delaware law,” he said. “The entire Delaware unclaimed... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in The News Journal on Proposed Legislation to Reform Delaware Unclaimed Property Program

Delaware Senate Bill 13 proposes major reforms to the state’s unclaimed property program. The legislation responds to the Delaware District Court’s decision in Temple-Inland and aims to update Delaware law to address reforms developed by the Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”). In an article published by The New Journal titled, “State... Continue Reading

31 Morris Nichols Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

Wilmington, DE (August 15, 2016) – Thirty attorneys from Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP were selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 79,000 eligible attorneys. Six firm attorneys earned “Lawyer of the Year” designations (noted... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Delaware State News and The News Journal on Temple-Inland Settlement Impact on Delaware Unclaimed Property Program

On Friday, August 5, Delaware and Temple-Inland settled a lawsuit challenging the state’s collection of unclaimed money orders. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with Delaware State News and The News Journal regarding the consequences of the litigation and the settlement, noting this and other lawsuits challenging the state’s... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in The News Journal on Multi-State Unclaimed Property Lawsuit Against Delaware in the United States Supreme Court

A coalition of states has filed a lawsuit against Delaware challenging the state’s collection of more than $150 million of unclaimed money orders in the United States Supreme Court. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with The News Journal regarding potential effects for the First State in the article entitled, “Money Order Lawsuit... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in The News Journal on SCOTUS Unclaimed Property Opinion

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with The News Journal about a recent U.S. Supreme Court discussion on unclaimed property which cited Delaware as an example of concerns with unclaimed property owner notifications.  Mike has advised Fortune 500 companies and others on unclaimed property issues for more than 25 years and is a member of... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in BNA Weekly State Tax Report on Unclaimed Property Lawsuit

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton contributed comments to the BNA Weekly State Tax Report article entitled “Pennsylvania Sues Delaware, MoneyGram for $10.3 Million in Uncashed Checks.” Mike has advised Fortune 500 companies and others on unclaimed property issues for more than 25 years and told Bloomberg BNA the case is “extremely... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in BNA Weekly State Tax Report’s 2016 Legislative Preview on Unclaimed Property in Delaware

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton contributed comments to the BNA Weekly State Tax Report article entitled “Unclaimed Property, New Revenue, in Focus in Delaware: Legislative Preview.”  He noted that unclaimed property is the third-largest revenue source for Delaware and commented that some of the state’s unclaimed property laws are... Continue Reading

30 Morris Nichols Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

Wilmington, DE (August 17, 2015) – Thirty attorneys from Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP were selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 79,000 eligible attorneys. Jack B. Blumenfeld was named the Best Lawyers® 2016... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in BNA’s Daily Tax Report on Delaware Unclaimed Property Reform

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton was quoted in the BNA Daily Tax Report article entitled “Delaware Governor Signs Legislation to Overhaul Unclaimed Property Program.” He explains that the new law, signed by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on July 22, 2015, implements two “earth-moving” changes—new and shorter audit... Continue Reading

Mike Houghton quoted in Delaware Law Weekly regarding Delaware's enactment of the Uniform Law Commission version of the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

There have been a series of recent articles in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other national news outlets discussing Delaware’s leadership in enacting legislation designed to provide fiduciaries with access to the online accounts and digital content belonging to individuals who have died or become incapacitated, access which... Continue Reading

28 Morris Nichols Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015

Wilmington, DE (August 18, 2014) – Twenty-eight attorneys from Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell were selected for inclusion in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 50,000 attorneys. Two partners received special recognition as 2015 Delaware Lawyer of the... Continue Reading

Delaware's Unclaimed Property Program and It's Impact on Delaware's Reputation in the National Business Community

Wilmington, DE (May 20, 2014) – Michael Houghton, a Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, was recently quoted in the News Journal article titled, “State Clashes Over Money with Businesses it Courts.”  The article discussed Delaware’s abandoned property... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton, Walter Tuthill, Author Unclaimed Property Treatise for BNA Corporate Practice Series

Wilmington, DE (January 24, 2014) – Michael Houghton and Walter Tuthill, Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partners, served as co-authors of the revised Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) Corporate Practice Series Portfolio: Unclaimed Property. The treatise provides a comprehensive analysis of the law of unclaimed property and taps... Continue Reading

Morris Nichols Attorneys Named to 2014 Best Lawyers in America - 60 Practice Specialty Selections; 22 Top-Listed Practice areas; 5 Delaware Lawyers of the Year

Wilmington, DE (August 21, 2013) – Morris Nichols is pleased to announce that two thirds of the firm's partnership have been selected for inclusion in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.  The firm was noted for 60 individual specialty selections, 22 "Top-Listed" practice specialties, and five individual 2014 Delaware Lawyers... Continue Reading

28 Morris Nichols Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America 2013

Wilmington, DE (August 31, 2012) – 28 Morris Nichols attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America 2013 in twenty two practice areas. Morris Nichols lawyers were selected for outstanding reputations and distinguished work in their practice areas based on a confidential peer-review survey of the top attorneys in the country, according... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Elected President of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws

Wilmington, DE (July 13, 2011) – Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and commercial law counseling partner and Best Lawyers 2009 Delaware Banking Lawyer of the Year Michael Houghton has been elected President of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (Uniform Law Commission (ULC)).  The two-year appointment was... Continue Reading

BusinessWeek Quotes Michael Houghton: Delaware Among States Eyeing Unclaimed Property

Wilmington, DE – November 29, 2010 – Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and Best Lawyers’ 2009 Banking Lawyer of the Year was quoted in The Associated Press article entitled Delaware Among States Eyeing Unclaimed Property published today in Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek. The article... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Delaware Law Weekly: Provides Perspective on Delaware's Changes to Its Unclaimed Property Statute

Wilmington, DE – August 11, 2010 – Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and Best Lawyers’ 2009 Banking Lawyer of the Year was quoted in the lead article Revamped Law on Unclaimed Property Seeks New Balance published today in Delaware Law Weekly. The article reviews the recent... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Corporate Counsel Weekly on Delaware Supreme Court Ruling: Corporate Liability for Escheated Securities

Wilmington, DE – September 23, 2009 – Morris Nichols regulatory and commercial law counseling partner and Best Lawyers Delaware Banking Lawyer of the Year Michael Houghton was featured in the article, “Delaware Supreme Court Rules Corporations May Be Liable When They Escheat Securities” in the September 23, 2009 edition of... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Elected Executive Committee Chair of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws

Wilmington, DE – July 24, 2009 – Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and commercial law counseling partner Michael Houghton has been elected Chair of the Executive Committee of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (Uniform Law Commission (ULC)).  The Executive Committee is the governing body of the ULC and... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Corporate Counsel Weekly on New York Federal Court's Request for Escheat Law Guidance from Delaware Supreme Court

Wilmington, DE – February 11, 2009 – Partner Michael Houghton was featured in the article, “Delaware High Court’s Input Sought On State’s Escheatment Law” in the February 10, 2009 edition of Corporate Counsel Weekly. In a case that could have “significant impact on corporations, shareholders, and... Continue Reading

A. Gilchrist Sparks III and Michael Houghton Named 2009 Lawyers of the Year by the Best Lawyers in America

Wilmington, DE – February 16, 2009 – Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP partners A. Gilchrist Sparks III and Michael Houghton have been named Delaware Lawyers of the Year by the Best Lawyers in America Guide.  The firm’s lawyers picked up two of the five honors recognizing Delaware’s elite legal counsel. Gil... Continue Reading

Articles

Liability Exposure for Delaware Incorporated Companies – The Risk of an Escheat Audit and Delaware’s New Voluntary Disclosure Program to Avoid Penalties

Jeff Wolters, Morris Nichols Corporate Law Counseling Group partner, and Mike Houghton, Morris Nichols Unclaimed Property Law Counseling Group partner, co-authored Liability Exposure for Delaware Incorporated Companies – The Risk of an Escheat...

Continue Reading

The Expansion of the Delaware Court of Chancery's Jurisdiction to Adjudicate or Mediate Certain “Technology Disputes”—An Evolution, Not a Revolution

Michael Houghton, William M. Lafferty, Andrew H. Lippstone, “The Expansion of the Delaware Court of Chancery’s Jurisdiction to Adjudicate or Mediate Certain ‘Technology Disputes’—An Evolution, Not a Revolution,”...

Continue Reading

Events

Webinar: Unclaimed Property Risks: Reporting Doesn’t Ensure Full Compliance

For many organizations, filing annual unclaimed property reports and escheating eligible property is the extent of their compliance program. However, filing a report doesn’t always ensure compliance. Even companies with robust reporting histories have learned this the hard way, through intrusive and expensive third-party audits. Join Morris... Continue Reading

UPPO 2016

3.20.2016 through 3.23.2016 in Palm Spring, CA - Unclaimed Property
Michael Houghton

The Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization holds its annual conference from March 20 to 23, 2016 in Palm Spring, Calif. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton will participate in the session, “Unclaimed Property Reform – Where Are We Now?” on March 21. Stakeholders in the effort to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act will share... Continue Reading

UPPO 2015

3.8.2015 through 3.11.2015 in Orlando, FL - Unclaimed Property
Donna L. Culver, Michael Houghton

The Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization will hold its annual conference from March 8 to 11, 2015 in Orlando, Fla. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton will speak at the Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”) Town Hall meeting on March 8.  Mike is the co-chair of the ULC Drafting Committee to Revise... Continue Reading

Spotlight on Human Trafficking: New Law and Next Steps

8.11.2013
Michael Houghton

Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partner, was a featured panelist for Spotlight on Human Trafficking: New Law and Next Steps at the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting.  Mike was joined on the panel by ABA President Laurel Bellows.  Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy attended the session and spoke on the issue. Kennedy... Continue Reading

2012 UPPO Annual Conference

3.14.2012 in Orlando, FL - Unclaimed Property
Michael Houghton

Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partner, and Brenda Mayrack, Commercial Law Counseling Group associate, will serve as session presenters at the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) Annual Conference, March 11-14, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  Mike’s session, Anomalies in Unclaimed Property... Continue Reading

2011 UPPO Annual Conference

3.9.2011 in San Antonio, TX - Unclaimed Property
Michael Houghton

Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols Banking, Regulatory and Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and Best Lawyers 2009 Banking Lawyer of the Year, and Commercial Law Counseling Group associate Brenda Mayrack will serve as session presenters at the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) Annual Conference, March 6-9, 2011 in San... Continue Reading

2009 UPPO Annual Conference

3.12.2009 in Jacksonville, FL - Unclaimed Property
Michael Houghton

Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and commercial law counseling partner Michael Houghton will present Advanced Legal Issues in Unclaimed Property at the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, March 12, 2009. Mike’s session is intended for attorneys with three or more years of... Continue Reading