- Derek C. Abbott
- Jon E. Abramczyk
- Thomas W. Briggs Jr.
- Megan Ward Cascio
- Kevin M. Coen
- Donna L. Culver
- John P. DiTomo
- Thomas C. Grimm
- S. Mark Hurd
- William M. Lafferty
- Jay N. Moffitt
- Kenneth J. Nachbar
- Leslie A. Polizoti
- Donald E. Reid
- R. Judson Scaggs, Jr.
- David J. Teklits
- Susan Wood Waesco
Corporate and Business Litigation
"Clients billed this operation as the premier firm in the chancery market. Sources value the fact that the firm is home to some of the finest practitioners in the state, who really know how to gain an advantage in the system."
- Chambers USA
Corporate Litigation Matters
Our Group represents corporations, directors, substantial shareholders, partnerships, limited and general partners, and limited liability companies in lawsuits involving challenges to mergers, acquisitions and financing transactions, takeover battles and proxy contests, issues under the Delaware corporate and other business entity statutes, and class and derivative actions asserting breaches of fiduciary duty. We also regularly represent special committees of independent directors in connection with the investigation of potential and pending derivative claims.
Matters of National Significance
Because of the importance of the Delaware corporate law and the Delaware Court of Chancery’s position as the preeminent court in the United States for the resolution of business disputes, the cases in which the Group serves as counsel often involve issues of national significance. In addition, because Delaware is the chosen state of incorporation for the majority of Fortune 500 corporations, many of the clients that the Group represents are multi-billion dollar national and international corporations, including Viacom Inc., BP Amoco, Wyeth (formerly American Home Products), Hallmark, Unocal Corporation, and Sabre/Travelocity. On a daily basis, members of the Group litigate with and against many of the top lawyers and law firms around the nation. The attorneys in the Group have argued many of the landmark cases that establish the principles of Delaware corporate law and define the fiduciary duties that govern boards of directors of many of the major corporations in the United States.
Shaping Delaware Corporation Law
In addition to its sophisticated and dynamic litigation practice, the Group also assists the Corporate Law Counseling Group in pre-litigation planning matters such as mergers and acquisitions, conflict transactions, restructurings, and proxy contests and consent solicitations. The Group also advises special committees charged with reviewing conflict transactions and shareholder derivative claims. Group members play key roles in the drafting and updating of the Delaware General Corporation Law and have testified as expert witnesses on Delaware law issues in courts of other jurisdictions and foreign countries.
Business Litigation Matters
We provide a full range of litigation services to our national corporate clients and locally-based businesses. Members of the General Business Litigation Group regularly appear before all of the major Delaware trial and appellate courts, state and federal, local boards and administrative agencies, and before trial and appellate courts nationwide. We represent clients in a wide variety of commercial, contract and employment cases including business disputes of virtually every kind, employment discrimination and sexual harassment, construction, insurance coverage, products liability, banking and financial services, contested guardianships and more.
Litigation Group members have recently represented an international company in construction litigation relating to a power plant in Puerto Rico. Group members have also represented major pharmaceutical companies in connection with several types of product liability claims as well as in class action suits relating to product advertising. We have represented a fiber optic networking company in a groundbreaking case before the Delaware Public Service Commission concerning the ability of telecommunication firms to obtain fair and equal access to utility poles for the installation of networks. The Group also represented the Delaware Insurance Commissioner in litigation related to the breakup of a business affiliation between two large health insurers. We also continue to represent several major companies in connection with product liability claims relating to tobacco products, benzene, vinyl chloride and asbestos.
The General Business Litigation Group handles a variety of environmental matters for local and national clients. The Group specializes in environmental litigation brought before Delaware’s Environmental Appeals Board, as well as litigation involving Delaware environmental laws and regulations. It defends clients in connection with civil enforcement proceedings, both judicial and administrative, brought by state and federal regulators and provides representation in connection with government investigations including negotiation of consent orders or other types of settlements for alleged violations of environmental laws prior to the commencement of litigation. The Group also has represented clients in actions to recover costs for the cleanup of contaminated sites under federal and state "superfund" laws, and under insurance policies and other contracts.
Trust and Estates Litigation
The Group has an active trusts and estates litigation practice, representing many large institutional and individual trustees as well as beneficiaries of trusts in Delaware and other jurisdictions. In recent years, the firm has represented trustees and beneficiaries in multimillion dollar disputes including claims of trustee breaches of fiduciary duties as well as trust administration issues such as decisions to implement unitrust distribution policies and to divide trust assets among beneficiary groups.
Morris Nichols' Litigation Suite for Visiting Counsel
Our Litigation Suite for visiting counsel features 4,000+ climate-controlled sq. ft., including seven offices, three workstations, two conference rooms, a war room, shelved document prep areas, a fully stocked kitchenette, multiple supply closets, on-site parking, private entry and 24-hour security. All rooms and workstations are equipped with high-speed Internet access and direct-dial telephone numbers with voicemail. There is a separate private network to interface with your computers, as well as multiple area printers, scanners and audio-visual equipment. High-speed black & white and color copiers are also available. IT support, litigation support and facility services are included. Courtroom technology set-ups, equipment acquisitions, in-house copy service, courier service, shuttle, food service, and extended HVAC are also available. Centrally located in downtown Wilmington in the 1201 Building, the Litigation Suite is within walking distance of courthouses and overnight accommodations at the Hotel du Pont and the Wilmington Sheraton Suites.
- 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers Ranks Morris Nichols Among “Best Law Firms” in Delaware
In the 2015 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® rankings of the “Best Law Firms”, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP was selected for inclusion in a diverse array of bankruptcy, corporate, intellectual property, and trust law practice areas in Delaware.
- Benchmark Litigation Recognizes Morris Nichols in 2015 Rankings
The 2015 edition of Benchmark Litigation recognizes Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP as a “Highly Recommended” law firm in Delaware. The guide notes that Morris Nichols “has developed a national reputation as a leading general commercial litigation, bankruptcy, and intellectual property firm.”
- 28 Morris Nichols Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015
Morris Nichols is pleased to announce that 28 firm attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Two partners received special recognition as 2015 Delaware Lawyer of the Year: Jack B. Blumenfeld for Litigation-Patent, and Kenneth J. Nachbar for Bet-the-Company Litigation.
- William Lafferty Quoted in Law360
William Lafferty was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “Del Judge Reshuffling Won’t Rock First State.”
- 17 Morris Nichols Attorneys Selected For Inclusion in Super Lawyers- Delaware Edition 2014
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
- Chambers USA 2014 Names 21 Morris Nichols Attorneys and 4 Practice Groups as Best in Delaware
Chambers annually conducts in-depth interviews of commercial users of legal services to assess the strengths and reputations of US attorneys. Rankings are based on technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by clients.
- 2014 Chambers USA Directory Ranks 21 Morris Nichols Attorneys as 'Leaders in their Field"
- Morris Nichols Elects Susan Wood Waesco and Kevin Coen as Partners
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP is pleased to announce that Susan Wood Waesco and Kevin Coen have been elected partners effective January 1, 2014.
- John DiTomo Featured Author: Corporate & Securities Law Advisor – Third Circuit Strikes Down Delaware's Confidential Arbitration Program
John P. DiTomo authored The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Strikes Down Delaware's Confidential Arbitration Program, published in the November 2013 State Corner section of Insights: The Corporate & Securities Law Advisor
- Morris Nichols Alert Featured in Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation
Morris Nichols’ Delaware Alert: Don’t Ask/Don’t Waive Standstills & Attorneys’ Fees in Delaware, was featured in the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation on November 18, 2013.
- Morris Nichols Alert Featured on Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation
Morris Nichols' Delaware Alert: A Third Circuit Panel Strikes Down the Court of Chancery's Confidential Arbitrations was featured on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, November 8, 2013.
- 18 Morris Nichols Practice Areas Named in U.S. News/Best Lawyers 2014 Rankings of Best Law Firms in Delaware
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP is pleased to announce its selection to the U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers 2014 “Best Law Firms” rankings for Delaware.
- R.J. Scaggs Headlines at DSBA Seminar: Your Law Practice – Staying on the Right Side of the Rules
Wilmington, DE (October 7, 2013) – R.J. Scaggs, Morris Nichols Corporate and Business Litigation partner, served as a featured speaker on the Hanging Out and Taking Down that Shingle – Or Just Hanging By A Thread panel at the Delaware State Bar Association seminar, Your Law Practice – Staying on the Right Side of the Rules, held at the DSBA Conference Center, Wilmington, DE, on October 1, 2013. The Seminar was broadcast live via webcast.
- 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
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.
- Morris Nichols Caps Successful Seven-Day Jury Trial in Athenian Venture Partners Dispute
Wilmington, DE (June 28, 2013) – R.J. Scaggs, Morris Nichols Corporate and Business Litigation partner, and associate Karl Randall, headed the Morris Nichols trial team that represented Athenian Venture Partners, I, L.P. and Athenian Venture Partners II, L.P. in their successful breach of contract dispute against GMG Capital Investments, LLC, GMG Capital Partners III, L.P., GMG Capital Partners III Companion Fund, L.P. and GMS Capital Partners II, L.P.
- Chambers USA 2013 Names 17 Morris Nichols Attorneys and 4 Practice Groups as Best In Delaware
The 2013 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business today ranked seventeen Morris Nichols’ attorneys and four practice groups as best in Delaware.
- 22 Morris Nichols Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in Super Lawyers – Delaware Edition 2013
22 Morris Nichols attorneys have been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers - Delaware Edition 2013.
- Morris Nichols Tops Delaware in Benchmark Litigation 2013
Morris Nichols is pleased to announce that nine Morris Nichols’ attorneys and three practice areas have been selected as among the best in Delaware by the 2013 edition of Benchmark Litigation.
- Morris Nichols Elects Patricia Vella, John DiTomo as Partners; Katherine Betterly as Special Counsel
Morris Nichols is pleased to announce that Patricia O. Vella and John P. DiTomo have been elected partners, and that Katherine H. Betterly has been promoted to Special Counsel.
- Morris Nichols Attorneys Named Delaware “Lawyers of the Year”
Gil Sparks, Jack Blumenfeld, and Rick Alexander have been named 2013 Delaware Lawyers of the Year by the Best Lawyers in America publication in the Bet-the-Company Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Mergers and Acquisitions Law categories, respectively.
- 28 Morris Nichols Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America 2013
28 Morris Nichols attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America 2013 in twenty two practice areas.
- Twenty-One Morris Nichols' Practice Areas Named in U.S. News/Best Lawyers 2011-2012 Rankings of Best Law Firms
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP has been recognized in twenty-one practice areas in the U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers 2011 - 2012 "Best Law Firms" rankings.
- Morris Nichols Releases iPad App to Help Legal Professionals Navigate Delaware Law and Practice
Morris Nichols is pleased to announce that its new iPad application, Morris Nichols’ Delaware Bankruptcy Companion for iPad, is available as a free download from the App Store. It is the first in a series of Delaware practice-specific apps produced by Morris Nichols tailored for legal professionals. Morris Nichols becomes the first U.S. law firm to release a legal practice and procedures app for the iPad.
- Jeff Wolters Presents at 2011 Northwestern Corporate and Securities Law Institute
Bill Lafferty and Jeffrey Wolters served as panelists for the 31st Annual Ray Garrett, Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute, at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.
- Bill Lafferty Elected Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers
Bill Lafferty has been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Jon E. Abramczyk Featured Panelist at New York City Bar Seminar – Securities Litigation & Enforcement: Corporate Governance Litigation
Jon E. Abramczyk served as a featured panelist at the day-long New York City Bar seminar, Securities Litigation & Enforcement: Current Developments & Strategies.
- A. Gilchrist Sparks III Participates in Institutional Investor Educational Foundation Roundtable – Shareholder Democracy: Good, Bad or Unimportant?
Gil Sparks participated in the Institutional Investor Educational Foundation (IIEF) Roundtable “Shareholder Democracy: Good, Bad or Unimportant?” held in Philadelphia.
- Bill Lafferty Speaks at 2010 NACD Corporate Governance Conference: Emerging Legal Trends
Bill Lafferty served as a Conference Speaker on the Emerging Legal Trends panel at the National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) 2010 Corporate Governance Conference.
- Jay Moffitt and Leslie Polizoti to Become Morris Nichols’ Newest Partners
Morris Nichols is pleased to announce that Jay Moffitt and Leslie Polizoti will become partners, effective January 1, 2011.
- Morris Nichols Trial Team Contributes to eBay's Victory in Shareholder Dispute with craigslist
William Lafferty headed the Morris Nichols trial team that represented eBay Inc. in its successful shareholder dispute against craigslist.
- A. Gilchrist Sparks III Article Published in ABA’s The Business Lawyer: Focus on Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law
Gil Sparks co-authored After Twenty-Two Years, Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law Continues to Give Hostile Bidders a Meaningful Opportunity for Success.
- Lawdragon Names Four Morris Nichols Attorneys Among 500 Leading Lawyers in America
Rick Alexander, Jack Blumenfeld, Bill Lafferty and Ken Nachbar have been named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America 2010 guide.
- A. Gilchrist Sparks III Presents at Practising Law Institute: Contests for Corporate Control 2010 – Director Fiduciary Duties in M&A Transactions
Gil Sparks served as a panelist on the session entitled Director Fiduciary Duties in M&A Transactions at the Practising Law Institute (PLI) Contests for Corporate Control 2010: Current Offensive & Defensive Strategies in M&A Transactions seminar in New York City.
- John P. DiTomo, Patricia O. Vella, DiTomo and Vella Present in ABA Webinar on Great Hill Equity Partners Case January 2014, Webinar
- James D. Honaker, Eric Klinger-Wilensky, Featured Authors for PLC’s Practice Note: Dividends, Redemptions and Stock Purchases
- Jeffrey R. Wolters, Jeff Wolters Presents at 33rd Annual Ray Garrett, Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute: Avoiding Pitfalls in M&A Transactions Chicago, May 2013
- Jeffrey R. Wolters, Jeffrey Wolters Featured Speaker at Practising Law Institute Seminar: Advanced Venture Capital 2012 San Francisco, December 2012
- Jeffrey R. Wolters, Jeffrey Wolters Featured Speaker at Practising Law Institute Seminar: Hot Topics in Mergers & Acquisitions 2012 Chicago, September 2012
- Frederick H. Alexander, Tarik J. Haskins, Louis G. Hering, Kenneth J. Nachbar, Rick Alexander, Ken Nachbar, Lou Hering, Tarik Haskins Serve as Program Speakers at 2012 ABA Annual Meeting – Business Law Section Chicago, August 2012
- Frederick H. Alexander, Louis G. Hering, Eric Klinger-Wilensky, Patricia O. Vella, A. Gilchrist Sparks III, Frederick Alexander, Louis Hering, Eric Klinger-Wilensky, Gilchrist Sparks and Paticia Vella Present at ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting Boston, May 2011
- Louis G. Hering, Patricia O. Vella, A. Gilchrist Sparks III, A. Gilchrist Sparks III, Lou Hering and Patricia Vella Serve on Panels at ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting Denver, May 2010
- Andrew M. Johnston, R. Judson Scaggs, Jr., Andrew Johnston and R.J. Scaggs, Jr. Speak at 31st Annual Securities Regulation and Business Law Conference Dallas, February 2009
- Court of Chancery Provides Guidance on When a Less-Than-Majority Stockholder May Be Deemed a Controlling Stockholder
- Court of Chancery Addresses Monetary Liability of Directors in Follow-On Rural/Metro Opinion
- Kettleton Multi-Year Holdings LLC v. Sourcefire LLC Reminds Practitioners that Timely Notice of a Merger's Effective Date Reduces Litigation Risks in Delaware
- Frederick H. Alexander, John P. DiTomo, S. Mark Hurd, Morris Nichols Alert Featured on Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (November 2013)
- Jeffrey R. Wolters, Jeff Wolters Featured Author in ABA Business Law Today – Breacher Beware: Contract Damages in Delaware M&A Decisions ABA Business Law Today, May 2012
- John P. DiTomo, A. Gilchrist Sparks III, The Short-term vs. Long-term Dilemma Practising Law Institute Corporate Governance 2011
- Stephen P. Lamb & John P. DiTomo, Federalization vs. Federalism In Corporation Law Practising Law Institute Corporate Governance 2010
- A. Gilchrist Sparks III, Helen Bowers, After Twenty-Two Years, Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law Continues to Give Hostile Bidders a Meaningful Opportunity for Success 65 Bus. Law. 761 (2010)
- John P. DiTomo, William M. Lafferty, Defining The Proper Subject Matter For A Bylaw Under Delaware Law Practising Law Institute Corporate Governance 2009, 1774 PLI/Corp 337
- John P. DiTomo, Eric Klinger-Wilensky, William M. Lafferty, Material Adverse Effects And Reasonable Best Efforts: The Hexion/Huntsman Opinion (2008)
- Megan Ward Cascio, Digest of 2007 Delaware Corporate Litigation Trends
- William M. Lafferty, Jay N. Moffitt, Susan Wood Waesco, Delaware Court of Chancery Certifies Defendant Noteholder Class and Appoints Hedge Fund as Class Representative
- Eric Klinger-Wilensky, William M. Lafferty, Delaware Court of Chancery Suggests that Federal Securities Regulation do not Trump State Annual Meeting Law
- A. Gilchrist Sparks III, A Comment Upon Unocal at 20 Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 31, No. 3, p. 887-889, 2006
- A. Gilchrist Sparks III, Corporate Democracy - What It Is, What It Isn't, and What It Should Be Presentation at Tulane University, 18th Annual Law Institute, New Orleans, LA (February 2006)
- S. Mark Hurd, Books and Records Demands and Litigation: Recent Trends and Their Implications for Corporate Governance 9 Del. Law Rev. 1 (2006)
- David A. Drexler, Lewis S. Black Jr., A. Gilchrist Sparks III, Delaware Corporation Law and Practice Matthew Bender (1987-2005)
- John P. DiTomo, Does New Jersey's Solution to its Education Crisis Run Afoul of the United States Constitution? 6 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 328
- S. Mark Hurd, Andrew M. Johnston, Special Committees of the Board Corporate Governance: Law & Practice (2004)
- William M. Lafferty, Pure Resources: The Latest Word from the Delaware Courts on the Standard of Review Applicable to a Tender Offer by a Controlling Stockholder Securities Regulations & Law Reporter, Vol. 35, no. 2 (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.), and Mergers & Acquisitions Law Reporter, Vol. 6, No. 2 (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., January 13, 2003)
- A. Gilchrist Sparks, III, Andrew H. Lippstone, Changes in the Corporate Law After Enron: Emerging Director Liability Issues Presentation at Tulane University, 15th Corporate Law Institute, New Orleans, LA (March 13-14, 2003).
- Jon E. Abramczyk, James D. Honaker, Going-Private "Dilemma"? --Not In Delaware 58 Bus. Law. 1351 (2003)
- 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 ABA Network: The Newsletter of the Business Law Section, Committee on Business and Corporate Litigation, Vol. 11, Issue 1 (Spring 2003)
- Jon E. Abramczyk, Thomas W. Briggs Jr., Delaware Special Committees – Worth Another Look 12 Securities News 25 (American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Fall 2002)
- S. Mark Hurd, Indemnification of Directors and Officers Under Delaware Law, The Review of Commodities & Securities Regulation Vol. 35, No. 21, 262-69 (McGraw Hill Companies, 2002)
- S. Mark Hurd, Andrew M. Johnston, Special Committees of Independent Directors Corporate Practice Series Portfolio No. 79 (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., 2002)