Representative Cases

City of Newark v. Donald M. Durkin Contracting Inc., A.3d, 2023 WL 5517793, at *1 (Del. Aug. 28, 2023)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max Walton, Shaun Kelly, and Erica Sefton prevailed before the Delaware Supreme Court, achieved reversal of the Superior Court, and obtained a ruling that Connolly Gallagher’s longstanding client, the City of Newark, is entitled to indemnification in defending against the contractor’s declaratory judgment action pursuant to the terms of a prior settlement agreement.

Coster v. UIP Companies Inc., 255 A.3d 952 (Del. 2021)

— A.3d. –, 2021 WL 2644094, at *1 (Del. June 28, 2021) (en banc)

Max Walton successfully obtained reversal of the Court of Chancery’s entire fairness ruling regarding a stock sale diluting a 50% shareholder. The Delaware Supreme Court held that even if the court finds that a board acted in good faith when it approves a stock sale to an interested director, if the stock sale is for the primary purpose of interfering with statutory or voting rights of the shareholders, such a stock sale will only survive scrutiny if the board can demonstrate a compelling justification for the sale.  The court went on to hold that a stock sale at an entirely fair price did not substitute for further equitable review.

Pestell v. CytoDyn Inc. et al., 2020 WL 6392820 (D. Del. Nov. 2, 2020)

Representing a publicly traded company in a dispute initiated by a former executive, the firm filed a motion to dismiss a Delaware Wage Payment and Collection Act claim. The plaintiff amended his complaint to assert a different state statutory claim related to wage payment. Following another motion to dismiss, the claim was dismissed with prejudice.

Knights of Columbus Star of the Sea Council 7297 v. City of Rehoboth Beach, 506 F. Supp. 3d 229 (D. Del. 2020)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max Walton, Lisa Hatfield, and Brandon Harper defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Plaintiff claiming that a City of Rehoboth Beach policy, banning unattended displays (including a crèche that Plaintiff desired to erect on or near the City’s Bandstand), violated various constitutional provisions.  The Court held that the City’s policy is constitutionally valid, and declared that other aspects of the case are moot or otherwise unripe.  Plaintiff is represented by the First Liberty Institute and by Jones Day.

Eaton Corp. v. Geisenberger, 2020 WL 5531589, at *1 (D. Del. Sept. 30, 2020)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton, Arthur G. Connolly III, Matthew F. Boyer, and Lisa R. Hatfield obtained dismissal of all but one count of a complaint against the Delaware State Esheator relating to audits performed in the State’s unclaimed property program. The Court dismissed numerous claims outright, dismissed other constitutional claims as unripe, and denied Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction. The case is on appeal to the Third Circuit.

Pike Creek Recreational Services, LLC v. New Castle County, 238 A.3d 208 (Del. Super. Ct. 2020)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton and Lauren P. DeLuca successfully defended New Castle County’s determination that deed restrictions in the Pike Creek Valley do not supersede the County’s zoning and land use authority for the area. The Court determined that the applicable restrictive covenant is in addition to, not preemptive of, the UDC density rules. The case is on appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.

Donald M. Durkin Contracting Inc. v. City of Newark, 2020 WL 2991778, at *1 (Del. Super. Ct. June 4, 2020), reargument denied, 2020 WL 5797622, at *1 (Del. Super. Ct. Sept. 29, 2020)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton and Aaron Shapiro achieved dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint challenging the City’s compliance with a settlement agreement. The Superior Court held that plaintiff’s challenge was barred by the applicable statute of limitations and that plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a claim under the plain language of the settlement agreement in dispute

In re the Trust f/b/o Samuel Francis duPont under Trust Agreement dated August 4, 1936, 2018 WL 4610766, 2018 Del. Ch. LEXIS 315 (Del. Ch. Sept. 25, 2018)

The donee of a power of appointment over a trust tried to bargain away his exercise of the power as part of a Nevada divorce settlement in 1962—although in later years he came to understand that he lacked the legal power to do so, and therefore exercised the power in a different manner under his 2015 will.  The would-be beneficiaries under his 1962 attempt to bargain away the power contended that the purported 1962 exercise should be upheld.  Connolly Gallagher lawyers successfully argued before the Delaware Court of Chancery that the purported 1962 exercise was invalid, and that only the exercise of the power under the donee’s 2015 will should be given effect.

Ughetta v. Cist, Del. Ch., C.A. No. 9146-MA (2016)

Co-trustees and beneficiaries battled over whether a trust—whose grantor had formed it with the primary goal of funding tuitions for her grandchildren—should indeed fund those tuitions.  Connolly Gallagher attorneys were part of a team of lawyers achieving a settlement for their client (a co-trustee and proponent of funding tuitions as the grantor intended), resulting in a division of the trust between family groups.

Parrott v. Sasaki, Del. Ch., C.A. No. 7227-VCL (2012)

A Delaware Asset Protection Trust was attacked by creditors of the grantor. Connolly Gallagher attorneys protected the interests of the institutional trustee, including shepherding the client through the electronic discovery process, while securing full payment of the client’s fees.

Otto v. Gore, 45 A.3d 120 (Del. 2012)

The Supreme Court of Delaware affirmed the result of two Delaware Court of Chancery decisions, including the significant holding that a signed trust document establishing an apparently funded trust had not, in fact, actually created a trust because the grantors hadn’t intended it to do so. Connolly Gallagher attorneys served as part of the team that mounted the successful defense on appeal.

Crossan v. Anthony, Del. Ch., C.A. No. 3195-CC (2009)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys fought to uphold their client’s right to have mortgages on properties she inherited from her late husband paid off by her husband’s trust, resulting in a favorable settlement for their client.

Humes v. Charles H. West Farms, Inc., 950 A.2d 661 (Del. Super. Ct. 2007)

In a real estate title dispute over a large farm property that wound its way through a maze of old deeds, wills, trusts, estates, and court petitions — running the gamut of legal doctrines concerning all of these topics — Connolly Gallagher attorneys helped save the client’s title to the property, accomplishing this on a motion for summary judgment in the Delaware Superior Court.

In re Will & Trust of Moor, 2005 Del. Ch. LEXIS 88

In a Delaware case applying Florida law, Connolly Gallagher attorneys secured a decision on summary judgment that a woman had the right to change her trust, where the document did not specifically authorize amendment.

Fischer v. Fischer, 864 A.2d 98 (Del. Ch. 2005)

In a domestic dispute that ripened into an estate litigation because one party died before the divorce became final, Connolly Gallagher attorneys successfully blocked the spouse whose resources had acquired the marital home from receiving all proceeds of the sale in contravention of the prenuptial agreement. A similar result was reached regarding the stock portfolio.

Fike v. Ruger, 752 A.2d 112 (Del. 2000)

The Supreme Court of Delaware affirmed the Court of Chancery’s granting of summary judgment to majority owners of a partnership on the basis of laches. Connolly Gallagher attorney Greg Weinig primarily authored the appellees’ successful brief.

Fike v. Ruger, 754 A.2d 254 (Del. Ch. 1999)

Connolly Gallagher attorney Greg Weinig helped defend majority owners in a partnership against various minority owner claims. The Delaware Court of Chancery granted summary judgment to the majority owners on grounds of both statutes of limitation and laches.

Dickinson v. Wilmington Trust Co., 734 A.2d 642 (Del. 1999)

The Supreme Court of Delaware affirmed the Delaware Court of Chancery ruling that a trust beneficiary held a general power of appointment over a trust. Connolly Gallagher attorney Greg Weinig primarily authored the appellee’s successful brief.

Port Penn Hunting Lodge Ass’n v. Meyer, 2019 WL 2077600, at *1 (Del. Ch. May 9, 2019), aff’d, 222 A.3d 1044 (Table) (Del. 2019)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton and Kyle Evans Gay successfully defended New Castle County in a challenge to a County decision regarding the Southern Sewer Service Area. The Court dismissed a myriad of claims, including substantive due process claims, equal protection claims, takings claims, contract zoning claims, and estoppel claims. The decision of the Court of Chancery was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.

Mediacom Delaware LLC v Sea Colony Recreational Association, Inc., 2018-0003-JRS (Del. Ch.)

On behalf of Comcast of Delmarva, Connolly Gallagher successfully intervened in an expedited litigation brought by Mediacom wherein it sought a declaration that a multi-million dollar bulk services contract had been renewed and an injunction preventing Sea Colony from proceeding with Comcast, with whom Sea Colony had negotiated a new multi-million dollar bulk services contract.

Town of Cheswold v. Central Delaware Business Park, 188 A.32810 (Del. 2018)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton and Kyle Evans Gay obtained reversal of a Superior Court decision holding that a land owner had acquired, via a pair of 2005 Stipulations and Orders, perpetual vested rights to develop property under prior land use ordinances.  In an en banc unanimous opinion, the Delaware Supreme Court held that neither the prior stipulated orders nor the doctrine of vested rights precludes the Town from enacting police power regulations concerning the business park.

Flowers v. Office of the Governor, 167 A.3d 530 (Del. Super. Ct. 2017)

In one of the first appeals of an Attorney General’s Opinion under an amended provision of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), on an issue of first impression, the Superior Court held that the Office of the Governor did not violate FOIA when it withheld legislatively exempt and privileged communications from a FOIA requestor.   The Office of the Governor was represented on appeal by Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton and Kyle Evans Gay.

DV Realty Advisors, LLC v. Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, Illinois, C.A. No. 7204-VCS (Del. Ch.), No. 464, 2016 (Del.)

Successfully represented successor general partner of Delaware limited partnership in suit regarding validity of removal of the original general partner and determination of the general partner’s post-removal status and economic interest with respect to the partnership.  On 3/10/17, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s determination of the nature and extent of the original general partner’s post-removal legal and economic status.

Opal Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Opal Dewey Beach LLC et al, C.A. No. S16C-05-010 (ESB) (Del. Super Ct. Sept. 9, 2016)

In a seven count suit brought by a condominium association against the former condominium developers and three individuals, Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton and N. Christopher Griffiths moved to dismiss all counts on statute of limitations and other procedural grounds. Following oral argument on September 2, 2016, the Honorable Judge Bradley dismissed all claims with prejudice from the bench.

Nichols v. City of Rehoboth Beach, 836 F.3d 275 (3d Cir. 2016)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys Max B. Walton, Mathew F. Boyer and Arthur (“Chip”) G. Connolly III successfully defended the City of Rehoboth Beach in a challenge to a voting provision authorizing a 52.5 million dollar bond referendum. In the District Court litigation, the case was dismissed on standing grounds. On appeal, the City argued that the doctrine of municipal taxpayer standing did not provide the plaintiff a right to challenge the referendum voting provisions authorized by the City’s charter. The Third Circuit upheld the dismissal of the case and the standing determination of the District Court.

Covington v. The City of Rehoboth Beach, C.A. No. 11512 (VCG) (filed September 17, 2015; dismissed October 2, 2015)

Connolly Gallagher attorney Max B. Walton, representing the City, defeated a request for a temporary restraining order seeking to enjoin a statute establishing a six month ownership requirement for non-resident voting on a theory that that the ownership statute is unconstitutional.  Following denial of the temporary restraining order request, the voting rights claims were dismissed with prejudice by the parties and all claims in the case were dismissed on October 2, 2015.

Matter of Gunn, 122 A.3d 1292 (Del. 2015) (en banc)

Representing the Board of Canvass in Kent County, Timothy M. Holly and Max B. Walton teamed to obtain dismissal of an original jurisdiction certiorari action filed in the Delaware Supreme Court.  The Court ruled that because Plaintiff initially filed in the wrong court and sought the wrong remedy, the certiorari action was time barred.

Traders Alley LLC v. City of Newark Board of Adjustment, 2015 WL 4722978, at * 1 (Del. Ch. Aug. 7, 2015)

Connolly Gallagher attorney Max B. Walton, on behalf of the City of Newark, successfully obtained denial of a request for a temporary restraining order seeking to enjoin proceedings before the City’s Board of Adjustment.  Holding that Traders Alley failed to meet is burden under either the temporary restraining order standard or the motion to expedite standard, the Court held that Plaintiff: (1) failed to establish a due process violation; and (2) “offered no persuasive reason for circumventing the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine.”

In re the New Maurice J. Moyer Academy, Inc., 108 A.3d 294 (Del. Ch. 2015)

Serving as co-counsel to the Department of Justice, successfully defended the State Board of Education, the Department of Education, and the Delaware Secretary of Education against a motion for preliminary injunction in an expedited litigation in the Court of Chancery.  Following briefing on a motion for preliminary injunction and a motion to dismiss, the Court of Chancery held that (1) a Delaware charter school does not have a constitutionally protected property interest in its school charter and (2) students do not have a protected property interest in graduating from a charter school where they are enrolled.

Comcast IP Holdings I, LLC v. Sprint Communications Company L.P., Sprint Spectrum L.P., and Nextel Operations, Inc., C.A. No. 12-205-RGA (D. Del. Oct. 15, 2014)

Connolly Gallagher attorneys served as Delaware counsel for Comcast IP Holdings I, LLC, in a patent infringement litigation against Sprint Communications Company L.P., Sprint Spectrum L.P., and Nextel Operations, Inc.  Following a week-long trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Comcast finding that Sprint infringed three Comcast patents through Sprint Mobile Integration, Google Voice on Sprint, and Airave 2 small cell services.  The jury awarded Comcast $7.5 million in damages.  Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP served as lead counsel.

New Castle County v. Pike Creek Recreational Services LLC, 82 A.3d 731 (Del. Ch. 2013)

In the longstanding dispute over the meaning of restrictions on the Pike Creek Golf Course, Connolly Gallagher obtained a declaratory judgment that a minimum of 130 acres of the golf course must be preserved for an 18-hole golf course use. The Court also rejected the developer’s numerous claims that the restrictions on the golf course should not apply to a proposed housing development, and held that the developer must follow the County’s restriction change and obtain County Council approval if the developer seeks to build in contravention of the applicable restrictions.

Staffieri v. Black, et al., C.A. No. 7439-VCL (Del. Ch.)

Obtained a judgment after trial that established clients’ easement rights in a commercial property and their ability to maintain and use those rights free from interference; also obtained an award of attorneys’ fees and costs against the defendants.

American International Group Inc. Consolidated Derivative Litigation, C.A. No. 769

Connolly Gallagher attorneys served as Delaware counsel for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in stockholder litigation arising from financial irregularities at AIG. The Court of Chancery dismissed the claims against PwC. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision. Those opinions can be found at 965 A.2d 763 (Del. Ch. 2009) and 11 A.3d 228 (Del. 2011), respectively.

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