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Carney nominates Paul Fioravanti for Chancery

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DOVER ““ Gov. John Carney announced Friday, Jan. 3., that he was nominating Delaware attorney Paul Fioravanti Jr. to the Vice Chancellor of the Court of Chancery seat left open by the promotion of former Vice Chancellor Tamika Montgomery-Reeves to the state Supreme Court.

Carney’s announcement for his Chancery pick came just hours before Montgomery-Reeves formally joined the Delaware Supreme Court in her investiture ceremony held at Howard High School in Wilmington.

Paul Fiovaranti Jr. | Photo courtesy of Prickett, Jones & Elliott

“I am pleased to nominate Paul, whose litigation experience and judgment would serve our state well on the Court of Chancery ““ our country’s premier venue for corporate litigation,” Carney said in a statement. “I look forward to the Senate considering his nomination.”

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider the governor’s nomination of Fioravanti later this month, Carney’s office reported. The legislature returns to Dover on Jan. 14.

Since February 1999, Fioravanti has practiced with the Delaware law firm Prickett, Jones & Elliott, P.A. As a partner of the firm, he focuses on corporate and commercial litigation in a variety of business matters, including mergers and acquisitions, fiduciary duty obligations, corporate governance, books and records demands, officer and director advancement and indemnification, special committee investigations, and LLC litigation. He served as the firm’s managing director from 2011 to 2014.

“Mr. Fioravanti has been our colleague at Prickett, Jones & Elliott for more than 20 years, with a practice focusing on corporate and business litigation. Prickett Jones, which was founded in 1888, attributes much of its longevity and success to the long-term relationships it has been fortunate to have with distinguished lawyers like Mr. Fioravanti. We congratulate our colleague and friend on this nomination” the firm wrote on its website after the announcement of Fioravanti’s nomination.

Previously, Fioravanti held positions as a reporter and editor for KYW Newsradio and as a Washington, D.C., correspondent. He would later go on to be aco-author of the annual Review of Developments in Delaware Corporation Law from 2002 through 2010, and was the former editor-in-chief of the Maryland Law Review.

Born in Wilmington and a graduate of Salesianum High School, Fioravanti earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delaware. Fioravanti earned his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Like Montgomery-Reeves, Fioravanti is a registered Democrat, fulfilling Delaware’s requirement to have politically balanced courts.

Fioravanti is the second judicial nomination of someone with long ties to Prickett, Jones & Elliott, P.A. by Carney after he nominated Gary Traynor to the Supreme Court in 2017. Traynor had left the firm by then to serve as an assistant public defender in Sussex County, but previously spent 25 years at the firm.

Prickett Jones has other ties to the state courts, as Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III and Superior Court judges Sheldon Rennie and William Witham Jr. spent time at the firm as well.

The opening on the Court of Chancery was a byproduct of the retirement of former Chief Justice Leo Strine Jr., who stepped down from the Supreme Court’s top role at the end of October. Carney then appointed Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. to fill Strine’s seat, and Montgomery-Reeves to fill Seitz’s seat.

Since Seitz and Montgomery-Reeves were confirmed by the Senate in November, little has been said publicly about the search for a replacement on Chancery, one of the most important courts in the nation due to its status as being the first stop in many corporate litigation cases.

When there is a vacancy on one of Delaware’s courts, the Delaware Judicial Nominating Commission screens candidates and submits at least three names to the governor. The governor selects a nominee, which must be confirmed by a majority vote in the Delaware Senate. Once approved, judges serve 12-year terms.

Seitz took his oath of office in a small ceremony on Nov. 8 at the Historic Courthouse in Old New Castle, forgoing a public investiture. Montgomery-Reeves, the state’s first black Supreme Court judge, privately took her oath of office Dec. 5, but did plan a public investiture ceremony for Jan. 3.

By Jacob Owens

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