Law notes: Womble, Richards, Layton & Finger, Gawthrop Greenwood and Fox Rothschild


Womble attorneys perform pro bono work in long-running parental rights case

Termination of parental rights is a difficult, painful legal procedure, but sometimes, it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the children involved. Such is a recent case in Delaware, where Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys Morgan Patterson and Nick Verna successfully represented four small children, ages three to eight, before the Delaware Supreme Court.


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Patterson and Verna worked the case on a pro bono basis for over two and half years through the state’s Office of the Child Advocate, a non-judicial state agency charged with safeguarding the welfare of Delaware’s children. Patterson and Verna started representing the clients in late 2015.

In November 2017, the Delaware Family Court terminated the parental rights of the mother, who then appealed to the state’s Supreme Court. The children had been placed in foster care in late 2015 after the mother repeatedly failed to provide adequate care for the children.

The Delaware Supreme Court upheld the Family Court’s decision on June 28, finding that the mother had failed to plan adequately for her children’s needs and that termination was in the best interest of the children.

The court’s decision means the four children are now free to be adopted. The two older children will be adopted by one family located in a nearby state, while the two younger children will be adopted by another family that is located outside of Wilmington.

Verna also represented the four children’s youngest sibling, who was born in late 2017, and was successfully adopted earlier in June 2018 (the termination of the parental rights of the youngest sibling were not appealed and were not at issue in the Delaware Supreme Court case).

Morgan Patterson’s practice focuses on bankruptcy and creditor’s rights in complex Chapter 11 proceedings. Patterson represents both debtors and a variety of secured and unsecured creditors. She is also experienced in representing liquidating trusts and official committees.

Verna represents debtors, prospective purchasers, individual secured and unsecured creditors, and official committees of unsecured creditors in complex commercial bankruptcy cases. Verna also maintains an active litigation practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Bankruptcy litigator Francella joins Cozen O’Connor

Cozen O’Connor announced veteran bankruptcy litigator Thomas J. Francella Jr.— who brings to the firm nearly 20 years’ experience handling a wide range of multi-million dollar bankruptcy cases — has joined its national Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Restructuring Group.

Francella comes to the firm from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLC, where he was a partner in that firm’s Business Reorganization and Bankruptcy practice. He joins Cozen O’Connor as a member and will reside in its Wilmington office.

A former deputy attorney general for the State of Delaware, Francella brings to the firm debtor and unsecured creditor practice.

He regularly represents corporate debtors in the administration of their Chapter 11 bankruptcy estates; corporate entities in out of court financial workouts with secured lenders; and secured and unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. He also represents trustees in Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, and unsecured creditor committees appointed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

He is admitted to practice in Delaware, Florida, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida,

Francella earned his J.D. at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and his B.S. at West Chester University.

Richards, Layton & Finger Attorneys named top litigators

Richards, Layton & Finger directors Kelly Farnan, Kevin Gallagher, and Rudolf Kochhave been recognized as leading litigation attorneys in the 2018Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List.Benchmark Litigationselected the top litigators aged 40 and underwho were involvedin someof their firms’ most noteworthy cases and earned praise from their clients and peers.

Farnan, Gallagher, and Koch are among ten Delaware lawyers chosen, and Richards Layton is the only firm in the state with three lawyers selected for the40 & UnderHot List.

Farnan, vice chair of Richards Layton’s Litigation Department, is a nationally recognized litigator with wide-ranging experience in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, representing large defense contractors, cable companies, airlines, technology companies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Gallagher has experience litigating complex corporate and commercial disputes in Delaware’s state and federal courts, including the Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court. He focuses his practice on stockholder class actions, derivative actions, contested mergers and acquisitions, contractual disputes, appraisal actions, corporate control disputes, and other statutory proceedings.

Koch has litigated many notable cases in the Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court, representing Delaware corporations and their officers, directors, and managers in M&A disputes, derivative and class actions, contractual disputes, appraisal actions, and corporate control disputes. He also advises general partners, corporate boards, and committees with respect to governance, litigation, internal investigations, and control disputes.

Fox Rothschild’s Horan to speak at bankruptcy workshop

Fox Rothschild LLP Partner Thomas Horanis among the speakers at the14thAnnual Mid-Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop, taking place August 2 to 5at the Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania.

Presented by the American Bankruptcy Institute, the event features three days of networking and substantive content.

Resident in the firm’s Wilmington office, Horan joined Fox through a merger last month with Shaw Fishman Glantz & Towbin LLC, a 23-attorney firm with practices in bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and real estate.

Gawthrop Greenwood nominated as Best Place to work

Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, a full-service law firm with offices in the Wilmington area and West Chester, PA, has been named to the 2018 list of “Best Places to Work” by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The only law firm to be honored in its category, Gawthrop Greenwood, PC is also a 2016 recipient of “Best Places to Work.”

Each year, the publicationteams up with Quantum Workplace to find the best workplaces in the region based on employee surveys that tabulate work environment, personal growth, professional development, people and ability to embrace new ideas.

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