Update: Marijuana Legalization – Probably Still Not Yet

Update: As of June 19th, Rep. Helene Keeley announced her retirement from the House as well. With both the bill sponsors legislators now retiring, there is a real question if the legislation will become a double-chamber retirement present. If not, the topic now needs new champions in both chambers, potentially resetting the tone and direction of the public policy debate.

See post June 18, 2018 post here.

Kimberly Hoffman to Present on Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law

Morris James partner Kimberly Hoffman will speak at The National Business Institute Zoning and Land Use Law Seminar on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware.  Click here to view full program details and registration information.

More ›

Marijuana Legalization – Probably Still Not Yet

With the primary senate sponsor of House Bill 110, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, retiring this year, it remains to be seen if there will be any last-minute legalization of the adult use of cannabis in Delaware. While in the down-revenue budget last year marijuana was touted as a $22 million budget-booster, in the up-revenue budget this year the legislature is seeing green, but it doesn’t seem to be marijuana. However, a June amendment after a series of eight task force meetings makes it clear that the advocates and sponsors are not backing down from their goal.

The amendment is long and winding. It makes adjustments from the task force meetings through sales tracking, dollars to law enforcement, clarifications of implications for employment, and banning of candy to curtail concerns about children’s use. It’s a loud amendment, getting more press attention than nearly all filed bills short of gun control. More ›

Opiates – The Power to Tax

Posted In Health Care

The multi-year effort to address the addiction crisis, specifically opiates in recent years, continues in earnest. Some policies do seem to be working: as reported by Delaware officials in April, opiate prescriptions are down 14%. The larger addiction public health crisis continues, however, with the News Journal estimating that one person a day still dies from overdose in Delaware. The legislature, the Behavioral Health Consortium led by Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, and Attorney General Matt Denn have not let up in their efforts. This year, a new tactic is coming to the forefront: taxes and fees. More ›

Guns, Guns, and Guns – Tarasoff 3.0?

Gun Control

No topic has been hotter in the Delaware legislature this year than gun control. Some view gun violence as a public health crisis and several industry groups have taken positions on the various gun bills. While we’ll briefly touch on some of the broader subjects being discussed, we’re going to hone in on how legislation this session has the potential to change the Delaware healthcare landscape in terms of healthcare professionals’ reporting requirements. Right now our general overall summary of the session from a tangle of proposals (with a few weeks to go) can be summed up as: yes red flag laws, maybe with many caveats on gun accessories, and no to weapon bans. Our major recommendation so far to the Delaware healthcare industry is that mental health professionals seek legal guidance in revamping their policies and procedures for dealing with patients who may be a danger to themselves.

The total number of filings on bump stocks, magazine sizes, purchase age, bans, and protection orders has already reached the double digits. While most of these bills that make it to the agenda clear the Democratic supermajority House, they seem to be stalling in the Senate – a la SB 163 the assault weapon ban that failed to even get out of committee – or get “ping ponged” back to the House with new wrinkles and amendments. Perhaps a reminder that the Senate is a one-vote Democratic majority and that Delaware is in many ways a purple state.  One bill emerged as a clear exception to all the rules. House Bill 302, the “Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act” sponsored by Representative David Bentz, mustered unanimous votes and was signed into law in April. Known as a “red flag” law, it is the successor to House Bill 88 of 2013 which was proposed out of then-Attorney General Beau Biden’s office. House Bill 88 passed the House unanimously, but failed in the Senate. More ›

Primary Care on the Brink

Posted In Health Care

Continuing the Morris James’ government relations team’s seven days of updates on the 149th Legislative session with today’s topic: where is Delaware when it comes to foundational health policy? 

Under the Markell administration Delaware received a $35 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant from the federal government to transform its delivery system. A lot of work went into strategies surrounding healthy neighborhoods, healthcare IT, workforce, practice transformation, and the shift away from fee for service using tools like common scorecards for quality metrics. Some dollars were committed to actual implementation, but the SIM grant’s strongest value to the state was in planning and sharing stakeholder vision. 

When Governor Carney entered office in 2016 his focus moved away from the SIM conversation and into his own vision of the healthcare benchmark (more on this when the administration’s report comes out at the end of the month). It started a related, but new conversation about how to put downward pressure on the overall healthcare cost inflation rate.  More ›

Let’s Talk Healthcare Law June 30th – The 149th Delaware General Assembly Deadline

Posted In Legislation, News

Over the course of the next few weeks Morris James is going to tell you everything you need to know about healthcare bills that should be on your radar as we close out this legislative session. Guns, mental health, opiates, primary care reform, marijuana, and “the Benchmark” are all on the radar screen. If the world was created in seven days, we can give you that many days of posts to set the healthcare law table on the 149th on each of these topics.  Of course, there are always a few “June Surprises” as well that we’ll stay on top of for you.

First, to understand these bills, let’s place them in the right historic context; nothing does that like the budget. In the words of Delaware’s own Vice President Joe Biden, “Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”  So this first post will be about the 2018 Budget and “one time investments.”  After the 2017 “shared sacrifice” budget battle and cuts that led to the first late budget in nearly fifty years, it is hard now to reconcile that the state has nearly $430 million in “surplus” revenue as we enter the final month of the 149th Session. For many legislators, this is the first session in their careers that is not predicated on finding cuts and generating revenue. In that context, Governor Carney has been strongly urging caution.  “One-time revenues for one-time investments” is the mantra from the executive branch. Governor Carney consistently urges that the fundamental budget still has long-term structural flaws and that putting budget dollars into continued programming may lead to the legislature having to cut that very same programming in the near future.  More ›

Delaware Super Lawyers® 2018 Recognizes 10 Morris James Attorneys

Posted In News

Delaware Super Lawyers® magazine has recognized five Morris James partners as top legal counsel in Delaware and five "Rising Stars®" attorneys. "Rising Stars®” is a recognition for lawyers who are 40 or under, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. 

Super Lawyers® selects outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas throughout the United States who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. Only the top five percent of attorneys in each state are honored as Super Lawyers in this annual list, and the Rising Star selection is limited to only 2.5 percent of eligible attorneys, according to Super Lawyers’ website.

Morris James attorneys recognized on the 2018 Delaware Super Lawyers® list are:

Business Litigation:
P. Clarkson Collins
Jason C. Jowers
Lewis H. Lazarus
Edward M. McNally 

Employment and Labor:
David H. Williams 

Business Litigation Rising Stars:
Meghan A. Adams
Albert J. Carroll
Bryan Townsend
Patricia A. Winston 

Medical Malpractice Rising Stars:
Joshua Meyeroff

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business Recognizes 15 Morris James Lawyers and Issues 5 Firm Practice Rankings in the 2018 Edition

Posted In News

Thirteen Morris James partners have been named leaders in their respective fields by Chambers USA, and two additional partners were named “recognized practitioners” in Delaware for Corporate/M&A: Alternative Entities.  Morris James also received five practice recognitions.  

Recognitions:

Chancery**
Clarkson Collins Jr.
Lewis H. Lazarus
Edward M. McNally

Bankruptcy/Restructuring**
Brett D. Fallon
Carl N. Kunz III
Stephen M. Miller

Corporate/M&A: Alternative Entities
Ross Antonacci*
Lewis Ledyard*

Real Estate**
John M. Bloxom IV

Real Estate & Zoning/Land Use
Kimberly Hoffman

Labor & Employment**
James H. McMackin III
David H. Williams

Intellectual Property**
Kenneth Dorsney
Richard K. Herrmann
Mary B. Matterer

 * Recognized Practitioner
** Recognized Practice Areas

Ryan Keating Contributes to Bloomberg Law on Delaware Data Breach Compliance

Posted In Data Breach, News

Ryan T. Keating was quoted in the Bloomberg Law article, "Delaware Ramps Up Data Breach Compliance Mandates," regarding the impact of the new statute.

"The most significant change in the new statute, which updates the state’s 2005 data breach notification law, is that companies are required to “implement and maintain reasonable procedures and practices” to prevent data breaches, Ryan Keating, a member of Wilmington, Del.-based Morris James LLP’s data privacy and information governance group, told Bloomberg Law.

The amended statute does not offer guidance on what constitutes “reasonable” security, so companies developing security programs “would be wise to consider security standards published by NIST and other organizations,” Keating said, referring to the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology."

To view the full article, click here.

Morris James Welcomes New Director of Client Relations

Posted In News

SheikerMorris James LLP, a leading multidisciplinary law firm in Delaware, announced that Dawn V. Sheiker will join the firm in April as its Director of Client Relations. “This new position was developed to focus directly on enhancing client services,” stated Managing Partner Keith Donovan.

As the Director of Client Relations, Dawn will be responsible for developing and overseeing the firm’s client relations for this multi-office law firm. She will work proactively with department and practice area chairs and in coordination with all members of the marketing and executive committees. Her focus will be primarily on providing executive level support for the firm’s client feedback, client teaming, and general business development initiatives.

“We are dedicated to providing innovative and effective ways to serve the needs of our clients and community. Dawn’s talent and expertise will allow us to build upon this core concept and increase the sophistication and quality of service we are providing nationally and locally,” commented Keith Donovan.

Dawn brings with her more than 10 years of experience in law firm marketing and business development, including working for the past five years for an Amlaw 200 firm. Dawn Chaired the Legal Marketing Association Northeast, Philadelphia Steering Committee in 2017 after serving as President-Elect in 2016.  She also served as the association’s Treasurer in 2015 after Co-Chairing its Finance Committee in 2014. Dawn obtained an MSc in Applied Social Research from the University of Dublin, Trinity College in 2008.  She graduated with an MS in Administration of Justice from Wilmington University in 2006 after receiving her BS, cum laude, from Wilmington University in 2004.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Morris James team. The firm is well known for its national and local practices, and this provides a huge opportunity to work with a dynamic firm in its continued growth and in support of exceptional client service,” said Dawn V. Sheiker.

Ed McNally and Albert Carroll Distinguished as Two of the Top Ten M&A Authors on JD Supra

Posted In News

Readers' Choice JD SupraMorris James is pleased to announce Edward M. McNally and Albert J. Carroll have been recognized in JD Supra’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards for their thought leadership and visibility in the category of Mergers and Acquisitions. 

The annual Readers’ Choice Awards reflects a deep dive into the JD Supra 2017 readership data. Emerging from a pool of over 1750 writers on M&A and related topics, Mr. McNally and Mr. Carroll have been distinguished as two of the top-ten authors in this category. More ›

Morris James LLP is Pleased to Announce Corporate INTL Has Named the Firm Tax Planning - Law Firm of the Year in Delaware

Posted In News

Morris James is pleased to announce Corporate INTL has named the firm Tax Planning - Law Firm of the Year in Delaware.  The Corporate INTL publications reach hundreds of thousands of business leaders and decision makers in the finance and advisory communities worldwide.  Corporate INTL has a database of over 1 million business leaders, investors, in-house counsel, financiers and advisers.  More ›

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: A Business Perspective Client Update

Posted In News

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "Act") enacted in December is a sweeping tax package with significant impact on both businesses and individuals. While certain of the Act’s provisions – such as those curtailing state and local/real estate tax deductions going forward – received quite a bit of press suggesting that the Act might raise the tax bills of many individuals, a number of its changes present new planning opportunities for substantial tax savings.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 Newsletter

Happy Holidays from Morris James LLP