Delaware Governor John Carney on Thursday nominated a corporate lawyer and a court official to fill two newly created openings on the state’s influential Court of Chancery, which is a major venue for major shareholder disputes.
Kathaleen McCormick, an attorney with the Wilmington law firm of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, and Morgan Zurn, a master with the Court of Chancery, must be confirmed by the state’s Senate.
If confirmed during a special session on Oct. 3, they will increase the number of vice chancellors on the court to six from four. The court also has a chancellor, or chief judge, and two masters in chancery, who handle cases assigned to them by the court and focus on guardianships, property disputes and estate matters.
Judges on the court serve 12-year terms.
A majority of U.S. public companies are chartered in Delaware, partly because of its well-established corporate law, which is overseen by the Court of Chancery. Fees from business formations in the state are a major component of the state’s general budget revenue.
The chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, Leo Strine, pushed for the first expansion of the Court of Chancery since 1989 to bolster what he has called the state’s “primary industry” – incorporating businesses and providing legal services.
Before becoming master on the court, Zurn was a deputy attorney general in the state and argued appeals before the state’s Supreme Court.
McCormick’s practice focuses on commercial and alternative entity litigation, according to a statement from Carney. She is currently on the legal team defending the Carney administration in a dispute over school funding and was part of a team representing a shareholder who sued Mark Zuckerberg and other directors of Facebook Inc in 2014 over compensation, according to court records.
Facebook agreed to put the challenged component of compensation to a shareholder vote.
(Reporting by Tom Hals; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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