Delaware Law Office
of Larry D. Sullivan, Esquire

A Weblog?
The column to the right, is a news/editorial/comment column. It is a weblog, also know as a blog.

The weblog thing comes from, which offers us a convenient way to manage the posting, administratively. You don't really need to know all of that, but we have included this explanation so that you won't be confused by the term "blog".

Another important topic here is that since the column includes editorials and comments, you can be sure that we are just exercising our free speech rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and as not yet abridged by a reactionary opportunistic vocal minority.

opinions, everybody's got one...
If you would like your opinion published here, forward it for consideration and editorial review to:
Or add a comment. Comments by: YACCS

We encourage the exchange of responsible ideas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Error on Newark Penalty Corrected... Oh Really?

My Opinion -

Today's News Journal Local section says that the error has been corrected. This refers to the huge jury award against the City of Newark this week in Federal Court.

It seems that the City was ordered to pay the aggrieved party's attorneys fees ($1.7 Million), and that in the math, the amount was counted twice. Well, that's understandable. I can understand it because the amount of the rest of the award was so large as to minimize the impact of the double counting of the attorney fees. It is good that it was promply corrected today.

I think we should look however at what was really the error. The bigger error. The one that is in the neighborhood of $36 Million Dollars. I think we should know what caused that error, and fix it.

And the multi-million dollar error that Newark made regarding the adjustment of power charges. Who's going to fix that? Do the people even know about it? I know that I would like to understand it better.

What I am crystal clear on however, is that the City's leadership by Mayor Vance Funk has been disappointing, arbitrary and capricious.

For example, the Mayor recommended that the way to deal with the growing Alderman Court caseload was to ignore the growth issue and recommend formally that the Alderman's salary be cut so as to provide for more compensation for the Deputy Alderman. The Mayor said... on the record... that there was nothing that the judge of Alderman's Court could tell him that he didn't already know. While it is true that Mayor Funk was Alderman thirty some years ago, it is also true that some things have changed since then. Further, the Mayor at that meeting spoke of the arrangement that had been made upon the hiring of the Alderman. Well guess what? He wasn't there. He wasn't Mayor then. He didn't know. He was imprinting upon the present day what he wanted to remember from thirty years ago.

But instead of acknowledging the changes and working with council and the judiciary towards the development of a plan to deal with the growth of the Court and the City, the Mayor preferred cheap political rhetoric.

Such has been the Mayor's practice since he has taken office. And his cavalier and demeaning comments of this nature have been generally demoralizing to the dedicated City employees. Myself included.

After hearing of the meeting regarding the Alderman's Court discussion, I immediately resigned from the position of Deputy Alderman in protest to the manner in which my dedicated professional colleague was treated.

The Alderman had appeared to discuss the matter in private with council, only to find that he had not been informed that the City had decided that the meeting must be in public. Since the planned private meeting was to discuss budgeting which included my personal compensation, I did not attend. Nor was I invited. Had I been invited, or even if the slightest of a suggestion have been made that either there would be a public meeting on the topic, or that I might be asked questions at a private meeting, I would surely have been there. I had already supplied the City with written documentation and supporting data with which to make its budgetary planning, and I had expressly invited the City to ask me any questions that the Mayor and Council might have. Indeed some written questions were forwarded to me and answered promptly.

The Mayor will want to point out that he wasn't in office when the original firing of the reservoir contractor took place. But he was Mayor during the litigation. I would like to know what happened during those years that spiraled the City into this disaster. If he dealt with that the same way he dealt with other things, then I do understand.

Correction is still needed. It's needed at the polls.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Understanding the Melson, Child Support Formula

Many people know about the Melson Formula, Delaware's presumptive child support calculation. But what most people don't know is that there is another document that explains it and helps with interpretive questions.

The Family Court of the State of Delaware Delaware Child Support Formula Evaluation and Update, most recently of October 2, 2006.

When I was practicing in Family Law, I found this document to be priceless. And as hard to find as gold nuggets.

The formula is adjusted, sometimes annually. And policy decisions are made as to how to apply the formula to different circumstances. Going into a child support hearing with only the formula, and without having this document, is going in to a boxing match with one hand tied behind your back.

So here it is, in its entirety,the best kept secret in Delaware child support law. This edition is effective January 1, 2007.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Blogs as Evidence and Impeachment Material

Not shocking, but noteworthy and food for thought... as reported by Kevin at Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Blogs are being used as impeachment material for witnesses in lawsuits.

Along with the ease of publication that Blogs offer, don't forget that they are publication. Might Blogs by their ease of operation allow someone to publish before the complete thought process has been performed? I think so. Might this be a danger in Blogs?

Maybe just a danger in people.

Rule of thumb... Think... then publish. It is also helpful to run a draft by an associate, first.

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