March 20 (Reuters) - Delaware lawyer Andre Bouchard was nominated on Thursday to replace Leo Strine as the chief judge of the state’s Court of Chancery, one of the premier venues for business disputes, according to a statement by Gov. Jack Markell.
Strine became chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court in February.
Bouchard, 53, is a managing partner of the Bouchard Margules & Friedlander firm in Wilmington, which represents both defendants and plaintiffs in stockholder class actions and other corporate disputes.
The chief judge, officially known as the chancellor, serves a 12-year term and assigns cases among the court’s five judges and also oversees court administration.
The non-jury court has handled many recent high-profile corporate disputes, including billionaire Carl Icahn’s attempt to disrupt the Dell Inc buyout and Fiat’s battle with a union trust over its Chrysler stake.
Bouchard represented Walt Disney Co in one of the court’s most famous cases, a shareholder lawsuit that failed to hold the company’s board liable for a what investors claimed was a wasteful $140 million severance package paid to Michael Ovitz in 1997.
He represented Google Inc’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, in a 2012 shareholder lawsuit challenging the company’s plan to issue a new class of stock. That case was settled.
Bouchard’s firm was hired by the state to represent it in two recent high-profile federal lawsuits, one involving Delaware’s plan to offer single-game sports betting and another to allow the Chancery judges to hear private arbitration cases.
The state ended up on the losing end in both, although Delaware has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its appeal of the arbitration case.
Bouchard’s nomination must be confirmed by the state’s senate.
Bouchard graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986 and spent 10 years with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a firm that has spawned numerous Delaware judges including Strine. (Editing by Andrew Hay)