About the Division
The Civil Division is responsible for providing legal services to the officers, departments, boards, agencies, commissions, and instrumentalities of State government. The State Solicitor is appointed by the Attorney General and reports through the Chief Deputy Attorney General. As set forth at 29 Del. C. § 2505 (b), the State Solicitor is responsible for all civil actions and matters wherein the State or its agencies or subdivisions are involved and has such powers as the Attorney General shall designate. The Civil Division is comprised of 77 Deputy Attorneys General and 17 administrative support staff. Presently, Patricia Davis is the State Solicitor and Allison McCowan and Stacey Bonvetti are the Deputy State Solicitors. Much like a private law firm, the Civil Division provides all legal advice in civil matters for the State of Delaware. The Civil Division is organized statewide into eight units: Administrative Law & Education, Affirmative Litigation, Defensive Litigation, Departments & Agencies, Environmental, Government Services, and Health, and Public Safety.
Units of the Civil Division
Administrative Law & Education
The Administrative Law and Education Unit provides legal counsel to the Department of Education, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association, the Professional Standards Board, the State Board of Education, the Public Service Commission, the Division of Public Utility Control, and the Delaware Public Advocate. In addition, the Deputy Attorneys General in the Administrative Law and Education Unit provide counsel to forty professional licensing boards and serve as general counsel to the Division of Professional Regulation.
The Affirmative Litigation Unit prosecutes professional licensing cases against individuals accused of violating state professional standards. It represents the Department of Labor as general counsel with a primary focus on enforcing Delaware’s labor laws through prevailing wage lawsuits, wage payment & collection actions and other matters. It represents State agencies in personnel matters brought before the Merit Employee Relations Board and the courts on appeals. It advises the Human Relations Commission and brings lawsuits on behalf of the State of Delaware involving false claims and significant collections matters.
Deputy Attorneys General in the Defensive Litigation Unit primarily defend the State’s law enforcement agencies, including the Delaware State Police and the Department of Correction, the Division of Probation and Parole, and their officials and employees in State and Federal Courts. These litigation deputies defend State agencies against lawsuits for personal injury and alleged violations of employment law and numerous other legal claims.
Departments & Agencies
Deputy Attorneys General in the Departments and Agencies Unit give legal advice and representation to the following State agencies and their divisions: Department of Finance; Division of Revenue; Department of Safety and Homeland Security; Division of Gaming Enforcement; Department of Transportation; and the Division of Unemployment Insurance within the Department of Labor.
The Environmental Unit works closely with the State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, or DNREC. The lawyers work with engineers and scientists at DNREC to enforce laws that fight air and water pollution, hazardous waste, and other threats to the environment. A notable example is Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act, which restricts new industrial development along the Delaware River and Bay. The Divisions of Parks & Recreation and Fish & Wildlife preserve open spaces and natural areas for use by all Delawareans. The DNREC lawyers also deal with climate and energy issues such as the threat posed by global warming and the promotion of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power and geothermal energy. The Deputy Attorneys General assigned to the Environmental Unit represent DNREC in all state courts, in federal court, and in administrative matters before the Environmental Appeals Board and the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board.
Deputy Attorneys General in the Government Services Unit provide legal advice and representation to the following State agencies and their respective divisions: Department of State; State Lottery Office; Department of Technology and Information; Office of Management and Budget (including Human Resources Management, Government Support Services and Facilities Management); Office of Pensions (including the Board of Pension Trustees); Delaware Transit Corporation; the Delaware Economic Development Office; Department of Agriculture; the Delaware National Guard and the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. The Unit’s DAGs also provide legal advice and representation to the following Statewide elected officials and State administrative boards: State Insurance Commissioner (including the Department of Insurance); State Auditor of Accounts (including the Office of the Auditor of Accounts); State Treasurer (including the Office of the State Treasurer); Deferred Compensation Council; Delaware College Investment Plan Council; Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board; Environmental Appeals Board; Thoroughbred Racing Commission; Harness Racing Commission; State Fire Prevention Commission; Public Employment Relations Board; and State Use Law Commission.
Health and Public Safety
Deputy Attorneys General in the Health and Public Safety Unit provide legal advice and representation to the State of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services including all of its Divisions, the Department of Correction, the Delaware State Police, the Delaware Healthcare Commission, the Child Placement Review Board, and covers all Civil Commitment Hearings and Adult Abuse Registry matters state-wide. General counsel work includes rendering advice; drafting/reviewing legislation and regulations; handling procurement issues including drafting/reviewing contracts, requests for proposals and MOUs; advising on FOIA requests; drafting Attorney General Opinions, and representation of the agency and/or its officers and employees in court and administrative proceedings.
Related Topics: Administrative Law & Education, Affirmative Litigation, Civil, Civil Division, Defensive Litigation, Departments and Agencies, Environmental Unit, Government Services, Health and Public Safety, Units of the Division