Judge Ableman joins the firm as Special Counsel in the Product Liability practice group. She brings more than twenty-nine years of experience as a state trial judge, first on the Delaware Family Court, and ultimately as a Judge on the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. At the time of her appointment to the Family Court, she was only the second woman to serve as a member of that state’s judiciary. During her tenure on the Superior Court, Judge Ableman presided over the asbestos litigation docket for nearly two years, a docket comprised of more than 500 cases involving litigants from all over the world. She issued many detailed written opinions, in an area of the law where written decisions on commonly-recurring summary judgment issues had previously been the exception rather than the rule. She was frequently invited to speak at national asbestos litigation conferences. Judge Ableman has also authored hundreds, if not thousands, of judicial opinions addressing civil, criminal, and appellate matters and she has played a significant role in shaping Delaware law for the past three decades.
Before taking the Bench, Judge Ableman served as the first female Assistant United States Attorney for the District for Delaware from 1979 to 1983. In 1995, Judge Ableman was the first recipient of the Chief Justice’s Award for Outstanding Judicial Service. In 2013, she was awarded the Judicial Achievement Award by the Institute for Legal Reform of the United States of America Chamber of Commerce.
Judge Ableman is a past president of the Richard S. Rodney Inn of Court. She is a past member of the Governor’s Child Protection Accountability Commission. She chaired and authored reports for two child death review investigations, one of which resulted in sweeping improvements to the child welfare system in Delaware. She served on the Bench-Bar-Media Committee of the Supreme Court, and was its chair in 2010 and 2011. Judge Ableman was an adjunct professor at the Villanova School of Law from 2013-2014. She is a member of the National Association of Women Judges, the American Bar Association and the Delaware Bar Association.
Judge Ableman received her B.A. with distinction from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts and her J.D. from the Emory University School of Law where she was Notes and Comments Editor of the Emory Law Journal. She was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1975.