Journal of Business & Technology Law

Business Court News and Developments

  • Jun. 1st, 2012 - The Toronto Region has launched an e-Delivery pilot project to standardize the electronic submission of documents to judges sitting on the Commercial List. Currently, counsel provide electronic documents to judges in myriad formats which may not allow cutting and pasting or searching the document. The pilot project's guidelines require documents to be delivered on a USB stick in Word format while other hearing materials are to be organized in a PDF file. These guidelines are designed to enhance the usefulness of electronic documents to judges.
  • Apr. 5th, 2012 - Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann of the New York Court of Appeals called for a reassessment of the state's business court system. Formally called the Commercial Division, the system was established in 1993 by the Civil Branch of the state Supreme Court in order to maintain a higher standard of efficiency and expertise in business litigation. Despite commercial practitioners' praise of the Commercial Division, Chief Judge Lippmann asked that New York courts strive to provide a more business-friendly environment in order to take advantage of the state's aggregation of commercial lawyers.
  • Apr. 5th, 2012 - The English High Court recently applied a commercial construction approach to interpreting a share purchase agreement with a standard "entire agreement provision." The Court, upholding the limitation on liability, interpreted the "entire agreement provision" as a calculated decision by both parties when allocating risk during the contractual phase. This new standard "cuts through" a long history of conflicting case law and will be viewed favorably by the business community as a move toward contractual certainty.
  • Apr. 3rd, 2012 - Ivory Coast Sets Up Commerce Court to Boost Business Confidence: The Ivory Coast will open a special court to hear legal complaints from the country's business community to improve investor confidence in the West African nation. The court will start operating on October 1 and comprise about 75 judges; 15 will be professional judges and about 60 judges will come from the business community.
  • Mar. 29th, 2012 - The West Virginia Supreme Court is considering whether to move forward with the addition of a Business Court in their judicial system. At this stage, the Court has requested that public comments on the proposal be submitted to the Court for its consideration by May 11, 2012. The proposed amendment would adopt Rule 29, Commercial Litigation, to the West Virginia Trial Court Rules. The Court's decision to seek public comment follows the Business Court Study Committee's February presentation to the Court of its initial proposal. The study committee was initially formed in June 2010, following House Bill 4352, which passed in March 2010. A link to the proposed rule is available on the West Virginia Supreme Court website. Public comments should be submitted in writing and filed with the Clerk of Court by the May 11 deadline.
  • Mar. 29th, 2012 - Despite the total number of appeals to West Virginia's Supreme Court declining by 56% since 2007, some are arguing that the need for an intermediate appeals court still exists. Though many remain skeptical, Richie Heath, the executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, argues that the state's Supreme Court is one of the "busiest appellate courts in the nation..." and the new court would encourage the development of West Virginia law and review of lower court decisions.
  • Mar. 27th, 2012 - Members of the Ohio Common Pleas Committee have recently responded to a survey, weighing in on whether the state's pilot commercial docket should become permanent. Of the fifty-seven responses, 68% believed the program should be permanent. Some of the respondents suggested expanding the docket to include more cases, while others claimed that the docket was already inefficient and slow. The results of the survey have been sent to the Ohio Supreme Court, which will decide the fate of the pilot program.
  • Mar. 25th, 2012 - The state of Iowa plans to implement a business court pilot program in its state court system. The program would parallel the current civil track and provide a forum for high-dollar, high-stakes cases in the areas of intellectual property rights, trade secrets, and breach of contracts. Cases qualified for the business track would be assigned to judges that are specially trained to hear these types of cases. Iowa would join many other states around the country that already have business courts.
  • Mar. 5th, 2012 - Michigan began three pilot programs for a Specialized Business Docket (SBD). The Counties participating are (1) the 17th Circuit Court in Kent County, Macomb County, and Oakland County. The program is designed to help the Michigan Judges Association find better ways to litigate business cases. The SBD was a recommendation of the Judicial Crossroads Task Force Business Impact Committee, which concluded that adding SBDs in large metropolitan areas could make the court system more efficient and reduce the expense of litigation for businesses. The Judges Association will examine results from the Macomb, Kent and Oakland pilot programs - which are all structured differently - and advise if and how SBDs should operate in the future.
  • Feb. 22nd, 2012 - New York State Courts Look to Clear Dockets of Burdened Business Courts: A 30-person task force headed by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye was established in New York to study ways to lighten the load of the Commercial Division of New York state courts. Modeled after the Delaware Chancery Courts, the New York Commercial Division was established in 1995 as a way to established a sophisticated court system to best cater to the needs of business litigation. However, recent budget cuts and increased litigation have heavily burdened the courts. Proposals by the task force include measures such as creating higher minimum amounts in controversy, as well as creating a new class of Court of Claims judges to serve in the Commercial Division.

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Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved