Friday, February 5, 2010

Business Courts in the United States and Around the World

Obtaining Jurisdiction in Business Courts

Some business courts have concurrent jurisdiction over selected types of business cases. There are several methods for obtaining jurisdiction in these courts: (1) either party can file a motion to have the case transferred to the business court/docket; (2) a plaintiff can file an initial designation to have the case placed in the business court/docket at the beginning of the proceedings. The Chief Administrative Judge of the district or circuit where the court is located usually decides if the case belongs in the business court/docket; (3) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the state where the business court is located decides which cases are appropriate for the business court; (4) a group of judges decide together what cases will be assigned to the business court; (5) the business court judge who receives the application for transfer makes the sole and final decision of whether the case is appropriate for the business court; and/or (6) a civil court judge can also file for transfer of a case that has been assigned to him/her from civil court to business court.

In other jurisdictions business courts have mandatory jurisdiction. Maine has optional jurisdiction allowing any superior court judge, district court judge, party, or attorney to recommend a case for transfer to the business court leaving the ultimate decision to the business court judge. Philadelphia has mandatory jurisdiction over a case if both parties are located in the jurisdiction and the case involves a commercial dispute; otherwise, jurisdiction is optional and at the judge’s discretion.

Disclaimer: This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. If you have questions or need specific advice relating to the matters contained herein, please contact Lovaas & Lehtinen, P.C.

1 comment:

  1. Jurisdiction in Philadelphia's Commerce Case Management Program (the "Commerce Court") is based on (1) a dispute being filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, (2) the subject matter of which falls within one of a set of delineated categories making up the Commerce Court's jurisdiction. All of the parties do not have to be located in the Court of Common Pleas' jurisdiction, i.e. they do not have to have their physical location in Philadelphia (or Pennsylvania). There only has to be personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and the claim must be over $50,000. There is no category of judicial discretion for letting a case into the Commerce Court that does not fall into one of the defined jurisdictional categories. A California company could sue a Philadelphia company for breach of contract based on UCC claims, and if brought in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia that claim "shall be assigned" to the Commerce Court, and there is no discretion to decline jurisdiction over that case in the Commerce Court because one of the parties is from California. Nor is there discretion to decline a case that falls within one of the jurisdictional categories.