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Taking Your Business Global Understanding NJ’s Business Litigation Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Taking Your Business Global Understanding NJ’s Business Litigation Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taking Your Business Global Understanding NJ’s Business Litigation Program

2 David R. Kott, Esq. McCarter & English, LLP Four Gateway Center 100 Mulberry Street Newark, NJ February 24, 2015 ME v.1

3 I. HOW THE BUSINESS TRACK IS AN IMPROVEMENT FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY A. Before the Business Track, Cases Were Randomly Assigned 1. Lack of a Specialized Judge 2. Different Judge During the Life of the Case 3. Chancery Division a. No Right to a Jury Trial b. Foreclosure Docket B. Business Track 1. Specialized Judges in Each Venue 2. Case Management and Trial by Same Judge 3

4 II. NJBIA EFFORT TO HAVE SPECIALIZED BUSINESS TRACK A. Fall 2013 NJBIA meeting with Chief Justice Rabner B. Senator Barnes and Assemblyman Russo were in attendance C. Goals 1. Specialized Judges with expertise a. Better decisions b. More cost effective c. Timeliness 4

5 D. Chief Justice Rabner Open to Considering the Issue 1. Earlier New Jersey State Bar Association Efforts 2. Pilot Program – Bergen and Essex Counties 3. Not a Separate Business Court 4. Pre-1948 Constitution a. 17 Different Courts Constitution a. Supreme Court Controls Judicial Branch b. Chief Justice has significant duties 5

6 E. Chief Justice Rabner appoints a Working Group 1. Diverse Working Group a. NJBIA b. Senator Barnes and Assemblyman Russo c. NJSBA d. American Association for Justice e. New Jersey Defense Association f. Judges g. Court Administrators 6

7 III. THE WORKING GROUP AGREED THAT THERE NEEDED TO BE AN EXPANSION OF THE BERGEN AND ESSEX PILOT PROGRAM A. Experienced Judges in each vicinage (not each county) 1. Right to a jury trial 2. Single Judge will handle the case from beginning to end B. $200,000 threshold – 1. If the amount in controversy is less than $200,000 discretionary C. Not use the Chancery Division 1. No right to a jury trial 2. Foreclosure docket 7

8 IV. NJBIA MET ITS GOALS A. Specialized Judges with background and expertise in business disputes 8

9 Introduction to New Jersey’s Complex Business Litigation Program Michael P. O’Mullan, Esq. Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP Headquarters Plaza One Speedwell Avenue Morristown, NJ February 24, 2015

10 IMPLEMENTATION OF COMPLEX BUSINESS LITIGATION PROGRAM Michael P. O’Mullan, Esq. Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP Headquarters Plaza One Speedwell Avenue Morristown, NJ February 24, 2015

11 Implementation of Program “…effective January 1, 2015 and until further order, the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey are supplemented and relaxed so as to authorize implementation of the Complex Business Litigation Program, the details of which program shall be provided... through a comprehensive notice to the bar.” (11/13/14 Order of N.J. Supreme Court)

12 Notice to Bar Announced implementation of program effective January 1, 2015 Outlined basic program features Identified judges in each vicinage

13 Judges Designated one judge per vicinage as “Complex Business Litigation Judge” Furthers goal of developing broader base of experienced judiciary “Trickle up” to appellate courts

14 Judicial Training Judges to receive “extensive specialized training in all areas relating to business litigation” Training has begun Judicial training is key feature of Program

15 Written Opinions Judges expected to issue a minimum of two written opinions per year “in order to develop a body of case law relating to business litigation” Furthers key goal of fostering certainty Takes time

16 What Cases Qualify? Must meet $200,000 threshold, but can be relaxed in “particular situation” -and- Must meet definition of either a “Complex Commercial case” or a “Complex Construction case”

17 What is a Complex Commercial Case? Business vs. Business litigation: claims must arise out of “business or commercial transactions” Meet $200,000 threshold Involve: complex factual or legal issues many separately represented parties pre-trial motions raising difficult or novel issues many witnesses (lay or expert) substantial documents/electronically stored information need for substantial time for trial interpretation of business or commercial statutes or “other contentions of a complex business/ commercial nature”

18 What is not a Complex Commercial Case? Excluded cases include:  general equity matters  matters primarily involving consumer, labor, personal injury, condemnation  government is a party

19 Claims by, against, and among owners, contractors, subcontractors, fabricators and installers, architects, engineers, design and construction consultants, and other similar parties Meet $200,000 threshold (due to claimed design/construction defects or delivery delay) Involve: complex factual or legal issues many parties pre-trial motions raising difficult or novel issues many lay or expert witnesses many documents or Electronically Stored Information require substantial time for trial But not solely payment and billing claims; change order claims; wrongful termination claims; quantum meruit; construction/mechanics liens unless associated with Complex Construction claims described above What is a Complex Commercial Case?

20 How it works? Parties select Track IV “Complex Commercial/Construction” at earliest stage Results in “individualized case management” by CBL Program Judge Retain same judge through trial

21 How it works? So, where are the rules addressing business concerns…? Individual case management by experienced and trained judge is key to rational procedure Formal rule changes may come down the road

22 Dispute Resolution Not part of automatic, mandatory mediation and arbitration programs Mediation “encouraged”

23 Introduction to New Jersey’s Complex Business Litigation Program Thomas R. Valen, Esq. Gibbons P.C. One Gateway Center Newark, NJ (973) February 24, 2015

24 THE FUTURE OF THE COMPLEX BUSINESS LITIGATION PROGRAM Thomas R. Valen, Esq. Gibbons P.C. One Gateway Center Newark, NJ February 24, 2015

25 Prediction: The Complex Business Litigation Program Will Be the Best Forum for NJ Businesses to Resolve their Business vs. Business Disputes. Faster, More Efficient and More Predictable than Arbitration Broader in Scope than Chancery More Consistent than NJ Federal Court Litigation More Cost Effective and Friendly to NJ Businesses than Out of State Courts

26 So What Will Make the Program Superior? Quality and Training of the Judges Individualized and Active Case Management Development of Caselaw (Over Time)

27 What Does This Mean for Business (and Not Just Lawyers)? Clearer Rules Enhanced Ability to Avoid Litigation Less Unnecessary Business Interruption (Especially in Discovery) Lower Legal Costs A More Business-Friendly Environment

28 What Needs to Happen to Make My Prediction Come True? Commitment from the Court Administration Strong Performance By the Judges Utilization By Businesses Feedback from Litigants

29 Taking Your Business Global Understanding NJ’s Business Litigation Program


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