Business Court Modernization Bill Stuck in House Committee


Today a House Judiciary Committee was presented with a new version of SB 853 - Business Court Modernization - that was prepared without input from bill sponsors Barringer and Rucho. This is common treatment of a senate bill in a house committee or vice versa; it is also a sign from above that the session is winding down.

Chairman Chuck McGrady provided guidelines for discussing and changing the bill without a vote scheduled for today's committee meeting.

Senator Barringer presented the bill and listed the ever-growing list of the interested parties who have now weighed in, this time adding to the list Mack Sperling whose business litigation blog is well-regarded and can be seen here: Barringer was gracious as she learned the new version of the bill had stripped out two sections of her bill that the Senate supports: the 3-judge panel for constitutional challenges and the Delaware-style business incorporation language, leaving only the section dealing specifically with the state's Business Court with some small technical and conforming changes.

Mildred Spearmen from the Administrative Office of the Courts addressed concerns to the committee including an unaddressed potential cost to the Judicial Branch, technical concerns about how some cases are transferred, and what happens if Business Court designation triggers are not met at the filing of the case.

The chairman told the committee member they may have the opportunity to further debate and vote this bill out at a future committee meeting.  That's right they may at a future meeting. This bill may be a hostage in the semi-friendly end-of-session wrap-up games.

Our best guess is we see the passing of a bill to modernize the Business Court this session. No guarantees on the provisions regarding the 3-judge panel or the Delaware-style business incorporation changes.

The new version of the bill is not yet online. I'll post it here soon.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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