Senators Rucho and Barringer filed SB 853 - An Act to Modernize the Business Court by making Technical, Clarifying, and Administrative Changes to the Procedures for Complex Business Cases this week. The bill was referred to Senate Judiciary Committee; a hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Current and former legislators laud the creation of the NC Business Court -- a part of the Superior Court handling the most complex business litigation -- as a stroke of genius. Last year it seemed the General Assembly would tinker with Superior Court in ways that were regarded as politically-motivated but it was dropped. This effort is described as purely to make the Business Court better for business.
There are several noteworthy provisions, including:
Tightening up jurisdiction by allowing any party to designate as a mandatory Business Court case disputes concerning partnerships, LLCs and corporations, large-scale contract disputes, unfair competition, trade secrets disputes and others.
It provides for mandatory Business Court jurisdiction a material issue related to tax law that is the subject of a contested case, a dispute in which the amount in controversy is at least $5 million, and actions involving the regulation of pole attachments.
It allows for a direct appeal to the NC Supreme Court.
The bill requires that the Business Court issue written opinions.
If the Court takes more than 6 months to decide a case it must include an explanation in a semi-annual report to the General Assembly.
This bill is probably a net-positive for NC businesses but we'd also like to see 3 additional Business Court locations and 3 additional judges. **Your feedback on the effects of this bill will be important to legislators.
Please view the bill as filed here: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S853v1.pdf