House Bill 5128 sponsored by Rep. John Walsh would require that every circuit court in Michigan with 3 or more circuit judges establish a “business court”. The business court would have jurisdiction over commercial and business disputes involving claims in excess of $25,000. Typical cases assigned to business court would include disputes between businesses, disputes between businesses and current or past employers, stockholders, customers and competitors and certain disputes involving nonprofit organizations.
In addition, several types of cases would be specifically excluded from assignment to the business court including personal injury cases, product liability cases, family law cases, criminal cases, mortgage foreclosure cases, and certain other cases.
The House Bill implies that complaints to be filed in business court would be filed electronically. The House Bill suggests that the business court maintain its opinions. The Michigan Judicial Institute would provide training for judges serving as the business court judge.
The purpose of the bill is to allow business disputes to be resolved more efficiently and more importantly with more predictability. Currently, most circuit court judges in the State of Michigan routinely handle a diverse docket including divorce cases, criminal matters and other civil cases along with the business cases. The laws and statutes impacting commercial disputes are detailed and extensive and many circuit court judges do not try a sufficient number of complex business cases necessary to develop a strong working knowledge of business law. Unfortunately, this has lead to unpredictable results.
Ideally, if the business court model is adopted, business cases will be tried in a less costly manner and with better results.