Businesses come in all sizes from one-person ownership to large multi-national corporations. Regardless of the size of the business or type of service or product they offer, if a legal problem arises, they want it solved quickly, efficiently, accurately and predictably. In an effort to satisfy that need, the Michigan Business Court Statute was passed in October of 2012.
A Business Court can be found in counties where there are three or more judges, including all of the counties in southeast Michigan. One or more judges are assigned to hear Business Court cases where the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000 and the dispute fits in one of the following four definitions:
- An action where all the parties are business enterprises,
- An action in which 1 or more of the parties is a business enterprise and the other parties are their present or former owners, managers, shareholders, members, directors, officers, agents, employees, suppliers, or competitors and the claim arises from one of those relationships,
- An action in which 1 of the parties is a nonprofit organization and the claims arise out of that party’s organizational structure, governance, or finances, or
- An action involving the sale, merger, purchase, combination, dissolution, liquidation, organizational structure, governance, or finances of a business enterprise.
What types of cases qualify for business court?
The statute provides a partial list of the types of cases that qualify for the Business Court docket. They include cases that:
- Involve information technology, software or website development, maintenance or hosting,
- Involve the internal organization of business entities and the rights or obligations of shareholders, partners, members, owners, officers, directors or managers,
- Arise out of contracts or other business dealings, including licensing, trade secret, intellectual property, antitrust, securities, non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements if all available administrative remedies are completely exhausted, including alternative dispute resolution processes prescribed in the agreements,
- Arise out of commercial transactions, including commercial bank transactions,
- Arise out of business or commercial insurance policies, or
- Involving commercial real property.
What types of cases are excluded under the statute?
The Business Court Statute specifically excludes certain types of cases such as personal injury, product liability if one of the parties is an individual, family court matters, proceedings under the probate or estates and protected individuals’ codes, criminal cases, condemnation matters, or appeals from administrative agencies or lower courts. Also excluded are the following:
- Proceedings to enforce judgments of any kind,
- Landlord-tenant matters involving only residential property,
- Land contract or mortgage foreclosure matters involving residential property,
- Motor vehicle insurance coverage under the insurance code except where 2 or more parties to the action are insurers defined as a health maintenance organization,
- Insurance coverage disputes in which an insured or an alleged insured is an individual consumer, and
- Employment discrimination.
The list continues to include cases involving wrongful discharge, except actions involving corporate officers or directors, worker’s compensation claims under the worker’s disability compensation act and civil rights matters including actions brought under any of the following:
- The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act,
- The persons with disabilities civil rights act, or
- Chapter XXI of the Michigan penal code.
Cases in the Business Courts are placed on an accelerated docket and procedures are in place to encourage early resolution of disputes. The Business Courts have been helping Michigan businesses solve their legal problems efficiently, accurately and predictably since their creation in 2012. Please contact Miller Law Firm partners Kevin F. O’Shea or Lawrence Murphy if you think your problem can be handled by the Business Courts. We will be glad to discuss the matter with you.