The program has been operating since 1996 in two counties — Bergen and Essex — and handles complex commercial litigation cases that carry the potential for damage awards in excess of $200,000.00. The New Jersey State Bar Association has advocated for the creation of a commercial division within the state’s judiciary. The plan, announced by Justice Rabner last month, does not create a separate division; instead, one or two judges in each county will be designated to handle complex commercial litigation.
“Litigants in these cases and the court system overall will benefit from having a core group of dedicated judges manage complex business disputes,” Rabner said in his statement. “We also expect that this new approach will help to continue to develop a body of authoritative case law that will aid all parties in business litigation.”
Justice Rabner established a Working Group on Business Litigation in 2013, which recommended that the Bergen and Essex pilot programs be replicated throughout the state. The group also recommended a process for early identification of such cases and that mediation or arbitration be encouraged but not required.
According to the Court’s announcement, parties in cases where the amount at issue is less than $200,000.00 can petition to be included in the program if compelling issues exist which may include complex legal or factual issues, complex discovery issues, potential impact on the business beyond the actual case, or a significant interpretation of commercial statutes. In addition, a party can file a motion for removal of the case from the program if it believes the case does not meet the criteria.
PIB Law is a multi-service law firm serving clients throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas. For more information, contact one of our experienced commercial litigation attorneys at 908-725-9700.