In an effort to streamline corporate litigation and enhance Michigan’s business climate, the State of Michigan has established the “Michigan Business Court” — a specialized docket system to which business law cases will be assigned starting this July. All Circuit Courts in the State with three or more sitting judges will assign qualifying cases to the Business Court rather than the general Circuit Court docket. To qualify, a case must involve $25,000. The parties to the dispute must all be either business entities or a business and its associated individuals (employees, directors, shareholders, etc.).
Michigan’s business lawyers have been anxiously awaiting the new business docket, which is designed to increase court performance, technology and efficiency in the handling of corporate litigation. Business Court cases will utilize electronic filings whenever possible, encourage telephone/video conferencing for ease of communication, and implement the use of alternative dispute resolution at the early stages of litigation — all in an effort to resolve disputes quickly and to limit the costs of litigation for Michigan businesses.
In a step toward the timely opening of the Business Courts, the Michigan Supreme Court recently appointed 18 business court judges, each of whom has been identified as holding experience and expertise in corporate law and business litigation. Our new Business Court judges will serve until the end of their term on April 1, 2019. Congratulations to Michigan’s new Business Court judiciary:
Hon. Jeanne Stempien (3rd Circuit – Wayne)
Hon. Richard N. LaFlamme (4th Circuit – Jackson)
Hon. James M. Alexander (6th Circuit – Oakland)
Hon. Wendy L. Potts (6th Circuit – Oakland)
Hon. Judith Anne Fullerton (7th Circuit – Genesee)
Hon. J. Richardson Johnson (9th Circuit – Kalamazoo)
Hon. M. Randall Jurrens (10th Circuit – Saginaw)
Hon. Neil G. Mullally (14th Circuit – Muskegon)
Hon. John C. Foster (16th Circuit Court – Macomb)
Hon. Christopher P. Yates (17th Circuit – Kent)
Hon. Kenneth W. Schmidt (18th Circuit – Bay)
Hon. Jon A. VanAllsburg (20th Circuit – Ottawa)
Hon. Archie C. Brown (22nd Circuit – Washtenaw)
Hon. Joyce A. Draganchuk (30th Circuit – Ingham)
Hon. Daniel J. Kelly (31st Circuit Court – St. Clair)
Hon. James C. Kingsley (37th Circuit – Calhoun)
Hon. Michael W. LaBeau (38th Circuit Court – Monroe)
Hon. John E. Dewane (Berrien County Trial Court)
Wright Beamer will continue to monitor the development and opening of the Michigan Business Courts this summer.