South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty issued an Administrative Order on January 30, 2019, continuing the Business Court Program until the Chief Justice rescinds or otherwise modifies the Program. Prior orders had given a date by which the pilot program had to be renewed, potentially causing a period of uncertainty each year about whether the Business Court would continue. Based on this change and the removal of the word “pilot” from the Business Court Program name, the Business Court in South Carolina is here to stay. Another change was to add the Honorable Carmen T. Mullen as an At Large Business Court judge.
The basics of the program stay the same: Under the Program, a party may request a case be assigned to the Business Court within 180 days after the date the case is filed, but that timing may be waived for good cause. If the case is assigned to the Business Court, one Business Court Judge will retain exclusive jurisdiction over the entire matter, including discovery, dispositive motions, and trial. Six categories of matters can be assigned to the Business Court: (a) the S.C. Business Corporation Act; (b) the S.C. Uniform Securities Act; and the (c) S.C. Trade Secrets Act; or matters related to: (d) S.C. U.C.C. investment securities; (e) trusts, monopolies, and restraints of trade; and (f) labels and trademarks. There also is a catchall category of “such other cases” as the Chief Business Court Judge may determine. A request for Business Court assignment must be made on SCCA BC Form 101 and filed in the appropriate county. If accepted, the Chief Business Court Judge, who continues to be the Honorable Roger M. Young, Sr., will assign a Business Court Judge to the case.
The January 30, 2019 order is available at https://www.sccourts.org/courtOrders/displayOrder.cfm?orderNo=2019-01-30-01.