Senators Rucho and Barringer filed SB 853 - An Act to Modernize the Business Court by making Technical, Clarifying, and Administrative Changes to the Procedures for Complex Business Casesthis week. The bill was referred to Senate Judiciary Committee; a hearing has not yet been scheduled. Current and former legislators laud the creation of the NC Business Court -- a part of the Superior Court handling the most complex business litigation -- as a stroke of genius. Last year it seemed the General Assembly would tinker with Superior Court in ways that were regarded as politically-motivated but it was dropped. This effort is described as purely to make the Business Court better for business. There are several noteworthy provisions, including: 

  • Tightening up jurisdiction by allowing any party to designate as a mandatory Business Court case disputes concerning partnerships, LLCs and corporations, large-scale contract disputes, unfair competition, trade secrets disputes and others.
  • It provides for mandatory Business Court jurisdiction a material issue related to tax law that is the subject of a contested case, a dispute in which the amount in controversy is at least $5 million, and actions involving the regulation of pole attachments.
  • It allows for a direct appeal to the NC Supreme Court.
  • The bill requires that the Business Court issue written opinions.
  • If the Court takes more than 6 months to decide a case it must include an explanation in a semi-annual report to the General Assembly.

This bill is probably a net-positive for NC businesses but we'd also like to see 3 additional Business Court locations and 3 additional judges. **Your feedback on the effects of this bill will be important to legislators. Please view the bill as filed here: