Nov. 17, 2021 – Wisconsin’s Commercial Docket Pilot Project, also known as the Business Court Pilot Project, has now expanded to 26 counties.
Established in 2017, the Commercial Docket Pilot Project began operating in the seven counties in District Eight (Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, and Waupaca counties), as well as Waukesha County.
Waukesha County and District Eight were initially selected for the pilot, on a three-year basis, in part based on their vicinity to commercial activity in the state.
In 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court extended the pilot project for another two years, to July 2022. In addition, the supreme court expanded the Commercial Docket Pilot Project to include Dane County, as well as the
14 northwestern counties within District Ten and the three counties within District Two (Walworth, Racine, and Kenosha).
In this video, three members of the Business Court Advisory Committee – Marinette County Circuit Court Judge James Morrison, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Aprahamian, and Laura Brenner, a business litigator at Reinhart Boerner Van Dueren S.C. – provided an update about the Commercial Docket Pilot Project.
Certain cases filed in circuit court must be assigned to the commercial docket if that county is participating in the Commercial Docket Pilot Project. In other cases, the parties may jointly petition to have the case assigned to the commercial docket.
The goals of the commercial docket are to: 1) improve the quality and predictability of justice in connection with business disputes; 2) improve parties’ access to justice; 3) make repeat disputes less likely to occur due to guidance provided by ongoing decisions; and 4) make Wisconsin a desirable forum for resolving business disputes.
Judge Morrison said attorneys may not even know they have a business dispute that qualifies for the commercial docket. He said attorneys should visit the
Commercial Docket Pilot Project webpage, and determine whether the case is eligible.
“It’s easy to see whether or not your case falls within the mandatory business court classification. If you put the right number on the pleading, your work is done,” he said.
“Any lawyer who has a case with very significant dollars or that arises in the commercial court context should be checking the rule to see.”
Comments from the committee members and other information about the Commercial Docket Pilot Project were also included in recent article, “Business Dispute? It Should Go to the Business Court Docket,” published Sept. 15 in
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