Oct. 26, 2016 – Circuit courts could have a dedicated docket for large claim business and commercial cases in the near future, under a proposal recently submitted by a committee created by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack.
Chief Justice Roggensack created the Business Court Advisory Committee this fall “to explore commercial court dockets in Wisconsin.” Recently, the committee filed a petition (16-05), recommending a three-year business court pilot project, starting in July 2017.
Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.
Waukesha County, and the counties in the Eighth Judicial Administrative District – Marinette, Oconto, Door, Kewaunee, Brown, Outagamie, and Waupaca – would serve as the pilot project counties for a three-year period, under the proposal.
These counties were chosen given the existing and significant business, manufacturing, and industrial activity in these areas, according to a supporting memo. That is, the judges in these locations already handle a high volume of business cases.
After a three-year evaluation period, the committee recommends that the supreme court consider whether to adopt the commercial case docket permanently in all circuit courts.
“The Committee submits that a pilot program for the handling of business disputes through the use of dedicated circuit court dockets can be tested and accomplished without the need for material additional budget requirements,” the petition states.
“A pilot program will allow the collection of data to permit the bench and bar of this State, together with the additional stakeholders of the business community, the Legislature and the general public, to consider whether an expansion of such a program is worthwhile, or if not, what other adjustments might be made to make it so.”
The petition sets out the qualifying cases for the commercial case docket. For instance, cases involving business organizations, intellectual property rights, and cases where the amount in controversy exceeds $100,000 in damages would go to business court.
“The Committee unanimously believes that a pilot commercial court docket has the potential to resolve commercial cases more quickly and efficiently; a result that will ultimately require less of the courts' resources,” the committee stated. “Consequently, the commercial docket should improve the administration of justice for all. An efficient process will also enhance Wisconsin's business climate and promote economic growth.”