Arizona recently created a Business Court Advisory Committee to issue recommendations regarding improving business and commercial litigation in the state. Business disputes can involve lengthy discovery, complicated facts, and varied laws and legal precedents. Currently in Arizona, business cases are handled in the same courts as all other civil litigation. For cases with limited dollar amounts, the state Supreme Court implemented an arbitration process through the Superior Court. The court has also adopted federal rules to govern large and complex cases. But for cases that are not hugely complex but still have a significant dollar amount a stake, a typical civil court handling may lead to delays and increased cost of litigation.
According to the Supreme Court’s Administrative Order creating the committee, a business court may improve judicial administration and management of commercial and business litigation. The committee will also examine alternative dispute resolution, court rules, discovery, judicial resources and other issues facing a business court before issuing recommendations.
About half of all states have a business court. There can be some initial startup cost, especially if new judges or staff are needed. However, many of the states which have implemented such courts have found the benefits outweigh the costs. One of the primary benefits of a specialized business court is its ability to more quickly resolve cases. Most business courts are located in commercial centers that often see business disputes.
The committee will submit its findings and recommendations to the Supreme Court and the Arizona Judicial Council by December 11 of this year. The committee is comprised of 16 attorneys and judges. The Supreme Court may appoint more committee members as needed. While nothing is currently set in stone, the chair of the committee, David Rosenbaum, told KJZZ radio that it is likely they will recommend some sort of pilot program. “That makes it easier to be experimental and think outside the box because if we make a mistake, at least it’s just a pilot program,” Rosenbaum said.
Contract disputes, partnership disputes and commercial litigation can be complicated. Having a court with special knowledge could potentially help reduce the cost and time of a typical business case. However, Arizona is still a long way from fully implementing such a specialized court. Businesses which find themselves in a legal dispute should contact an experienced business litigation attorney to discuss their legal options and strategy moving forward.