MSBA Ad Hoc Task Force Recommends Statewide Business Court

On January 31, 2017, an ad hoc task force (“Task Force”) of the Business Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association issued a Final Report and Proposed Recommendations for the Business & Technology Case Management Program (“BTCMP”), proposing changes to the management of complex business and technology cases in Maryland. The Task Force was initiated to address the concerns of the current management of the BTCMP, including the lack of uniformity in administering cases among the circuit courts; lack of consistency in forms and procedures; and lack of coordination, and accessibility to, information, opinions, and resources. In assessing the BTCMP, the Task Force conducted a two-year study and through that effort, presented a Spring 2016 Symposium entitled Taking Stock of Maryland’s Business and Technology Case Management Program and Business Courts Around the Country. Judges and practitioners from Maryland and other neighboring states participated in this discussion, including William M. Krulak, Jr., Scott Wilson, and Rachel McGuckian, of Miles & Stockbridge. The Final Report proposes that Maryland adopt a statewide business court for complex business and technology cases seeking $100,000 or more in damages. Under a statewide program, the Chief Judge would select three or four judges, based on nominations from the circuit administrative judges, to hear these types of cases on a rotating basis. The judges would hear the case in their home circuit upon the parties’ consent to waive venue, or, if the parties did not agree to waive venue, a program judge would be assigned to the case and hear matters in the jurisdiction in which the case was filed. To assist with the management of a business court, a Program Advisory Board would be created to review and report the progress of the business court triennially to the Chief Judge. As an alternative recommendation, the Task Force proposes creating a Program Coordinator to achieve more uniformity and consistency among the circuit courts. The Task Force further recommends additional steps to advance the goals of the BTCMP and address current concerns of the program by encouraging written and published opinions; educating BTCMP judges and stakeholders; ensuring effective technology is available, such as electronic filing and docket access; and, finally, updating the BTCMP’s online presence to enhance the presence and administration of the BTCMP.  

This blog was written by Caitlin McAtee and William Krulak, Jr. at Miles & Stockbridge.

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