On July 1, 2013, seventeen Michigan counties will begin accepting filings in their Business Court divisions. Late last year, the Michigan Legislature passed a law requiring any Michigan circuit court with three or more judges to begin a docket for a business court to deal with business or commercial disputes. These cases will include any dispute involving a business enterprise. A business enterprise is defined by the law as any of the following: a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, joint venture, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, for-profit or not-for-profit corporation or professional corporation, business trust, real estate investment trust, or any other entity in which a business may lawfully be conducted in the jurisdiction in which the business is being conducted. However, business enterprise does not include an ecclesiastical or religious organization. However, certain claims involving other nonprofit organizations can be heard in the business court if they meet the requirements.
Business or commercial disputes include, but are not limited to, the following types of actions:
(a) Those involving information technology, software, or website development, maintenance, or hosting.
(b) Those involving the internal organization of business entities and the rights or obligations of shareholders, partners, members, owners, officers, directors, or managers.
(c) Those arising out of contractual agreements or other business dealings, including licensing, trade secret, intellectual property, antitrust, securities, non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements if all available administrative remedies are completely exhausted.
(d) Those arising out of commercial transactions, including commercial bank transactions.
(e) Those arising out of business or commercial insurance policies.
(f) Those involving commercial real property.
However, disputes involving employee terminations and civil rights cases in those contexts, as well as workers compensation are generally exempted from the business court’s jurisdiction, with limited exception.
The seventeen counties subject to the law and the July 1, 2013, deadline are: Wayne, Washtenaw, St. Clair, Oakland, Monroe, Macomb, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Kent, Ottawa, Ingham, Calhoun, Berrien, Saginaw and Bay. Other counties are free to add a business court if they choose.
For more information or to speak with us about your business law issue, please contact us in Ann Arbor at 734-665-4441, and in Ypsilanti at 734-483-3626. To learn more about Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., or any of our attorneys, please visit us at www.psedlaw.com.