On November 13, 2014 the New Jersey Supreme Court added New Jersey to the growing number of states that have established complex business litigation programs. Effective January 1, 2015, designated judges in each county will provide individualized case management to complex commercial and construction cases that meet the required criteria. The Supreme Court of New Jersey will designate the specific judge who will participate in the program and these judges will receive extensive specialized training in areas that are specific to business litigation.

Attorneys will self-designate their case for this program on the civil case information statement or they may move for inclusion or removal from this program depending on what opposing counsel may or may have not selected. Case will have a minimum $200,000 threshold but in certain circumstances a case may be included in the program due to the complex nature of issues even if the amount in controversy is less than $200,000.

The result of the program will be a win for all parties involved. Consistency will be developed as fewer judges will be ruling on complex commercial disputes. This will help the attorneys provide better cost benefit advice to their client based upon what they can expect at trial.

Judges will benefit as well as they will gain more experience in handling complex business disputes and gain experience and insight into what works and does not work from the point of view from the bench. For example, the judges will see what impact their discovery ruling has at the trial stage and whether they would have liked more information on a particular topic. Now the judges will see what impact their discovery ruling has at trial. In the past, a discovery judge might limit an area of inquiry, but at trial you are faced with a different judge looking down at you with a perplexed look wondering why you did not develop this through further discovery.

And finally, perhaps the biggest win is consistency in rulings. If this program is similar to the programs already in place in Delaware Chancery Court and the Commerce Court in Philadelphia, an opinion bank will be developed where you will be able to see very quickly how the judges will likely rule on a particular topic. If you have any questions regarding the new complex litigation program in New Jersey (or Philadelphia) please contact Doug Leavitt at Danziger Shapiro and Leavitt. Mr. Leavitt regularly appears on behalf of his commercial clients in complex litigation cases throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania and can provide insight into the process affecting your business or personal issues.

This entry is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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