On July 1, the Wisconsin court system will launch a three-year pilot project for the handling of large-claim business and commercial cases filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court and in the circuit courts of the Eighth Judicial Administrative District in northeastern Wisconsin.
There is also potential availability of a commercial docket for cases venued outside of those jurisdictions, when the parties agree to the change in venue, and a judge participating in a commercial docket agrees to the transfer. The commercial docket is intended to ensure that large business and complicated commercial cases are resolved timely and effectively.
“This is a significant step forward for the Wisconsin court system. It is our hope that the commercial docket will result in efficient resolutions of complex business-related controversies, and in the process, improve the efficiency of the justice system for everyone,” said Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack.
The Court approved the pilot project in an order issued April 11. If successful, and after a thorough review of the pilot program, the Court may consider a statewide commercial docket.
Roggensack convened the Business Court Advisory Committee in the fall of 2016 to draft a proposed rule petition to be considered in the event that the Court approved a commercial docket. The committee created the framework and forms necessary to implement the project, and the committee remains available to assist the Court with any adjustments that may be necessary moving ahead, Roggensack said.
The commercial docket will handle disputes involving, among other things: the governance of business organizations, including financial institutions; unfair competition or prohibited business activities; sales and mergers; securities sales and regulations; intellectual property rights; franchising; and cases involving claims or disputes under portions of the Uniform Commercial Code, when the amount in controversy exceeds $100,000 exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney fees.
Detailed criteria for cases to be assigned to the commercial docket, as well as cases that may be taken on a discretionary basis, are listed in the appendix attached to the Court’s order. Commercial court docket cases will be integrated with the existing circuit court eFiling system, making it easy for lawyers involved in the cases to submit and track filings.