Business Court Opinions – A National Overview

One objective for many business courts is to publish opinions. This falls in line with the goal of creating rational predictability for the litigation community, as well as letting individual parties know there is a reasoned basis to the court’s decisionmaking process. [Understood that predictability alone is not an end in itself, but it is only a “foolish consistency” that is the “hobgoblin of little minds”, not well reasoned practices.]

Whether any individual business court can achieve this objective is affected by a number of factors, including, e.g., available budget, online resources, staffing, judicial caseloads, and local custom.

Over the years, there have been a number of prolific business court judges who individually have issued hundreds of opinions, e.g.,  Judges James Gale, John Jolly, and Ben Tennille of North Carolina’s Business Court; Judge Allan van Gestel of the Massachusetts Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session; Judge Albert Sheppard of Philadelphia’s Commerce Court; Judges Leonard Austin (now an Appellate Division Judge), Stephen Bucaria, Herman Cahn, Carolyn Demarest, Timothy Driscoll, Bernard Fried, Shirley Kornreich, Charles Ramos, Saliann Scarpulla, and Ira Warshawsky of New York’s Commercial Division; Judge Michael Silverstein of the Rhode Island Superior Court’s Business Calendar; and Judge Christopher Yates of Michigan’s Business Court. Most certainly, there are other business court judges who have penned a significant volume of opinions during their years of service, and we mean no slight in not listing each and every one of them here.

For business courts issuing opinions, a good number of those courts’ opinions can be found on Lexis and/or Westlaw. These include, at least, Arizona’s Commercial Court, Delaware’s Complex Commercial Litigation Division and Court of Chancery, Indiana’s Commercial Courts, Maine’s Business and Consumer Docket, Maryland’s Business and Technology Case Management Program, the Massachusetts Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session, Michigan’s Business Courts, New Hampshire’s Business and Commercial Dispute Docket, New York’s Commercial Division, North Carolina’s Business Court, Philadelphia’s Commerce Court, Rhode Island’s Business Calendar, and Tennessee’s Business Court.

Many business courts also have their own active websites posting judicial opinions. Typically, these opinions can be searched using key words. The number of business court opinions may vary greatly from court to court, depending on each particular business court docket’s longevity and caseload.

Business courts posting online opinions include:

Atlanta Business Court Opinions

Delaware Chancery Court Opinions

Delaware Complex Commercial Litigation Division Opinions

Kent County, Michigan, Business Docket Opinions

Maine Business and Consumer Court Opinions

Maryland Business & Technology Case Management Program Opinions

Michigan Business Court Opinions

New Hampshire Business and Commercial Dispute Docket Opinions

New Jersey Complex Commercial Litigation Program Opinions

New York Commercial Division Opinions (Statewide)

North Carolina Business Court Opinions

Philadelphia Commerce Court Opinions

Rhode Island Business Calendar Opinions (must search among all Superior Court decisions)

Tennessee Business Court Opinions

Wisconsin Commercial Docket Pilot Project Opinions

Posted by Lee Applebaum