Michigan Business Court Reposts 2022

We are reposting our reporting on Michigan Business Court Developments in 2022, on this single page, as all Business Court Blog posts after February 2022 are no longer available on the dates originally posted.

These 2022 posts are numbered and re-posted below in chronological order:

  1. Article on Michigan Business Courts and Judicial Selection

The Fall 2021 issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal includes an interview with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra, who is the liaison between the Michigan Supreme Court and Michigan’s business courts.  Justice Zahra describes the process and criteria used in selecting business courts judges, something that provides insights for any jurisdiction with business courts.  A link to the article can be found here.

The article addresses other topics of interest including, among others,  evaluating business courts and virtual proceedings in a post-Covid world.

Our thanks to Michigan Attorney Douglas L. Toering of Mantese Honigman, for bringing this article to our attention.  Mr. Toering has reported closely on Michigan’s business courts since their inception, and is an invaluable resource on developments in Michigan’s business courts.  He and Attorney Fatima Bolyea, another Michigan business court authority, conducted the interview with Justice Zahra.

  1. Articles on Judicial Experience in Michigan Business Courts, and Advice on how Young Litigators can Learn their Craft with only Limited Courtroom Time

The Spring 2022 issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal includes an interview with Wayne County Business Court Judge David A. Groner. Judge Groner addresses his experience in the Business Court, discovery, mediation and settlement conferences, and motion practice. He also addresses the use and benefit of Zoom (and like services), and observes it is here to stay.  He specifically notes the use of Zoom for trials and evidentiary hearings.

Lastly, Judge Groner offers advice based on his long experience:

  1. “For lawyers who appear in front of him, he wisely recommends litigators ‘be prepared, be prepared; don’t waste my time.’”
  2. “As for briefs and oral arguments … ‘Know your judge; when you know your judge, less is more. Tell the judge up front what you want. Get to the point.’ … ‘If you don’t get to the point quickly, you probably have a bad motion.’”
  3. “Getting to the point quickly is also important for hearings—other lawyers are waiting, and their time is valuable.”
  4. “[]‘Be civil,’ and don’t talk over each other. ‘Honey gets you more than vinegar. Why not be nice and civil to each other?’”
  5. Be punctual. “Being late disrespects other counsel and their clients.”
  6. “’[J]udges are appointed, not anointed.’” Lawyers “want … ‘a judge who will read the papers; provide a good, reasoned opinion; and make a ruling.’”
  7. “In his courtroom, Judge Groner wants ‘everyone to be comfortable; I want everyone to be treated with respect, to be treated fairly, and to have their day in court.’”
  8.  “’Remember, this is your job, not your life. It’s important work, and hard work, but it’s your work, not your life.’”

The article also looks back and acknowledges the tenth anniversary of the Michigan Business Courts in Macomb and Kent Counties. It additionally includes a “refresher on a business court protocol and briefly discuss[es] the amendments to the case evaluation rule, provide[s] an update on new judges in the business courts, [reminds the readers of] the redesigned business court website, and briefly mention[s] the ‘Lessons Learned’

The article also looks back and acknowledges the tenth anniversary of the Michigan Business Courts in Macomb and Kent Counties. It additionally includes a “refresher on a business court protocol and briefly discuss[es] the amendments to the case evaluation rule, provide[s] an update on new judges in the business courts, [reminds the readers of] the redesigned business court website, and briefly mention[s] the ‘Lessons Learned’ findings and recommendations.”

A link to the article can be found here.

Our thanks to Michigan Attorney Douglas L. Toering of Mantese Honigman, for bringing this article to our attention.  Mr. Toering has reported closely on Michigan’s business courts since their inception, and is an invaluable resource on developments in Michigan’s business courts.  He and his partner Fatima Bolyea co-authored this article.

There is another article in this issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal that is of interest to business court litigators, authored by Douglas Toering and Ian Williamson, entitled “Virtual Hearings and Vanishing Trials:  A Modest Proposal for Training New Business Litigators in the Virtual Era.”  It addresses the basic concern of how younger business litigators are to learn to litigate and try cases in an era when they seldom get to court, and focuses on the further development resulting from the Covid pandemic, and likely post-Covid litigation world, where in-person appearances are replaced by Zoom arguments and hearings.  A link to that article can be found here.

  1. Michigan’s Chief Justice has appointed three new Business Court Judges

Michigan Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack has appointed three new judges to the Business Courts in Kent County, Washtenaw County, and Muskegon County.  Judges Curt A. Benson (Grand Rapids, Kent), Timothy P. Connors (Ann Arbor, Washtenaw) and Kenneth S. Hoopes (Muskegon) have all been appointed to serve through April 1, 2025.

Judge Benson will be replacing nationally known business court Judge Christopher P. Yates, who was recently appointed to serve on Michigan’s Court of Appeals.  Judge Yates was one of the earliest Michigan Business Court Judges, receiving that assignment on March 1, 2012. Among other things, Judge Yates has written on business courts, see this August 2020 Blog post, and serves as a leader in the American College of Business Court Judges.

Our thanks to Michigan attorneys Douglas L. Toering and Fatima M. Bolyea for bringing these new appointments to our attention.

  1. Interview with Business Court Judge Christopher Yates

The Summer 2022 Michigan Business Law Journal’s Touring the Business Courts column includes an interview with nationally known Business Court Judge Christopher Yates.  Judge Yates was recently appointed to Michigan’s intermediate level appellate court.

The interview provides an opportunity for Judge Yates to discuss the history, role and nature of business courts.  A link to the interview can be found here.

Our thanks to attorney Douglas Toering for bringing this interview to our attention.

Posted by Lee Applebaum