Texas Committee Recommends Creation of Pilot Business Court

The Texas Judicial Council’s 11-person Civil Justice Committee recently issued its 2022 Report and Recommendations.  Per the Committee’s Report and Recommendations, the Committee met in March, April, August, and September 2022.  A copy of the Report and Recommendations can be found here.

Among other things, the Committee recommended, with a single dissent, the following concerning the creation of business courts in Texas:

The Supreme Court should create by rule a pilot business court for complex litigation.

1A) The Supreme Court should establish a pilot business court program to permit consideration of implementation details prior to statewide implementation.

1B) This pilot business court should be a part of or parallel to the existing court structure, and the
Supreme Court should establish qualifications to determine who can be designated as a business
court judge.

1C) The business court should hold proceedings regionally to ensure that parties throughout the
state with complex litigation have access to the court.

1D) Parties to complex litigation should be given the opportunity to opt-in to the business court.

1E) The business court should be provided sufficient resources to handle the complex litigation,
including technology and staff attorneys.

In providing a background for these recommendations, the Committee explains:

The Judicial Council has advocated in the past for the Texas Supreme Court to create pilot business courts for complex litigation. Many businesses have indicated that tying their resources up in litigation for years, at a significant cost of resources and increased uncertainty, is untenable. This problem has led businesses to seek other forums to resolve disputes, including arbitration and other dispute resolution mechanisms. Many states have attempted to rectify this problem by providing specialized business courts. These courts have been praised by businesses and may serve as a model for Texas. Accordingly, the committee recommends that steps are taken to study and work towards the implementation of specialized business courts in Texas. In furtherance of that goal, the committee recommends that the Supreme Court create a pilot business court program.

The Committee noted that, “Following the Council’s 2018 recommendation to create a pilot program, in January 2020, the Office of Court Administration contracted with the National Center for State Courts to fund a pilot program. A few weeks later the COVID-19 Pandemic began, and the project was put on hold.”