October 26, 2011, Introduced by Reps. Walsh and Heise and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.


     A bill to amend 1961 PA 236, entitled


"Revised judicature act of 1961,"


(MCL 600.101 to 600.9947) by adding chapter 10B




                             CHAPTER 10B


                           BUSINESS COURTS


     Sec. 1085. (1) As used in this chapter:


     (a) "Business enterprise" means a sole proprietorship,


partnership, limited partnership, joint venture, limited liability


company, limited liability partnership, for-profit or not-for-


profit corporation or professional corporation, business trust,


real estate investment trust, or any other entity in which a


business may lawfully be conducted in the jurisdiction in which the


business is being conducted. Business enterprise does not include


an ecclesiastical or religious organization.


     (b) "Business or commercial dispute" means any of the




     (i) An action in which all of the parties are business




     (ii) An action in which 1 or more of the parties is a business


enterprise and the other parties are its or their present or former


owners, managers, shareholders, members, directors, officers,


agents, employees, suppliers, customers, or competitors, and the


claims arise out of those relationships.


     (iii) An action in which 1 of the parties is a nonprofit


organization, and the claims arise out of that party's


organizational structure, governance, or finances.


     (iv) An action involving the sale, merger, purchase,


combination, dissolution, liquidation, organizational structure,


governance, or finances of a business enterprise.


     (2) Business or commercial disputes include, but are not


limited to, the following types of actions:


     (a) Those involving information technology, software, or


website development, maintenance, or hosting.


     (b) Those involving the internal organization of business


entities and the rights or obligations of shareholders, partners,


members, owners, officers, directors, or managers.


     (c) Those arising out of contractual agreements or other


business dealings, including licensing, trade secret, noncompete,


nonsolicitation, and confidentiality agreements.


     (d) Those arising out of commercial transactions, including


commercial bank transactions.


     (e) Those arising out of business or commercial insurance




     (f) Those involving commercial real property.


     (3) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), business or


commercial disputes expressly exclude the following types of




     (a) Personal injury actions including wrongful death and


malpractice actions against any health care provider.


     (b) Product liability actions in which any claimant is an




     (c) Matters within the jurisdiction of the family division of


circuit court.


     (d) Proceedings under the probate code of 1939, 1939 PA 288,


MCL 710.21 to 712A.32.


     (e) Proceedings under the estates and protected individuals


code, 1998 PA 386, MCL 700.1101 to 700.8206.


     (f) Criminal matters.


     (g) Condemnation matters.


     (h) Appeals from lower courts or any administrative agency.


     (i) Proceedings to enforce judgments of any kind.


     (j) Landlord-tenant matters involving only residential




     Sec. 1086. (1) The business court is created as a division of


circuit court and is organized as prescribed under this chapter.


     (2) The purpose of the business court is to do all of the




     (a) Establish judicial structures that will help to strengthen


and revitalize the economy of this state.


     (b) Allow business or commercial disputes to be resolved with


the expertise, technology, and efficiency required by the


information age economy.


     (c) Enhance the accuracy, consistency, and predictability of


decisions in business and commercial cases.


     (d) Encourage commerce by providing effective and low-cost


means of resolving disputes between businesses.


     Sec. 1087. (1) The business court has jurisdiction over


business or commercial disputes in which the amount in controversy


exceeds $25,000.00.


     (2) An action that involves a business or commercial dispute


may be maintained in the business court although it also involves


claims that are not business or commercial disputes.


     (3) Venue of a suit in the business court is as provided in


chapter 16.


     (4) An action shall be assigned to a business court judge


whose seat is located within the region to which the action is


assigned by blind draw, unless the jurisdiction and venue of the


case lies in a county described in section 1088(2).


     Sec. 1088. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the


business court is divided into 4 regions. The regions are


constituted and numbered as follows:


     (a) Region 1 consists of the counties of Calhoun, Hillsdale,


Lenawee, Monroe, and Wayne.


     (b) Region 2 consists of the counties of Genesee, Macomb,


Oakland, and Shiawassee.


     (c) Region 3 consists of the counties of Allegan, Barry,


Berrien, Branch, Cass, Eaton, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent,


Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, St. Joseph, Van Buren, and Washtenaw.


     (d) Region 4 consists of the counties of Alcona, Alger,


Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Baraga, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan,


Chippewa, Clare, Clinton, Crawford, Delta, Dickinson, Emmet,


Gladwin, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Houghton, Huron, Ingham,


Iosco, Iron, Isabella, Kalkaska, Keweenaw, Lake, Lapeer, Leelanau,


Livingston, Luce, Mackinac, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, Mecosta,


Menominee, Midland, Missaukee, Montcalm, Montmorency, Oceana,


Ogemaw, Ontonagon, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle,


Roscommon, Saginaw, Sanilac, Schoolcraft, St. Clair, Tuscola, and




     (2) If a circuit court, individually or in concert with 1 or


more other circuit courts, implements a special docket dedicated to


business or commercial disputes with the approval of the supreme


court, counties within that circuit or circuits are not part of a


region under subsection (1) so long as the special docket is in


operation in the circuit or circuits within the county.


     Sec. 1089. (1) The business court consists of circuit judges


assigned by the supreme court in a number reasonably reflecting the


caseload of the business court. While sitting as a judge of the


business court, a circuit judge may exercise the jurisdiction of


the business court as provided by law.


     (2) If a circuit judge acting as a business court judge before


whom a case has been tried or a motion heard is disabled or absent


from the place where court is held under this chapter, another


circuit judge designated to sit as the judge of the business court


may continue to hear, determine, and sign all matters that his or


her predecessor could have heard, determined, and signed.


     (3) If a circuit judge designated to sit as a judge of the


business court leaves office for any reason before signing a


judgment and after a finding of fact or rendering an opinion upon


proof submitted and argument of counsel disposing of all or part of


the issues in the case involved, a successor as judge of the


business court may proceed with that action in a manner consistent


with the finding of fact or opinion. The successor judge has the


same powers as if the finding of fact had been made or the opinion


had been rendered by the successor judge.


     (4) If a circuit judge leaves office while sitting as a judge


of the business court, the supreme court may assign a circuit judge


to serve for the remainder of the judge's term on the business




     (5) A circuit judge assigned as a judge of the business court


is assigned for a term of 2 years and may be reassigned at the


expiration of the judge's term.


     (6) The term of a judge of the business court expires on May 1


of each odd-numbered year.


     (7) The supreme court may select a chief judge of the business


court from among the circuit judges assigned to the business court.


     Sec. 1090. (1) A majority of circuit judges while sitting as


judges of the business court shall appoint or remove the clerk of


the business court.


     (2) For making copies of records, proceedings, and testimony


and furnishing the same at the request of the claimant or any other


person, the clerk of the business court or any reporter or recorder


serving in the business court shall be entitled, in addition to


salary, to the same fees as are by law provided for court reporters


or recorders in the circuit court. No charge shall be made against


the state for services rendered for furnishing copies of records,


proceedings, or testimony or other papers to the attorney general.


     (3) Process issued by the court may be served by any member of


the Michigan state police as well as any other officer or person


authorized to serve process issued out of the circuit court.


     Sec. 1091. (1) The business court shall sit in the judicial


circuit where a circuit judge assigned to the business court sits,


unless otherwise determined by the state court administrator. The


state shall reimburse counties for the reasonable and actual costs


incurred for implementing jurisdictional duties in the business


court imposed on that county by this chapter.


     (2) Counties shall submit quarterly their itemized costs as


described in this section to the state court administrative office.


After determination by the state court administrator of the


reasonableness of the amount to be paid, payment shall be made


under the accounting laws of this state. Determination of


reasonableness by the state court administrator shall be




     (3) The clerk of the business court and its full-time


employees are employees of the circuit court in which the business


court clerk appointed under this chapter is employed.


     Sec. 1092. (1) An action commenced in the business court shall


be filed by electronic communications on the website described in


this section.


     (2) The supreme court shall establish a website to facilitate


all business court filings. All pleadings and motions shall be


filed in the business court by means of electronic communication.


The website shall do all of the following:


     (a) Permit the commencement of a suit in a region of the


business court described in section 1088.


     (b) Allow business or commercial disputes to be resolved with


the expertise, technology, and efficiency required by the


information age economy.


     (c) Establish a technology-rich system to serve the needs of a


judicial system operating in a global economy.


     (d) Maintain the integrity of the judicial system.


     (3) The practice and procedure of the business court not


otherwise governed by the provisions of this chapter shall be


governed by practices and procedures prescribed for the circuit


court. The supreme court may adopt rules governing practice and


procedure in the business court.


     Sec. 1093. (1) An appeal from the business court shall be to


the court of appeals, as prescribed by supreme court rules.


     (2) The clerk of the business court shall immediately furnish


the parties to every action an electronic notice of entry of any


final order or judgment. The time within which an appeal as of


right may be taken shall be governed by supreme court rules


concerning appeals from the circuit court.


     Sec. 1094. The Michigan judicial institute shall provide


appropriate training for all circuit judges who are serving as


business court judges.


     Sec. 1095. The fees payable in civil actions in circuit court


apply to cases in the business court, unless otherwise provided by




     Enacting section 1. This amendatory act takes effect January


1, 2013.