• Getting Down to Business (Court) in Tennessee
  • April 13, 2015 | Author: D. Gilbert Schuette
  • Law Firm: Butler Snow LLP - Nashville Office
  • The creation of business courts in the United States began in the early 1990s, but has grown rapidly in the last 10 years. Currently, business courts have been established and are operating in 26 states. On March 16, 2015, Tennessee joined those states when the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an Order Establishing the Davidson County Business Court Pilot Project.

    Leading the way will be Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, Davidson County Chancery Court Part III, who will serve as the first Business Court Judge where she will “gather data and information; and identify best practices for development of potential future Tennessee Business Courts.” Chancellor Lyle is known for her experience handling complex business and commercial disputes.

    Assignment of the cases will be handled by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee by request, filed by either party, and made within 60 days of filing a complaint. Additionally, cases filed outside of Davidson County are also eligible for transfer to the Business Court upon motion and joint consent of waiver of venue filed with the Chief Justice. It will be interesting to see how many cases out of Davidson County are transferred, and whether one judge will be enough to handle the volume.

    The criteria for assignment or transfer to the new Business Court are cases filed on or after May 1, 2015, claims involving at least $50,000 in compensatory damages, or claims seeking primarily injunctive or declaratory relief. Substantively, these cases must relate to the internal affairs of a business, commercial real property disputes (other than residential landlord-tenant), technology and other intellectual property licensing agreements, non-compete and trade secret, or commercial construction contract/defect claims. Specifically excluded are: personal injury, professional malpractice, healthcare liability, employee/employer disputes, cases where the State is a party, and administrative appeals.

    Chief Justice Lee said “With the creation of a business court, we will have more predictable, consistent results, and more timely resolutions of business disputes.” Hopefully, this new business-centric court will add more fuel to the already growing economic development and employment opportunities in Davidson County and the rest of Tennessee. This is a great step forward for commercial litigation/litigators in Tennessee. Stay tuned for updates on the brand new Tennessee Business Court.