The State of Florida has just opened its third court devoted exclusively to business lawsuits. Do specialized courts provide better service and/or results to parties?
The cases to be tried in this new Tampa Court involve litigation where the amount in controversy is greater than $75,000 between business persons or entities. They typically relate to the internal affairs or governance of the business, non compete agreements, intellectual property and trade secrets.
The goals of this Florida state court are to increase affiance and access, decrease litigants costs and improve the understanding of business litigation issues.
While this is one way to try to unclog the court system, Nevada is taking a different path. A few years ago, they implemented a short trial program designed to resolve cases with less than $40,000 at stake, quickly with virtually no cost to the taxpayer. The short trials are only one day long and presided over by local attorneys whose fees are paid directly by the litigants. There are only 4 jurors and the trials take place in courtrooms on “dark” days. The appeals are very limited which translates to most results being final almost immediately. Best of all, trials are calendared within 120 days from when the parties choose the Judge Pro Temp.
The program has been a huge success in Nevada and is about to become mandatory for all cases which fall below the $40K threshold.
In conclusion, I believe the litigants will win in the Florida program. A judge who hears only Business Litigation cases is very likely to be better than one who hears a wide variety of cases.
In Nevada, everybody wins; the litigants, the judges whose calendars are relieved from the volume of small cases, the lawyers and of course the jurors and the taxpayers.
We live in a wonderful country and it is truly refreshing to see our court systems changing with the times.
If you or your business are being sued in Los Angeles, Ventura or Orange Counties, or are considering a lawsuit anywhere in California, feel free to call the trial lawyers at Sylvester, Oppenheim & Linde at 818-461-8600 or fill out the contact form for a no cost consultation.