Nearly two years after Georgia voters approved a Constitutional amendment to create a statewide business court, the business court will begin accepting filed cases on August 1, 2020.
The court was many years in the making, launched in part by the 2017 Final Report of the State of Georgia Court Reform Council. The Court Reform Council recommended the creation of a statewide business court that “would provide specialized expertise for the adjudication of complex cases, ultimately enhancing litigation of complex matters by providing judicial resources specifically tailored to such cases.” The report recognized three advantages of a dedicated business court: “certainty and predictability of outcome” because of judicial expertise in the area, complex cases can be expedited and not balanced with a broader docket (such as criminal and family court matters), and “consistent case management and lower costs, with more efficient outcomes.” After voters approved a constitutional amendment to create the court in 2018, in 2019 the Georgia General Assembly passed enabling legislation to codify the jurisdiction and create the operational statutes for the court.
The statewide business court will have jurisdiction over business disputes with claims for at least $500,000 and disputes involving commercial real property with at least $1 million in claims.
The creation of the statewide business court does not preclude litigants from filing in state courts in Georgia nor does the statewide court’s existence preclude superior courts from creating or continuing their business courts. In certain circumstances, cases pending in superior court can be removed or transferred from superior court to the statewide business court. Cases before the statewide business court are tried by bench trial unless any of the parties requests a jury trial.
The Honorable Walt Davis was appointed by the Governor to serve as the first state-wide business court judge. Judge Davis practiced for more than 17 years at an international law firm prior to his appointment, focusing his practice on securities litigation, shareholder disputes, and corporate governance matters.
The business court introduced a new website that provides more information about the court, its rules, and electronic filing.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with business disputes and litigation. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.