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Sterling Employment Law

New Michigan law creates business court docket

Last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a new business court bill designed to improve and streamline commercial and business disputes in Michigan. The bill, effective Jan 1st, will send all employment disputes exceeding $25,000 to a special business court docket in hopes of increasing court efficiency and establishing consistency over business court rulings. Some counties have already taken steps toward creating their own business courts prior to this legislation and will require only minor adjustments to current operations. For others this will be an entirely new legal experience.

The statute will handle all actions for parties defined as "business enterprises," accounting for most of Michigan's business associations, including non-profits but excluding religious organizations. The new law will affect disputes for both business and commercial enterprises on all actions dealing with employer, employee, relations, as well as actions dealing with financial disputes moving forward in the New Year. Pending cases prior to the effective date of the law will go through under the current system.

The statue will mostly cover the following types of cases:

• Personal injury

• Product liability

• Probate matters

• Landlord-tenant disputes

• Employment rights

• Civil rights cases

• Residential foreclosure

Other types of cases may be re-assigned to the new business courts if a business designated claim is added by way of modification action. Wrongful termination cases are a notable exception, however, and will not be handled by the newly designed business courts.

Judges will be appointed and assigned to the new business court docket before the New Year and will serve terms lasting six years. Cases will then be assigned at random to the designated judges. This new system will hopefully streamline proceedings and create more accurate, predictable, and consistent, court rulings, cutting time and cost out of Michigan business law disputes.

Source: lexology.com, "Michigan governor signs law creating new business court docket," Dykema Gossett," Oct 18, 2012

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