Commercial Courts

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With high profile business violations such as those found with Enron and the rise of technology and internet companies including million to billion dollar mergers or lawsuits it seems that legal issues involving business are a regular part of the news.  Also, if you are a business owner, you know that legal issues may eventually become a part of your world.

Often court proceedings involving business transactions or business relationships can become very complex and time consuming.  As such, many states, including New York Oregon have created special divisions that are specifically responsible for business cases.  These divisions are usually called Commercial Courts or a Commercial Division.  Commercial Courts are not a common part of the US Court system and are often only available in certain counties within a state. These commercial Courts typically exist within a court system of general jurisdiction such as a Superior Court or Circuit Court.   In New York there are approximately 10 Commercial Courts or Commercial Divisions in counties such as, Albany, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Onondaga, Queens, Suffolk, and Westchester.  Yet in a state such as Oregon, there is one Commercial Court that handles all commercial cases for the state.  Where Commercial Courts are available, they are likely a new addition to the court system in that area.  In many cases, Commercial Courts could be not more than a year old.

The exact type of cases heard will vary from court to court, but generally cases involve business disputes, business agreements, breach of contract, fraud, Uniform Commercial Code, commercial real estate transaction, professional malpractice, intellectual property, and dissolution of businesses.  It is important to note that some Commercial Courts may have financial specifications.  For example, in New York County, New York, the monetary threshold is $100,000, whereas in Albany, the threshold is only $25,000.  Since Commercial Courts are typically a specialized division, a judge may have discretion as to whether to a specific case.  Thus, for a case to enter a Commercial Court, you may have to file a special request.  In these types of situations, it is not requirement for a case involving a business matter to be handled by a Commercial Court, but it is an option.  For many businesses, this is a great resource because the judge handling their case likely only handles business cases. This is a contrast to judges in a general jurisdiction court who likely handle a variety of different types of cases.  In a Commercial Court a judge may have more intimate knowledge or experience in business cases.

If your area doesn’t have a Commercial Court, don’t feel left out.  These special divisions were originally created to remove some burden from the court system and to provide more efficiency in business related matter.  It may be the case that your area does not yet need a Commercial Division, or maybe they are working establishing one.  To find contact information or learn more the types of cases heard by Commercial Courts, visit will you can view links and online resources for the court systems in every US state.

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