Monday, October 11, 2010

“Invaluable” Business Court Turns 5

ATLANTA – The Fulton Superior Court Business Case Division, which marks its 5th anniversary today, Oct. 11, 2010, has grown into an “invaluable resource” for Atlanta’s business community according to an attorney who specializes in business litigation.

Fulton’s Business Court, recognized in 2009 as the most innovative business court in the nation by the National Association of County Executives, has enhanced Atlanta’s position as a business hub in the Southeast.

“When discussing the option of requesting transfer to the Fulton Business Court, we tell our clients that it is the closest thing to being in Federal Court without actually being there,” said Walter H. Bush, a shareholder at the law firm Carlton Fields “We tell them that matters are handled in an expeditious and efficient matter, the judges understand business law cases and no game playing to avoid getting to the real issues is allowed.”

Since October 2005, Business Court has dealt with litigation involving more than 400 Atlanta area businesses and has drawn praise for the dispatch with which complicated Business disputes are resolved. Business Court also has freed up the Superior Court judges’ civil case calendars by handling these time-consuming, complicated cases.

“The Business Court has provided a valuable service to the business community and the bar during the past five years, said Mary C. Gill, Chair of the Georgia Bar Association’s Business Court Committee.

“The Business Court was established to provide an efficient and dedicated forum to resolve complex commercial and business cases, said Gill, a partner at Alston & Bird LLP. The Business Court has succeeded in meeting these objectives through enhanced procedures and availability, as measured by the increased caseload over the past five years.”

Through September of this year Business Court has resolved 21 of the 64 cases it has handled in 2010.

The Fulton County Business Court was the state’s first specialized venue for complex commercial and business litigation. A Rule Amendment approved by the Georgia Supreme Court in June 2007 that made transferring cases to Business Court easier has more than doubled its caseload.

Eligible cases involve contractual disputes, commercial litigation, securities, or questions of corporate, limited liability company or partnership law. Business Court-eligible cases involve multiple issues and/or parties and complex questions of substantive law that require additional judicial resources to manage and adjudicate.

Business Court uses a high-tech Courtroom with document cameras, projectors, and evidence display system. Teleconference hearings can be arranged, to further reduce time and costs associated with complex cases. Business litigator Bush said that having judges who only hear Business Court cases brings flexibility of time, subject matter expertise, and judicial experience to the resolution of these disputes.

“I am reminded of the old story about the lawyer who called his partner to tell how the case came out. ‘Justice was done,’ to which the partner replied, ‘appeal immediately,’ Bush said. “For those actually seeking justice, the Fulton Business Court is a terrific forum, and to those attorneys who practice business related litigation and their clients with business disputes, it is an invaluable resource.”

Currently, Business Court cases are heard by Superior Court Judge Melvin K. Westmoreland and Senior Superior Court Judges Alice D. Bonner and Elizabeth E. Long.

The Superior Court of Fulton County is Georgia’s largest and busiest trial court and is a national leader in innovations that increase access to justice for all citizens. Follow the Court on Facebook and twitter and access Court programs and information on the internet at www.fultoncourt.org.

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