Effective January 1, 2015, complex business, commercial and construction cases with damages in excess of $200,000 are eligible for placement in the State’s new Complex Business Litigation Program. The Program will encompass both jury and non-jury matters. Upon initial filing, counsel for Plaintiff can designate the matter as a complex business litigation matter and request inclusion in the Program. It is hoped that the litigation of such designated matters will be streamlined and more effectively managed resulting in lower litigation costs to the parties and expedited case resolution.
Under the Program, eligible Complex Commercial matters include: claims by, against, and among parties that arise out of business or commercial transactions and involve parties’ exposure to potentially significant damage awards; or where the business or commercial claim involves complex factual or legal issues; a large number of separately represented parties; potential numerous pre-trial motions raising difficult or novel legal issues; case management of a large number of lay and expert witnesses or a substantial amount of documentary evidence (including electronically stored information); substantial time required to complete the trial; significant interpretation of a business or commercial statute; or involves other contentions of a complex business – commercial nature.
Eligible Complex Construction matters include: claims by, against, and among owners, contractors, subcontractors, fabricators and installers, architects, engineers, design and construction consultants, and other similar parties associated with a construction project that involves parties’ exposure to potentially significant damage awards because of claimed design and construction defects, or facility delivery delay claims or where the construction claim involves complex factual or legal issues; a large number of separately represented parties; potential numerous pre-trial motions raising difficult or novel legal issues; case management of a large number of lay and expert witnesses or a substantial amount of documentary evidence (including electronically stored information); substantial time required to complete the trial. Complex construction does not include construction and professional payment and billing claims, change order claims, wrongful termination, quantum merit, construction lien or mechanics lien claims, unless associated with a complex construction claim as herein described.
Parties may file a motion with the Complex Business Litigation Program judge for inclusion in the Program where the amount in controversy is less than $200,000. Parties may also move for removal from the Program on the grounds that the action does not meet the eligibility criteria. Finally, while cases in the Program are not part of the court’s mandatory civil mediation and arbitration programs, the Complex Business Litigation Program Judge in each vicinage, as part of case management, will continue to encourage the parties to engage in mediation.
The attorneys at Timmerman, Beaulieu, Hinkle & Esworthy, LLC are well versed in handling complex business, commercial and construction litigation in New Jersey and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Mike Hinkle is a founding partner of Timmerman, Beaulieu, Hinkle & Esworthy, LLC and manages the firm’s New Jersey practice. Mike’s practice focuses on complex insurance defense and business litigation in the federal and state courts of Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He can be contacted at (410) 649-4440 in Maryland, (717) 698-1428 in Pennsylvania or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.