Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5505

February Session, 2018

 

LCO No. 2278

 

*02278_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT PROMOTING THE EXPEDITIOUS RESOLUTION OF COMMERCIAL CASES IN THE STATE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Commercial case" means a civil action in which a principal claim involves:

(A) Breach of contract or fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, a business-related tort, including, but not limited to, unfair competition, or a statutory or common law claim arising out of a business dealing, including, but not limited to, (i) sales of assets or securities; (ii) corporate restructuring; (iii) partnership, shareholder, joint venture and other business agreements; (iv) trade secrets; (v) restrictive covenants; and (vi) employment agreements, other than claims that principally involve an alleged discriminatory practice;

(B) Transactions governed by the Uniform Commercial Code;

(C) Transactions involving commercial real property;

(D) Shareholder derivative actions;

(E) Commercial class actions;

(F) Business transactions involving or arising out of dealings with commercial banks and other financial institutions;

(G) Internal affairs of business organizations;

(H) Malpractice by accountants or actuaries, and legal malpractice arising out of representation in commercial matters;

(I) Environmental insurance coverage;

(J) Commercial insurance coverage, including, but not limited to, directors and officers, errors and omissions, and business interruption coverage; and

(K) Dissolution of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships and joint ventures; and

(2) "Center" means the Connecticut Center for Commercial Claims established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The Chief Court Administrator shall establish, within available resources, a special session of the Superior Court for the resolution of commercial cases involving a claim or claims for money damages in excess of five hundred thousand dollars. The special session shall be known as the "Connecticut Center for Commercial Claims".

(c) Upon written agreement of the parties to transfer a commercial case to the center and the submission of such written agreement to the Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, a commercial case satisfying the jurisdictional requirements set forth in subsection (b) of this section may be transferred to the docket of the center. Any party to a commercial case that is transferred to the docket of the center shall be assessed a per diem fee of twenty-five dollars per party for each day that such case is pending on such docket. Assessment of the per diem fee shall commence on the date on which the commercial case is transferred to the docket of the center and shall terminate on the date of the entry of judgment in the commercial case by the center, or, in the case of a commercial case that is transferred by the center back to the regular docket, the date on which the transfer occurs. The Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, shall transfer all fees received pursuant to this subsection to the organization administering the program for the use of interest earned on lawyers' clients' funds accounts pursuant to section 51-81c of the general statutes, for the purpose of funding the delivery of legal services to the poor.

(d) Not later than three days following the date on which a commercial case is transferred to the center, the Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, shall provide the parties to the commercial case with written notification of a list of names of not less than thirty judges or judge trial referees who are available to preside over the commercial case for the duration of the commercial case. Not later than two weeks after the date on which the Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, provides such written notification, the parties shall provide written notification to the center of the names of three judges or judge trial referees that the parties have jointly selected to preside over the commercial case. The Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, shall designate one of the three judges or judge trial referees named by the parties to preside over the commercial case. If the parties (1) fail to timely provide the Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, with the names of three judges or judge trial referees to preside over the commercial case, or (2) cannot agree on the names of three judges or judge trial referees to preside over the commercial case, the Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, shall designate the judge or judge trial referee to preside over the commercial case by selecting a judge or judge trial referee from the list of names provided to the parties pursuant to this subsection. In the event that no judge or judge trial referee, jointly selected by the parties to preside over the commercial case, is in fact available, the Chief Court Administrator shall provide the parties with the opportunity to select another mutually agreed upon judge or judge trial referee to preside over the commercial case.

(e) The judges of the Supreme Court, Appellate Court and Superior Court shall adopt and may, from time to time, modify or repeal rules and forms regulating pleading, practice and procedure in judicial proceedings administered by the center. Such rules shall be for the purpose of simplifying proceedings transferred to the center and promoting the speedy and efficient determination of commercial cases upon the merits. Such rules shall: (1) Provide for an accelerated adjudication process; (2) address pretrial proceedings, discovery and motions; (3) include a mandatory one-day mediation session with a special master, designated by the Chief Court Administrator, who shall be a judge, a judge trial referee or an attorney with expertise in commercial cases; (4) require that a decision on a dispositive motion be rendered not later than thirty days after the date on which such motion was heard; and (5) ensure that any commercial case transferred to the docket of the center be ready for trial not later than nine months following the date of such transfer. Such rules shall not abridge, enlarge or modify the jurisdiction of any court. Such rules shall become effective on such date as the judges specify, but not in any event until sixty days after such promulgation.

Sec. 2. (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2019, the Chief Court Administrator, or his or her designee, shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, on the establishment of the Connecticut Center for Commercial Claims to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2018

New section

Sec. 2

from passage

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To establish the Connecticut center for Commercial Claims as a mechanism for the expeditious resolution of commercial cases.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]