TN Supreme Court Pilot Project

March 31, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court is introducing a pilot project to increase efficiencies in complex business litigation in the state. Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle will preside over the Davidson County Business Court Pilot Project. While the court will be located in Davidson County (Nashville), cases filed in other Tennessee counties can be transferred to the Business Court upon approval of the Supreme Court's chief justice and agreement by all parties. The intent of the pilot project is to expedite cases and to develop a body of law where litigants and attorneys can better predict and assess outcomes. Having a specialized Business Court is expected to benefit Tennessee's other trial courts by freeing up their dockets by the removal of complex and time-consuming business cases. An evaluation process will be put in place to determine the effectiveness of the Business Court. Currently, at least 26 other states have created specialized business courts. Tennessee already has a number of specialized trial courts, including probate, domestic, juvenile, and criminal courts.

There are a number of criteria for either assignment or transfer to the Business Court. The case must involve a civil matter filed on or about May 1, 2015, and allege at least $50,000 in compensatory damages or involve a claim seeking primarily injunctive or declaratory relief. In addition, the claim must be related to at least one of several business categories, including internal affairs of businesses, breach of contract or fiduciary duty, shareholder derivative class actions, commercial real estate disputes, violations of non-compete actions or confidentiality agreements, commercial construction contract or defect disputes, or intellectual property rights. Claims not eligible for assignment to the Business Court include personal injury or wrongful death, health care liability, most employment law disputes, cases in which the state is a party, and administrative appeals from a state or county agency.

For more information, click here.

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