- The Complex Business Litigation Program (“CBLP”) is focused on business, commercial and construction cases with significant dollar amounts in dispute or business or commercial cases involving complex factual and/or legal issues; a large number of parties (plaintiffs and/or defendants), each represented by independent counsel; potentially numerous pre-trial motions raising difficult or novel legal issues; many (likely) case management conferences involving of a large number of lay and expert witnesses; a substantial amount of projected documentary evidence (including electronically stored information); substantial time required to complete the trial; interpretation of a complicated business, commercial or construction statute; or other elements of a complex business, commercial or construction nature.
What Qualifies as a Complex Commercial Case?
Complex Commercial actions involve claims that arise out of business or commercial transactions and involve 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; potentially numerous pre-trial motions raising difficult or novel legal issues; the probate case management of a large number of lay and expert witnesses or a substantial amount of documentary evidence (including electronically stored information); a lengthy multiple day/weekend to trial; the interpretation of business or commercial statute(s); or contentions of a complex business – commercial nature. The CBLP encompasses both jury and non-jury cases.
Eligibility for This Program
A case is assigned to the CBLP judge in the following situations:
The CBLP involves disputes where the claims, counterclaims, or third-party claims allege business, commercial or construction claims in controversy of at least $200,000.00, unless the court determines a lesser amount is acceptable.
Attorneys or parties involved in the case can self-designate actions as Complex Commercial or Complex Construction. These case types will presumptively be assigned to the vicinage’s CBLP judge for case management.
What Qualifies as a Complex Construction Case?
Construction cases are included under the CBLP program. Complex Construction actions involve 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, 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. The CBLP encompasses both jury and non-jury matters.
Here’s a List of Cases That Fall Under the CBLP
- non-consumer Uniform Commercial Code transactions;
- the purchase and sale of assets of businesses or assets of a business, including contract disputes and commercial landlord/tenant claims;
- non-consumer sales of goods or services by or to a business;
- non-consumer bank or brokerage accounts including loan, deposit, cash management, and investment accounts;
- purchase, sale, or lease of commercial personal property, or security interests therein;
- arising out of state securities laws;
- intellectual property disputes;
- business licensing agreement disputes;
- unfair competition disputes;
- sale, purchase of a business or purchase or sale of stock, assets or liabilities of a business;
- mergers and acquisitions disputes;
- franchisee/franchisor relationship and liabilities;
- business torts, including interference with prospective economic advantage, interference with contractual relations, tortious interference with business relationships, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, fraud in the inducement, misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty;
- liability or indemnity of managers (officers, directors, managers, trustees or members or partners functioning as managers) of corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies or partnerships, professional associations, business trusts, joint ventures or other business enterprises;
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims;
- complex commercial construction disputes;
- other complex disputes of a business or commercial nature.
THE CBLP DOES NOT INCLUDE CASES INVOLVING:
- internal affairs or governance disputes over management and/or control of business entities;
- dissolution or liquidation rights or obligation between or among owners (shareholders, partner, members);
- statutory and custodial receivership or actions seeking the appointment of special fiscal agents;
- restructuring of a business entity;
- shareholder derivative suits;
- actions to protect the interests of a business, such as non-compete agreements, trade secrets or restrictive covenant agreements.
Also excluded from CBLP are actions primarily involving consumers, labor organizations, personal, physical or mental injury; mechanics’ lien actions, and condemnation proceedings. Following is a non-inclusive list of actions that generally are not handled by CBLP judges and are handled by judges regularly
assigned to the Law Division, Civil Part:
- class action consumer claims;
- products liability actions;
- personal injury and wrongful death actions;
- commercial landlord verses consumer tenant actions;
- noncommercial real estate matters actions;
- actions by consumers against a business and businesses against consumers;
- enforcement of arbitration awards;
- condemnation actions;
- landlord‐tenant matters involving summary dispossession;
- employment Law Against Discrimination actions;
- civil rights actions;
- professional malpractice actions;
- medical device litigation and pharmaceutical litigation;
- Multi-county Litigation (mass tort);
- environmental litigation including environmental insurance coverage actions;
- Conscientious Employee Protection Act actions;
- agreements relating to an individual or collective contract of employment;
- wrongful discharge actions;
- slander of title or product disparagement actions;
- fraudulent transfers under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act;
- consumer residential construction actions.
Can You Request That Your Case Be Assigned as CBLP?
Parties may formally move before the CBLP judge for inclusion in the Program where a case is not presumptively assigned to the CBLP but involves complex business related issues and/or the amount in controversy is less than $200,000. Business or commercial disputes that involve complex factual or legal issues; a large number of parties; discovery issues such as managing large numbers of documents, multiple experts; is likely to have implications for business beyond the decision in the particular case; is likely to result in a significant interpretation of a business or commercial statute; or involves other contentions that the CBLP judge finds compelling may be assigned to the Complex Business Litigation Program. Such motions shall be granted for good cause shown.
If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at email@example.com. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
This blog is a summary of an overview of the CBLP promulgated by Directive 19 (1/31/2019) of the NJ Supreme Court, Case 2369.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Shareholder/LLC Law Attorney