I wrote yesterday about the arbitration aspects of Gaylor, Inc. v. Vizor, LLC, 2015 NCBC 98.
But there is a significant aspect of Business Court procedure addressed in that case which deserved its own post.
It concerns the authority of a non-Business Court Judge (i.e. a regular Superior Court Judge) to make a ruling in a case after the case is designated to the Business Court.
Business Court Rule 15.1 seems to preclude that kind of ruling. It says that:
[a]fter a case has been assigned or designated to the Business Court . . . parties shall seek rulings on all motions in the case from this Court, and not from Superior Court Judges or Clerks in the counties where cases originate."
I”ve written before about getting a ruling from a Superior Court Judge after designation to the Business Court, but that post was based on emails from two of the Business Court Judges’ law clerks and the Business Court TCA (for the many otolaryngologists* who read this blog and who may not know what a TCA is, it is a "Trial Court Administrator," who is charged with managing civil cases as they move through the judicial system). I cautioned then against relying too heavily on the statements of persons who were not Judges.
But now you’ve got the Business Court’s interpretation of its Rules straight from a Judge. Here’s what Judge Bledsoe said In the Vizor decision:
[w]here, as here, a Notice of Designation requesting designation of a matter as a complex business case has been filed after a motion has been calendared for hearing before the presiding Superior Court Judge of the county in which the action is pending, the policy of the Business Court has been that the judge before whom the matter was calendared may, in his or her discretion, elect to rule on the motion or defer resolution of the motion to the Business Court judge assigned to the case.
Op. ¶12 & n.4 (emphasis added).
If this practice now bears Business Court approval, it still won’t be an easy trick to pull off. Even if you can get a motion calendared for hearing in Superior Court before the designation of the case to the Business Court, my guess is that most Superior Court Judges probably will decide not to rule in a case that is headed to the Business Court.
*Well, there really is at least one. And if you don’t know what an otolaryngologist is, it is an ear, nose, and throat doctor.