HB 216: Improving Business Courts in Utah
Libertas Institute supports this bill.
Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.
House Bill 216, introduced by Representative Brady Brammer, would create a specialized court in Utah for business litigation where the plaintiff seeks solely equitable relief or damages of over $300,0000.
Currently, district court judges in Utah carry a caseload of both criminal and civil cases. While most attorneys specialize in a narrow area of practice, judges are expected to preside over matters as diverse as personal injury suits, contract disputes, and criminal disputes. By putting a subset of complex business law cases into specialized courts, judges can cultivate a greater depth of knowledge over these types of cases and preside over them more competently.
This bill also could affect how quickly these types of cases can be resolved. Judges have a limited number of days available to preside over trials. Criminal matters in which the defendant is in custody always get first priority. This makes sense given that their liberty is at stake. However, it also means that civil cases, especially complex ones that may take multiple days or weeks to go to trial, may be postponed for years. By putting complex business litigation into a separate queue, both criminal and business trials can avoid rescheduling and be processed more efficiently.
While Utah is generally regarded as a business-friendly state in terms of regulations, this bill would offer a judicial component to Utah’s courts to make the state more like Delaware — known as one of the best states for business litigation. This in turn may encourage more businesses to incorporate in Utah, bringing with them economic growth.