Created in 1995, the Commercial Division is a business-designated and sophisticated section of the New York State Supreme Court which resolves complicated commercial litigations. According to the Preamble, the Commercial Division was implemented for the primary goal “cost‐effective, predictable and fair adjudication of complex commercial cases.” Many counties in New York have dedicated Commercial Division Justices, with the number varying by county.
There is a two part test which must be satisfied to successfully trigger a Commercial Division designation.
First, the litigation must meet the minimum dollar threshold (or pursue equitable or declaratory relief without regard to the monetary threshold). If applicable, the minimum monetary threshold varies on a county by county basis, including:
Kings County: $150,000
Nassau County: $200,000
New York County: $500,000
Suffolk County: $100,000
Westchester County: $100,000
Second, Commercial Division designation is reserved for only those actions wherein the principal claims involve on of twelve (12) enumerated categories of litigations.
(1) Breach of contract or fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, business tort (e.g., unfair competition), or statutory and/or common law violation where the breach or violation is alleged to arise out of business dealings (e.g., sales of assets or securities; corporate restructuring; partnership, shareholder, joint venture, and other business agreements; trade secrets; restrictive covenants; and employment agreements not including claims that principally involve alleged discriminatory practices);
(2) Transactions governed by the Uniform Commercial Code “UCC” (excluding individual cooperative or condominium units);
(3) Transactions involving commercial real property, including Yellowstone injunctions and excluding actions for the payment of rent only;
(4) Shareholder derivative actions (which have no minimum monetary threshold);
(5) Commercial class actions (which have no minimum monetary threshold);
(6) Business transactions involving or arising out of dealings with commercial banks and other financial institutions;
(7) Internal affairs of business organizations;
(8) Malpractice by accountants or actuaries, and legal malpractice arising out of representation in commercial matters;
(9) Environmental insurance coverage;
(10) Commercial insurance coverage (e.g. directors and officers, errors and omissions, and business interruption coverage);
(11) Dissolution of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships and joint ventures (which has no minimum monetary threshold); and
(12) Applications to stay or compel arbitration and affirm or disaffirm arbitration awards and related injunctive relief pursuant to CPLR Article 75 involving any of the foregoing enumerated commercial issues.
Because there are specifically delineated rules which govern proceedings in the Commercial Division, it is imperative that counsel has the requisite familiarity and experience litigating within these particular confines.
If you are in need of an experienced commercial litigation attorney, please contact us for a free consultation.
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