Business court pilot program could come to NeMiss

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD
Daily Journal

TUPELO – A pilot program to speed up decisions in business-related lawsuits could be in Mississippi's future, if the Legislature approves a new proposal from Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Speaking to the Daily Journal Editorial Board on Tuesday, Hosemann said he's offering a plan to pilot three new business courts – in Tupelo, in central Mississippi and on the Gulf Coast – to accelerate business cases before a special judge.

For business litigation, the former business attorney said, “there's about a three-year wait to get a trial in Hinds County.”

“With an accelerated docket, you would get your written decision within 12 months of filing.”

Hosemann, who made establishment of business courts a campaign issue in 2007, said his legislation is being drafted and will be introduced as a revenue bill through the finance committees.

Fees to support the business courts would come from an annual $25 filing fee from limited liability corporations.

“Business will be paying for the business court,” Hosemann noted.

Judges for the business courts would come from current judges, who apply for the new posts, are screened by the Mississippi Bar Association and appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court, his legislation will state. They would come from existing circuit and chancery court districts.

The filing-fee revenue would pay for substitute judges to pick up the rest of the court work.

Hosemann also suggests the business judges then be elected when their seats come up in the next cycle of judicial elections.

Saying he's optimistic about his proposal, Hosemann said business courts are working well in North Carolina, Delaware and Maine, and just getting under way in Nevada.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 768-1596
or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.