By Hon. Martin E. Ritholtz

In order to preserve the reputation that New York State serves as the de-facto business capital of the world, the Commercial Division was established in 1995 in the New York State courts, to foster a more favorable environment for the resolution of commercial disputes, including complex litigation. Notwithstanding the access to the federal court system, the New York State Commercial Division has been the forum of choice, and is constantly seeking to improve and facilitate the cost-effective and efficient resolution of complicated business disputes.

To this end, the Commercial Division rules have been amended on 35 different occasions since their initial promulgation in 2006, in order to accommodate and fine-tune the practice of Commercial Law in the New York State courts.

The following are examples of recent rule changes that foster expedited litigation:

  • Rule 13(c) provides for enhanced expert disclosure, which has the potential to streamline litigation and promote pre-trial settlements (amended September 2013; 22NYCRR §202.70 [g], Rule 13 [c])
  • Rule 9 expedites pre-trial proceedings and enables a case to be trial-ready within 9 months by implementing “Accelerated Adjudication,” popularly known as New York’s “Rocket Docket” (amended June 2014; 22NYCRR §202.70 [g], Rule 9)
  • Rule 11-a limits the scope and number of interrogatories (amended June 2014; 22NYCRR §202.70 [g], Rule 11-a)
  • Rule 11-b streamlines the privilege log process (amended September 2014; 22NYCRR §202.70 [g], Rule 11-b)
  • Rule 11-d limits the number and duration of depositions (amended September 2014, 22NYCRR §202.70 [g], Rule 11-d)

To this day, the rule changes continue. There is a proposed amendment to Rule 26, which would limit the total hours of trial. Another proposed rule would require counsel to consult in good faith on expert testimony before trial in Commercial Division matters.

Rule changes are not enough. Efficient resolution of commercial litigation is also fostered by jurists who are selected for knowledge of complex business litigation. At the present time, 28 Justices are assigned to the Commercial Division statewide.

In conclusion, it is evident that the Commercial Division has met its goals and is undoubtedly a friendly forum to practitioners who seek the delivery of efficient judicial service.

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