In Litigation, Control What You Can
May 10, 2019 | Law and business
In my experience as a commercial litigator, litigation tends to be a necessary (and often involuntary) evil. It is expensive and stressful, but there are parts you can control to make the process less painful. For example, in some situations you can select the forum (i.e., the court, board, tribunal, etc.) that hears the case. When selecting a forum, you should look for the forum most qualified to hear your case. Specialty courts and arbitration panels were created to provide qualified forums in which to try a case. In Iowa, we are fortunate to have the relatively new Iowa Business Specialty Court (the IBSC).
The ISBC has three district court judges located across Iowa who have experience with complex commercial litigation as attorneys and judges. Each ISBC case is specially assigned to one of those judges. Any party to an Iowa district court case can transfer its case to the ISBC if the case meets the ISBC eligibility requirements (generally $200,000 or more in controversy involving a business-related legal issue). The ISBC judge assigned to the case travels to the county where the case is pending, making the process geographically convenient. Another benefit of the ISBC is a mandatory court-sponsored settlement conference, which requires the parties to engage in a settlement conference with another ISBC judge not assigned to the case. More often than not, this settlement conference resolves the case.
So far, experiences with the ISBC have been very positive. My clients and I have been pleased with the ISBC judges’ hands-on attention to our cases and the timely, well-reasoned opinions on complicated legal issues.
So, the next time your company is involved in Iowa district court litigation qualifying for the ISBC, take control and consider transferring the case to the ISBC.
More details about the ISBC can be found on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at: https:// www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/district-court/iowa-business-specialty-court/.