Q1: How does a case get assigned to the Business Court?
A1: For a brief overview of the designation procedure, click here. For more information regarding designation, see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4 and Rule 2 of the Business Court Rules. Questions regarding notices of designation and assignment of cases should be directed to the Senior Court Coordinator, Thomas W. Estes.
Q2: Which judge will be assigned to preside over my case?A2: After a case has been designated to the Business Court by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the Chief Business Court Judge will assign the case to a Business Court judge. Although geography may play a part in this decision, it is not the only factor. Other considerations include the current caseload of each judge, conflicts of interest, and any related cases in the Court.
Q3: How do I get a case that has been designated to the Business Court back to regular civil superior court?A3: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4(e) and Business Court Rule 2.2 address the timing and procedure for filing an opposition to designation.
The Chief Business Court Judge will rule on all oppositions to designation. The Chief Judge may also determine ex mero motu that an action should not be designated as a mandatory complex business case. If the case is no longer designated as a mandatory complex business case, the action will proceed on the regular civil superior court docket in the county of venue. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4(e), the Chief Judge’s decision regarding an opposition to designation may be appealed in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-27(a).
Q4: What if a case meets the substantive requirements for mandatory complex business designation but a party fails to designate within the requisite period of time?A4: Under Rule 2.1 of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina has discretion to designate any case as an “exceptional” or “complex business” case. Cases meeting the requirements for designation as "complex business cases" under Rule 2.1 may be assigned to a Business Court judge by the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice has implemented a procedure that, absent exceptional circumstances, the Business Court judges are only assigned those cases qualifying for complex business case designation pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4(b) (often referred to as “mandatory-mandatory” complex business cases).
Section 7A-45.4 outlines the procedure for requesting designation for cases governed by that section. If your case does not fall within that section, or if you have failed to seek timely designation under that section, you may request to have your case considered for designation under Rule 2.1 by a request made to the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in the county of venue. Conventions and practices regarding Rule 2.1 designation may vary by county.
Section 7A-45.4(b) provides that certain cases must be heard by a Business Court judge and requires other judges asked to hear such cases to stay such an action until the case has been designated as a mandatory complex business case.
Q5: If a case is designated to the Business Court, are the parties required to change venue and try the case in a Business Court courtroom (Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, or Winston-Salem)?A5: No. The North Carolina Business Court is not a court of jurisdiction; it is an administrative division of the General Court of Justice. While motions and pretrial matters typically will be heard in the Business Court courtroom of the presiding Business Court judge, all jury trials will be held in the county of venue. Non-jury trials may be held in a Business Court courtroom if all parties consent.
Q6: How should an attorney inform the Business Court of designated secure-leave periods?A6: Designations of secure leave should be e-filed in each case in which an attorney is involved.
Q7: How do I request a copy of the verbatim record (transcript/recording of session) made during a proceeding presided over by a Business Court judge?A7: Contact the Court Coordinator at the chambers of the assigned judge, preferably by email — contact info is available here. In the email requesting the verbatim record, provide the case name/county/number; date of the proceeding; and matter heard. Verbatim records are either made by the court reporter assigned to the session or the Clerk of Superior Court’s courtroom clerk recording the audio/video. The availability of each of these record types will vary depending on the nature of the proceeding. The case’s assigned Business Court judge’s Court Coordinator will provide you with the appropriate next steps.
Q8: How do I electronically file a notice of appearance in a Business Court case?
A8: Locate your case on the Court’s eFiling system and select “eFile.” If the party that you represent is already listed on the electronic docket for your case, select “Notice of Appearance” from the dropdown list for Document Type and upload your notice. Your notice of appearance will be automatically delivered to the Court’s work queue for approval. Once the notice is approved, the filing is complete and counsel is associated to the case for purposes of filing and receiving notices of electronic filing.
If the party that you represent is not listed on the electronic docket for your case, select “Add Parties” in the dropdown list for Document Type and upload your notice of appearance into the Add Parties web form. Your notice of appearance and Add Parties web-form data will be automatically delivered to the Court’s work queue for approval. Once the notice is approved, the filing is complete and counsel is associated to the case for purposes of filing and receiving notices of electronic filing.
Q9: Is use of the Business Court's electronic-filing system mandatory?A9: See Business Court Rule 3.
Q10: Are parties who use the electronic-filing system required to also file pleadings and other documents with the Clerk of Superior Court? With Odyssey now in its implementation phase, what is the application of BCR 3.11?A10: See Business Court Rule 3, and Rules 5.0(f) and 5.1(b) of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts Supplemental to the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Special rules may apply to filings not governed by N.C. Civ. R. P. 5(d). For example, a written notice of appeal from an order or judgment of the Court must be filed with the Clerk of Superior Court within the time and in the manner provided by the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Q11: Do parties who use the Court's electronic-filing system still have to serve opposing counsel?A11: See Business Court Rule 3.
Q12: What are the format requirements for electronically filed documents?A12: The Court's electronic-filing system accepts the following file formats: .pdf (general filing); .rtf and .docx (proposed orders); and .xls, .xlsx, .mp3, .mp4, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tiff, .bmp, and .gif (attachments). Pleadings, motions, and briefs filed electronically must not be filed in an optically scanned format, unless special circumstances dictate otherwise. Proposed orders submitted to the Court for routine motions should be e-filed in rich text (.rtf) or Microsoft Word (.docx) format in a 12-point, proportional font, and should accompany the related motion. The electronic file name for each document filed with the Court must clearly identify its contents.
Q13: How do I create a Business Court eFiling account, or recover an account for which I do not know the username or password?A13: Go to this page, https://ncbc.nccourts.org/filer/, and select the appropriate link on the bottom right of the page.
Q14: What action should I take after updating my contact information within my eFiling account?A14: Counsel and unrepresented parties shall promptly update the Court with any change to his/her (i) contact information, including mailing address, email address, telephone number, or law firm name or affiliation, and (ii) license or privilege to practice law in any jurisdiction, including by suspension, revocation, or surrender. Notification to the Court must be made by filing a Notice of Change of Address/Status on the Court’s electronic filing system clearly setting forth the changes that have been made. When an attorney changes his/her law firm, the Notice must expressly state that counsel has conferred with his/her client and that the client consents to representation by the new law firm in the pending matter.
Q15: Who should I contact for eFiling technical support?A15: For eFiling technical and after-hours support, please contact the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) Help Desk at (919) 890-2407. Please request that your ticket be forwarded to Steve Kulig for resolution.
Q16: What is the impact of the AOC’s projected Odyssey go-live date of February 13, 2023 for Harnett, Johnston, Lee and Wake Counties?A16: Odyssey is a new, web-based integrated case management system that the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts is rolling out in stages statewide. The current go-live date for Odyssey in the pilot counties of Harnett, Johnston, Lee, and Wake is February 13, 2023. The Administrative Office of the Courts maintains a list of the counties with Odyssey at NCcourts.gov/eCourts.
The Business Court’s go-live date for Odyssey has not been determined. Until further notice, parties and counsel will continue to file documents with the Business Court using its eFlex electronic-filing system. Parties and counsel will also need to continue filing documents with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county of venue, and the form of those filings will depend on whether the county is live on Odyssey. To navigate these issues, filers should reference Rules 5.0 and 5.1 of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts Supplemental to the Rules of Civil Procedure.