University of Denver

Iowa Business Specialty Court

In March 2012, the Iowa Civil Justice Reform Task Force released a final report which recommended the creation of a business specialty court “to move complex business litigation through the court system more expeditiously with lower costs for litigants and the court system.” The Iowa business specialty court pilot project began as a three-year program that recognizes the need to develop a published body of business court case law to provide guidance for fair and cost-effective resolution of business litigation, remove complex business litigation from regular dockets, and to develop innovative court practices that could be applicable across courts.

Three district court judges preside over cases that are assigned to the business court: Judge Michael Huppert (District 5), Judge Annette Scieszinski (District 8), and Judge John Telleen (District 7). The cases are heard in the county where the case was originally filed. Assignment to the program is contingent upon agreement by all of the parties and requires damages in excess of $200,000 or a party seeking primarily injunctive or declaratory relief. Additionally, the cases must involve a business claim from the types of claims that have been pre-selected for the business court.

In February 2016, the Iowa supreme court issued a supervisory order to declare its intention to continue the Iowa business court as a component of the Iowa court system.

The program has been evaluated annually (see the first evaluation, second evaluation, and third evaluation). In the third annual evaluation report that was released on July 19, 2016, the business court judges suggested that the program receive a law clerk who is dedicated to the business court, the consent requirement be changed, a fourth judge be added, the practice of submitting court time reports be ended, the use of teleconferencing be increased, and the business court continue to be promoted.

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