As more practitioners file cases in the Business Courts, it is predictable that they will have to grapple with jurisdictional issues involving multiple claims. One issue that litigators should be aware of is that business courts have ‘supplemental’ jurisdiction over claims that are not themselves business court claims, but that are related to business court claims.
Under MCL 600.8305(3) claims that normally would not be within the Business Court’s jurisdiction will nevertheless be litigated in the Business Court if they are part of a lawsuit that involves a business or commercial dispute. For example, if a plaintiff brings a shareholder oppression action and includes in his or her lawsuit a claim for breach of a promissory note relating to a personal loan, the latter claim will be maintained in the Business Court despite the fact that it is not a business or commercial dispute.
Similarly, if a lawsuit initially does not include a claim involving a business or commercial dispute, it can nevertheless be transferred to the Business Court if a claim of that nature is added by way of counterclaim, cross-claim, third-party complaint, amendment or other modification to the action. See MCL 600.8035(6). Thus, if a plaintiff files the same breach of promissory note claim discussed above, and the defendant files a counterclaim for shareholder oppression, the entire suit will be transferred to the Business Court.
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