During the 2019 Legislative Session, Wyoming created a Chancery Court to hear and decide business cases.
The new law became effective March 15, 2019. It creates a Court with limited jurisdiction over cases in excess of $50,000 at stake. The business cases include the following areas:
- Breach of Contract
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Violations involving:
- Sale of Assets or Securities
- Corporate Restructuring
- Partnership, Shareholder, Joint Venture or other Business Agreement
- Trade Secrets
- Employment Agreements
- UCC transactions
- Shareholder Derivative Actions
- Commercial class actions
- Business transactions involving commercial banks or financial institutions
- Internal Business Disputes
- Environmental Insurance coverage
- Commercial Insurance coverage
- Dissolutions of corporations, partnerships, companies, etc.
- Wyoming Uniform Trust Code violations
Other noteworthy aspects include no right to jury trial in Chancery Court. There is limited discovery and an effort to resolve cases within 150 days. If needed, the Chancery Court can order mediation in a case.
The Chancery Court is still in development. The Wyoming Supreme Court is charged with getting it going. There are still rules to draft, judges to appoint and chambers to establish.
From my litigation experience, the Chancery Court is a good idea. I have had many cases that would fit within the areas outlined for Chancery Court jurisdiction. I like the idea of a business focused court that is quick. In fact, I have a high dollar case now that would be perfectly suited for Chancery Court.
It is interesting to see some remark that Wyoming wants to be the Delaware of the west. In other words, that Wyoming wants to play a part in developing business law. I disagree and see it really as just Wyoming wanting to provide a service to businesses in the state. The current district court dockets are often crowded and the Chancery Court provides a way for businesses to resolve their cases expeditiously and inexpensively.
I will keep you updated as things progress.