Pointers For Navigating Business Court

By Jennifer L. Braster, Esq.

The Eighth Judicial District’s business court is one of the excellent programs that the Eighth Judicial District Court offers litigants involved in business and commercial disputes. Four departments, 11, 13, 16, and 27, are designated as business courts. While there are many similarities in the rules for a “regular” civil litigation matter and a business court matter, the rules do provide for enhanced case management and discovery tools in business court. This article highlights some of the nuances employed by the different departments handling business court matters. Every case is different, there will be deviations from these practices, and of course, we cannot ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the court system. However, knowing a specific department’s practices will always give you a step up.

Joint Case Conference Report Requirements

Each department will hold a Rule 16 conference with the parties to discuss the discovery deadlines and case management. There is a split in preference as to the filing of a joint case conference report (“JCCR”) prior to the Rule 16 conference. Depts. 11 and 16 do not require the filing of a JCCR before the Rule 16 conference. While Dept. 13 does not require the filing of a JCCR before the Rule 16 conference, it does require the parties to file a limited JCCR afterwards. Dept. 27 requires the parties to file a JCCR beforehand because that will trigger the scheduling of the Rule 16 conference.

Attendance at the Rule 16 Conference

None of the departments require a party representative to appear at the Rule 16 conference, only counsel.

Stipulations or Motions to Extend Discovery
Each department treats stipulations and motions to extend discovery differently, while acknowledging the need for cases to be handled expeditiously, counsel to diligently work to complete discovery, and the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For Dept. 11, stipulations to extend discovery often will be accepted if there is good reason for the continuance. Otherwise, a motion to extend will be necessary. For Dept. 13, the court will generally sign stipulations to extend discovery if the extension is warranted. Outside the COVID-19 pandemic, Dept. 13 generally will grant a stipulated continuance of the trial date due to discovery continuances up to two times without a motion. For Dept. 16, as a general matter, stipulations to extend discovery will be accepted within the first three years of litigation, if warranted. After that, the parties must file a motion. For Dept. 27, pre-COVID-19 pandemic, generally the court would allow one stipulation to extend discovery and continue the trial date. In light of the current challenges, Dept. 27 has relaxed that rule.

Practice Tips

Each department has provided some practice tips for business court litigators as well as pet peeves:

  • At the motion calendar, be on time and be ready to address any questions the judge may have regarding the filed briefs.
  • The introductory language of a motion and concluding paragraph should clearly state what is sought. The introductory paragraph should also cite any procedural rules pursuant to which it is made.
  • Make sure the requirements of EDCR 2.34 are met before filing motions to resolve discovery disputes.
  • Notify judges in advance if a hearing is being vacated or moved. Providing this advance notice will prevent judges from spending several hours preparing for a hearing and then learning the morning of the hearing that it is being moved.
  • When moving to dismiss or for summary judgment, each cause of action for which relief is being sought should be identified and separately analyzed.

Last, do not be shy. Each department’s judicial executive assistants have invaluable knowledge, and I have found that they are always willing to answer questions regarding the particular procedures of their departments.

About

This article was originally published in the “Local Courts” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (October 2020). See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2020/communique-october-2020/.

© 2020 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.

About the author:
Jennifer Braster

Jennifer L. Braster, Esq. is a founding partner at Naylor & Braster, a commercial litigation firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jennifer routinely practices in both the federal and state courts in Nevada and in the areas of commercial litigation, consumer finance, and appellate law. Contact her at 702-420-7000.