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Authors

Gregory Day

Abstract

Over the past two decades, almost half of all states have enacted business courts to assume jurisdiction over locally arising business disputes. Advocates of these new courts assert that by trying business disputes in a specialized forum using an expert jurist, these venues should improve the adjudication of local business conflicts, while developing the states’ business climate. Considering that a majority of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, where the state’s esteemed Court of Chancery hears all local corporate disputes, out-of-state businesses may become more likely to incorporate or relocate to a state that has enacted a business court. Most academics, however, refute that these nascent business courts will generate tangible benefits. Their first point is that business courts differ substantially from Delaware’s Court of Chancery. The second argument is that business courts are not nearly as established or reputable as the Chancery Court. It is also argued that companies are not nearly as concerned with a state’s legal landscape as they are with other factors, and thus, should be unlikely to migrate to another state for the sake of a business court. Indeed, these competing narratives raise important questions about the ability of states and their court systems to improve business adjudication and to build local value.

The North Carolina Business Court is one of the most reputable and established of these new specialty courts. Having been established almost twenty years ago, the North Carolina Business Court should provide meaningful insights into this debate regarding the benefits of having a business court. Using both statistical and anecdotal evidence, this Article explores whether business courts have improved, or are likely to improve, American business jurisprudence. Alternatively, this Article explores whether business courts can help states to compete against Delaware’s corporate monopoly.

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