CHARLESTON – The Supreme Court's Business Court Committee met Aug. 18 to work on the second draft of rules for the operation of business courts in the state.

The committee agreed that the court will be called a commercial litigation court and will have seven judges in seven regions centered in the state's areas of largest population.

The judges will be appointed by the Supreme Court chief justice to staggered terms of seven years and the chief justice will appoint a chief judge to oversee administrative matters. All judges on the court will have special training in business litigation matters.

The court will also abide by the West Virginia Trial Court Rules, but will make an effort to conclude every case within 12 months of the date the case management order in that case was filed.

The committee also refined the types of cases that will and will not be under the jurisdiction of the Commercial Litigation Court.

"The whole purpose is to get an expedited conclusion to these business disputes," said Judge Darrell Pratt, Chairman of the Business Court Committee.

Pratt, a circuit judge in Wayne County, said the committee will meet again in late September with an invited group of stakeholders to refine the rules before issuing them for public comment later in the fall.

After the public comment period ends, the rules will be presented to the Supreme Court, which must approve them before the business court is established in West Virginia.

Other members of the committee are Circuit Judge Donald Cookman of the 22nd Judicial Circuit (Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton Counties); Circuit Judge Rudolph J. Murensky II of the Eighth Judicial Circuit (McDowell County); Circuit Judge James J. Rowe of the 11th Judicial Circuit (Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties); Circuit Judge Susan B. Tucker of the 17th Judicial Circuit (Monongalia County); and Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes of the 23rd Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties).

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