Bar News - April 19, 2017
Section Connection: Judge McNamara Offers Tips to Business Litigation Section
By: Ned Sackman
Members of the Business Litigation Section discuss Business Court standing orders with Judge Richard McNamara at Bernstein Shur. Joining a section means taking part in discussions that help shape practice. To find out more and join, contact NHBA Sections Coordinator Deb Bridges.
The Business Litigation Section of the NH Bar Association met on March 16 with NH Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara, who presides over the Business and Commercial Dispute Docket, colloquially known as the “Business Court.” The meeting took place at the offices of Bernstein Shur in Manchester and was well-attended.
Judge McNamara meets annually with the Business Litigation Section to discuss the current affairs of the Business Court and field questions from the business litigation bar.
During the meeting last month, he reviewed some of the Business Court Standing Orders, a complete copy of which is available on the Superior Court’s website. In particular, McNamara discussed the procedure for seeking preliminary injunctions. He noted that, rather than proceeding on offers of proof, in some cases he has found it helpful to suggest that the parties adjourn for a brief period and conduct limited discovery.
In certain cases, he said, this procedure can be more useful than attempting to make credibility judgments and other evidentiary rulings on the basis of offers of proof.
McNamara also highlighted the ability, under the Business Court Standing Orders, for parties to address discovery disputes through letter briefs. This procedure is intended to be more efficient and less costly than filing formal discovery motions and objections.
The meeting closed with a question-and-answer session. Innovations resulting from past question-and-answer sessions include the posting of Business Court opinions to the Superior Court website and the listing of the attorneys of record in the opinions posted.
During this year’s session, McNamara was asked about whether electronic filing of pleadings will be available in the future. Although nothing is expected in the near-term, it is anticipated that electronic filing will eventually come to the Business Court. In addition, it was noted that, in extraordinary circumstances, and with permission of the clerk, parties may email pleadings to the Court, with hard copies to follow by mail.
Ned Sackman is an attorney at Bernstein Shur in Manchester and serves as clerk of the NH Bar Association’s Business Litigation Section.