Business and Consumer Docket FAQ
Business and Consumer Court Clerk's Office
205 Newbury Street, Ground Floor
Portland, Maine 04101
Telephone number: (207) 822-3220
The BCD e-mail address is: Business.Court@courts.maine.gov
BCD e-mail guidelines (PDF)
What is the Business and Consumer Court?
It is a statewide docket designed to handle selected business
and consumer cases. The Business and Consumer Court is also known
as the Business and Consumer Docket (BCD).
What types of cases will be considered for transfer to the Business and Consumer Court?
Pending and new jury and nonjury civil actions and family matters that do not involve children, in which (a) the principal claim or claims involve matters of significance to the transactions, operations or governance of a business entity and/or the rights of a consumer arising out of transactions or other dealings with a business entity, and (b) the case requires specialized and differentiated judicial management. (M.R. Civ. P. 130(a))
What is the purpose of the Business and Consumer Court (BCD)?
The BCD is designed to provide more predictable scheduling, a modified (usually a truncated) discovery procedure, and individualized case management in the selected cases involving business and/or consumer disputes. Cases assigned to the BCD are intensively managed by the assigned judges to keep the parties focused on issues that require judicial resolution and those that may be resolved through settlement. The court encourages the parties to negotiate time frames and deadlines that are tailored to the particular needs of the case and, then, the court issues an order, which governs the processing of the case. Modifications to such orders are rare and the assigned judges works hard to keep the case on track for prompt resolution. Continuances and delays are discouraged.
How do I get my case assigned to the Business and Consumer Court?
Any superior court justice or district court judge may recommend that a case be assigned to the Business and Consumer Court. In addition, any party or attorney may apply for transfer to the Business and Consumer Court. Application forms are available on the forms and publications page on this site. (BCD Forms)
Is my case right for transfer to the Business and Consumer Court?
Deciding whether your case is right for transfer to the BCD is a personal decision. In considering whether the case qualifies for transfer, an attorney or party may wish to become familiar with the purposes of the BCD, review the BCD rules (contained in Chapter XIV of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure) and to consider the same factors that may be considered by the reviewing judge, such as:
(a) The location of the court in which the case is pending;
(b) The number of separately represented parties;
(c) The number and nature of pretrial motions filed or expected to be filed;
(d) Any novel and/or complex legal issues;
(e) The number of witnesses;
(f) The nature and amount of documentary evidence;
(g) The need to coordinate the case with related actions pending in one or more courts in other counties, states or countries, or in a federal court; and
(h) The need for on-going judicial supervision.
addition, you may find it useful to speak with other attorneys
who have tried cases in the BCD.
How do I apply for transfer to the Business and Consumer Court?
Applications (and Judicial Recommendations) for transfer are
filed with the court where the case is currently pending or to
be filed. As with any other motion, the application must be served
on all other parties. (M.R. Civ. P. 131(a))
Can I file my case and application for transfer directly with the Business and Consumer Court?
No. Until a transfer order has been signed and the case is assigned
a BCD docket number, all filings must be made with the clerk
of the court where the case is pending or to be filed. The Business
and Consumer Court does not accept cases for filing in the first
instance. (M.R. Civ. P. 131(a))
How do I object to my case being transferred to the Business and Consumer Court?
Any party objecting to the transfer shall file a written objection, no more than 2 pages in length, setting forth the specific reasons for the objection. An objection shall be deemed waived unless filed with the transferring court within 14 days of the filing of the application to transfer.
In situations where an application is filed with the initial
complaint, the written objection must be filed no later than
the objecting party’s answer or other response to the complaint
or that party’s deadline for filing such answer or response,
whichever first occurs. (M.R. Civ. P. 131(b))
How do I appeal a decision to transfer/not transfer my case to the Business and Consumer Court?
Decisions about transfer are final and not subject to review
or appeal. (M.R. Civ. P. 131(c)(1))
What happens once my case is transferred to the Business and Consumer Court?
The Judge issues a transfer order and the file is transmitted
to the Business and Consumer Court from the transferring court
and the case gets a new docket number. Generally, once the case
is transferred, it stays with the same Judge to conclusion. In
rare instances, the case may be reassigned to another judge or
returned to the court from which it was transferred. In such
cases, the parties will be notified in writing. (M.R. Civ. P. 131(c)(2 )& (3))
Do I have to make a motion for a change of venue and try my case in Business and Consumer Court?
No. The Business and Consumer Court is a specialized statewide docket. A Standing Order issued by the Trial Court Chiefs authorizes the (BCD) judges to transfer any Superior Court civil action on the Business and Consumer Docket (BCD) to any county in the State of Maine for trial or for any other proceedings or matters; and any District Court civil or family action on the Business and Consumer Docket (BCD) to any division in the State of Maine for trial or for any other proceedings or matters for the convenience of parties or witnesses or in the interests of justice. (See Standing Order Regarding Transfers Of Venue (effective June 1, 2007)
It is the policy of the Business and Consumer Court to hold the
trial of each case in the court in which it is filed unless the
court approves another location based upon the agreement of the
parties, or the court determines that unusual circumstances,
including scheduling requirements, warrant conducting the trial
at another location. (M.R. Civ. P. 137(b))
Is there a jurisdictional limit or threshold dollar amount for the transfer of cases to the Business and Consumer Court?
No. There is no requirement that the damages in a case reach
a certain value or amount.
Do I have to waive my client’s right to a jury trial in order to be transferred to the Business and Consumer Court?
No. There is no requirement to waive a jury trial.
What is the Business and Consumer Court ’s policy on jury selection?
The Business and Consumer Court follows the standard Superior
Court rules and practices in jury selection.
What is the Business and Consumer Court ’s policy on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
The Court strongly endorses ADR. Cases are generally sent to
ADR at a time that the Court believes the parties have sufficient
information about the case to make settlement discussions meaningful.
ADR may include mediation, arbitration or Judicially Assisted
Settlement Conferences. (M.R. Civ. P. 132(b))
How do I manage my busy practice and still get to case management conferences and pretrial hearings?
Parties will be expected to attend some conferences in person. However, the Business and Consumer Court has access to video-conferencing equipment and is willing to hold video or telephonic conferences where scheduling and cost dictate. (See M.R. Civ. P. 132(a)(2); see also M.R. Civ. P. 136(b))
Can I receive notices electronically?
Does it take longer to get a case tried in the Business and Consumer Court?
No. It should not take longer to get a case tried in the Business
and Consumer Court. Individualized case management by one judge
should speed the process rather than delay it.
How do I learn more about Business and Consumer Court/BCD procedure?
Consult Chapter XIV of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure and the BCD website.
Are Maine Business and Consumer Court (BCD) Decisions available online?
Yes. Maine Business and Consumer Court (BCD) decisions are available
on the Judicial Branch website at this link www.courts.state.me.us/opinions_orders/bcd/index.shtml.
How do I get answers to questions not explained in the procedural rules?
Contact the Business and Consumer Court Clerk’s Office Phone: 207-822-3220; Fax: 207-822-3223; Email: Business.Court@courts.maine.gov
The Business and Consumer Court clerks are able to answer procedural questions, but they cannot provide legal advice.