HARRISBURG - A Pennsylvania lawmaker is hoping a newer, streamlined approach to handling corporate litigation will improve the state’s overall business climate.
State Rep. Seth Grove, a Republican serving York County’s 196th District, told the Pennsylvania Record he started considering legislation last year that would create a high-level commerce court to make the state more business-friendly.
“My interest in it was people asking questions about why companies were looking to Delaware over Pennsylvania (to locate), and what we could do to make things more competitive for the companies that are here,” Grove said.
One thing he found is that Delaware’s business court had been around for some time, and that it provided an option for businesses entangled in litigation to more quickly get their cases through the court process.
He said the Philadelphia court system has a similar court dedicated to business issues, called the Commerce Case Management Program.
“We thought there was some merit in trying to build that in our current court structure,” he said.
That idea led to House Bill 401, which currently is in committee and expected to be introduced to the full House later this year.
The bill would allow the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to create a commerce court that would hear cases on corporate acquisitions, mergers, dissolutions, liquidations or other matters concerning corporations, limited liability companies, trusts, sole proprietorships and corporate partnerships.
Grove said the idea wouldn’t require additional judges but would create a single court that would exclusively consider business-related cases.
“It’s a common-sense approach that the business community has talked about,” he said, “and I think there will be support (among lawmakers).”
Grove’s bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Marsico, of the 105th District, was warmly received by House members last year, when it was passed with a bipartisan vote. But the bill never made it to the Senate for full consideration.
Grove said the fact it didn’t move to the Senate was more for procedural reasons than any particular negative issues related to the bill, and he thinks it will pass easily in this session.
“Last year, I didn’t hear anything negative about it at all,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get this quickly moving through the House and make it a reality.”