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Report No. 188

1. Cases subject to Business and Technology Case Management Program

The Task Force believes that any system for determining whether a case should be assigned to the Program must be flexible. It is recommended that the selection system be based upon a format that establishes that some cases be presumptively included, while others are presumptively excluded. As the legal and business worlds develop in the face of ever emerging technology, however, it is contemplated, and indeed expected, that such presumptions will be modified by judicial decision and/or rule. If both parties agree to opt out of the Program, this should be permitted. In resolving presumptions, consideration should be given to the desire of both parties.

Assignment to the Program should be reserved for cases where there is a substantial amount in controversy. This will typically include significant monetary damages, but may also include consideration of potential future economic loss in cases where non-monetary relief is the primary relief being sought (i.e., injunctive or declaratory relief). The Program should be limited primarily to cases involving business entities, including individual sole proprietorships or individual partners where the claim is against the partnership. Individuals, however, should be permitted to take advantage of the benefits of the Program if involved in a dispute appropriate for Program designation.

Cases should present commercial and/or technology issues of such a complex nature that specialized treatment is likely to improve the expectation of a fair and reasonable resolution of the controversy because of the need for specialized knowledge or expertise in the subject matter or familiarity with some specific law or legal principles which may be applicable. Thus, the Task Force recommends that notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any Differentiated Case Management program, cases shall be assigned to the Business and Technology Case Management Program based on the following criteria:

a. Only complaints seeking compensatory damages totaling $50,000.00 or more, or complaints seeking primarily injunctive or other equitable relief, will be considered eligible for assignment to the Program if the other criteria identified below are met.

b. Actions in which the principal claims involve the following should presumptively be assigned to the Program.

(i) Disputes arising out of technology development, maintenance and consulting agreements including software, network and Internet web site development and maintenance agreements.

(ii) Disputes arising out of the hosting of Internet web sites for business entities.

(iii) Disputes arising out of technology licensing agreements, including software and biotechnology licensing agreements or any agreement involving the licensing of any intellectual property rights, including patent rights.

(iv) Actions relating to the internal affairs of businesses (i.e., corporations, general partnerships, limited liability partnerships, sole proprietorships, professional associations, real estate investment trusts, and joint ventures), including the rights or obligations between or among shareholders, partners and members or the liability or indemnity of officers, directors, managers, trustees, or partners.

(v) Actions claiming breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation or statutory violations arising out of business dealings.

(vi) Shareholder derivative and commercial class actions.

(vii) Actions arising out of commercial bank transactions.

(viii) Declaratory judgment and indemnification claims brought by or against insurers where the subject insurance policy is a business or commercial policy and where the underlying dispute would otherwise be assigned to the Program.

(ix) Actions relating to trade secret, non-corporate, nonsolicitation, and confidentiality agreements.

(x) Business tort actions, including claims for unfair competition or violations of Maryland's Trade Secret or Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Acts.

(xi) Commercial real property disputes other than landlord/tenant disputes.

(xii) Disputes involving Maryland's Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, including alleged breaches of the warranty provisions provided in such Act.

(xiii) Professional malpractice claims in connection with the rendering of professional services to a business entity.

(xiv) Claims arising out of violations of Maryland's Anti-Trust Act.

(xv) Claims arising out of violations of Maryland's Securities Act.

c. Actions in which the principal claims involve the following shall be presumptively not assigned to the Business and Technology Case Management Program.

(i) Personal injury, survival or wrongful death matters.

(ii) Medical malpractice matters.

(iii) Landlord/Tenant matters.

(iv) Professional fee disputes.

(v) Professional malpractice claims, other than those brought in connection with the rendering of professional services to a business enterprise.

(vi) Employee/employer disputes, other than those relating to matters otherwise assigned to the Program.

(vii) Administrative agency, tax, zoning and other appeals.

(viii) Criminal matters, including computer-related crimes.

(ix) Proceedings to enforce judgments of any type.

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