7A-45.4.  Designation of mandatory complex business cases.

(a)        A mandatory complex business case is an action that involves a material issue related to:

(1)        The law governing corporations, except charitable and religious organizations qualified under G.S. 55A-1-40(4) on the grounds of religious purpose, partnerships, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships, including issues concerning governance, involuntary dissolution of a corporation, mergers and acquisitions, breach of duty of directors, election or removal of directors, enforcement or interpretation of shareholder agreements, and derivative actions.

(2)        Securities law, including proxy disputes and tender offer disputes.

(3)        Antitrust law, except claims based solely on unfair competition under G.S. 75-1.1.

(4)        State trademark or unfair competition law, except claims based solely on unfair competition under G.S. 75-1.1.

(5)        Intellectual property law, including software licensing disputes.

(6)        The Internet, electronic commerce, and biotechnology.

(7)        Tax law, when the dispute has been the subject of a contested tax case for which judicial review is requested under G.S. 105-241.16 or the dispute is a civil action under G.S. 105-241.17.

(b)        Any party may designate a civil action or a petition for judicial review under G.S. 105-241.16 as a mandatory complex business case by filing a Notice of Designation in the Superior Court in which the action has been filed and simultaneously serving the notice on each opposing party or counsel and on the Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases who is then the senior Business Court Judge. A copy of the notice shall also be sent contemporaneously by e-mail or facsimile transmission to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for approval of the designation of the action as a mandatory complex business case and assignment to a specific Business Court Judge.

(c)        The Notice of Designation shall, in good faith and based on information reasonably available, succinctly state the basis of the designation and include a certificate by or on behalf of the designating party that the civil action meets the criteria for designation as a mandatory complex business case pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(d)       The Notice of Designation shall be filed:

(1)        By the plaintiff, the third-party plaintiff, or the petitioner for judicial review contemporaneously with the filing of the complaint, third-party complaint, or the petition for judicial review in the action.

(2)        By any intervenor when the intervenor files a motion for permission to intervene in the action.

(3)        By any defendant or any other party within 30 days of receipt of service of the pleading seeking relief from the defendant or party.

(e)        Within 30 days after service of the Notice of Designation, any other party may, in good faith, file and serve an opposition to the designation of the action as a mandatory business case. Based on the opposition or ex mero motu, the Business Court Judge may determine that the action should not be designated as a mandatory complex business case. If a party disagrees with the decision, the party may appeal to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

(f)        Once a designation is filed under subsection (d) of this section, and after preliminary approval by the Chief Justice, a case shall be designated and administered a complex business case. All proceedings in the action shall be before the Business Court Judge to whom it has been assigned unless and until an order has been entered under subsection (e) of this section ordering that the case not be designated a mandatory complex business case or the Chief Justice revokes approval. If complex business case status is revoked or denied, the action shall be treated as any other civil action, unless it is designated as an exceptional civil case or a discretionary complex business case pursuant to Rule 2.1 of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts. (2005-425, s. 2; 2007-491, s. 4.)