New York court officials have approved an amendment to Section 202.70(a) of the Commercial Division Rules, which will increase in the minimum monetary threshold of $150,000 to $500,000 for the commencement of lawsuits to be adjudicated in Manhattan’s Commercial Division.  The Commercial Division handles complicated commercial cases as part of the Supreme Court of New York State.  The new rule is effective February 17, 2014.

The increase arises from one of the proposals set forth in Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s June 2012 Task Force Report on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century.  Supreme Court Justice O. Peter Sherwood, who co-chaired the group that led the study on this issue stated that a “disproportionately large number of cases” in the Commercial Division ultimately involve smaller amounts and “cases have become more complex, causing the number of motions filed between 2008 and 2012 to nearly double.”  The increase, which is the first since 2009, is expected to reduce the Commercial Division docket size in Manhattan by roughly 20 percent.