Business & Consumer Docket (BCD)

Important update: eFiling is now available for the statewide Business & Consumer Docket. eFiling is mandatory for attorneys and optional for most other filers. Learn more

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The Business and Consumer Docket, also known as the BCD, is a statewide docket that handles selected business and/or consumer cases. The goals are to:

  • Provide predictable judicial action in selected cases involving business and/or consumer disputes;
  • Avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the court and the parties in such cases;
  • Keep litigation costs reasonable; and
  • Promote an effective and efficient process for resolving such disputes.

Types of cases considered for transfer

  • Jury and nonjury civil actions, including but not limited to appeals under Rules 80B and 80C, business dissolutions, class actions, and family matters cases that require distribution of business assets that do not involve children.
  • New filings and cases currently pending in the Superior and District Courts.
  • Actions in which
    • The principal claim(s) 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 and/or governmental entity; and
    • Specialized or differentiated judicial management is required. (M.R. Civ. P. 130(a)(3))

Applying for transfer

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)) See Application for Transfer to Business and Consumer Docket (BCD-001).

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))

Is the case right for the BCD?

Deciding whether a case may be right for transfer to the BCD is a case-specific decision. The BCD may consider the following factors in deciding whether a case should be accepted for transfer:

  • The number of separately-represented parties;
  • The number and nature of pretrial motions filed or expected to be filed; 
  • Any novel and/or complex legal issues; 
  • The number of witnesses; 
  • The nature and amount of documentary evidence;
  • 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;
  • The need for on-going judicial supervision; and 
  • Any other factor(s) which warrant placement to the BCD.

In addition to considering the applicability of the above, an attorney or party may find it useful to speak with other attorneys who have tried cases in the BCD. 

Objecting to a transfer to the BCD

Any party objecting to the transfer must file a written objection, no more than two 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(a))

Decisions about transfer are final and not subject to review or appeal. (M.R. Civ. P. 131(c)(1))

After a case is transferred to the BCD

If approved, the BCD issues a transfer order and the file is transmitted to the BCD 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))

Communicating with the BCD after transfer

After the case has been transferred to the BCD, eFiling will be available via eFileMaine. If all parties have attorneys, eFiling will be mandatory.

  • Informal communications regarding scheduling.
  • Submission of the BCD Self-Represented Party Information sheet (unless the self-represented party is required or has consented to eFile) . 
  • Draft orders on motions that have the consent of all parties and do not affect the trial date. With respect to consented-to motions, the parties should attach a draft electronic order outlining their agreement for the court's signature and subsequent filing .
All notices from the BCD to counsel or unrepresented parties will be sent exclusively by email, unless notice by hard copy is required by the Rules of Procedure. (M.R. Civ.P.140(b)).

Emails regarding BCD cases should be sent to Business.Court@courts.maine.gov and should include only the case title and docket number in the subject heading. (Example: John Doe v. Jane Smith, BCD-CV-2020-00). Communication by email will be sent to trial counsel at the address listed in the Maine Bar Directory. The clerk will include counsel’s office staff, or another alternate address, on the email service list upon request.

All communications with the BCD must be simultaneously copied to all other parties in the case.

Hard copy filing required

  • All other pleadings, motions, letters, oppositions, replies, memoranda, and associated supported documents.
  • Joint Final Trial Statement pursuant to M.R. Civ. P 135.

When electronic filing is authorized pursuant to M.R.Civ.P.139(b): 

  • The electronic filing of a pleading or document on or before 11:00 PM of the filing deadline shall be deemed timely and sufficient, but only if the signed paper original of the pleading or document is also placed in the regular mail to the BCD on the same day that the electronic filing is made; and
  • Electronic service of a pleading or document upon counsel for any party in this case and upon any unrepresented party who receives electronic notice from the court pursuant to M.R. Civ.P. 140(c) is deemed sufficient, except that:
    • Electronic service is not allowed if the pleading or document is one for which personal service is required by M.R. Civ.P. 5; and
    • Electronic service does not include service of process or summons by any party to gain jurisdiction over persons or property. 

See M.R.Civ.P. 132, 134, 135, and 136.

Discovery in BCD cases

Generally, the following discovery limits apply in cases transferred to the BCD unless otherwise authorized by the court:

  • 30 interrogatories, including all subparts;
  • 30 requests, including all subparts, for production of documents;
  • 20 requests, including all subparts, for admissions; and
  • 5 notices of deposition or subpoenas for deposition for persons other than experts.

 See M.R.Civ.P. 133(a).

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

As in other civil cases, the BCD 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))

Trial location

Generally, jury and non-jury trials will take place in the court in which it was originally filed unless the Court approves another location based upon the agreement of the parties. Non-jury trials can be held in any location if there is a determination by the BCD that unusual circumstances, including scheduling requirements, warrant conducting the trial at another location. (M.R. Civ. P. 137(b)).

eFiling Help & Resources

See the eFileMaine page for recorded trainings, user guides, and links to support and technical help.

Contact

Business and Consumer Court Clerk’s Office
Danielle Young, Clerk
Cumberland County Courthouse
205 Newbury Street, Ground Floor
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: 207-822-3220
Email: Business.Court@courts.maine.gov
TTY: Maine Relay 711