Georgia’s new statewide business court will be fully staffed when it opens its doors next week.
The state House and Senate Judiciary committees Tuesday unanimously confirmed Gov. Brian Kemp’s nomination of Cobb County State Court Clerk Angie Davis as clerk of the new court.
“The thought of helping write the playbook in this new court is exciting,” Davis said shortly before the vote. “I’m up for the task. I have the experience and skill set to take on the role.”
The General Assembly passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 after an advisory council headed by Attorney General Chris Carr recommended a statewide business court as a way to expedite the handling of cases requiring expertise in business law. Georgia voters ratified the amendment that November.
About a year ago, Kemp nominated Walter Davis, a partner in the Atlanta office of Jones Day, to become the business court’s sole judge.
Both Walter Davis and former state Attorney General Sam Olens, who worked with Angie Davis back when he was chairman of the Cobb County Commission, gave her strong endorsements during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing.
“[She] excels at everything she does,” Olens said. “She is a mentor to her office and a leader in her office.”
Angie Davis said the experience she gained bringing technology to the Cobb County State Court will help her launch the new business court from the ground up. She began an e-filing system for civil cases in Cobb in 2016 and followed with e-filing of criminal cases earlier this year, she said.
Walter Davis said technology will be key to the success of the Atlanta-based one-judge business court, particularly with the coronavirus pandemic limiting face-to-face interactions.
“We were built for video-conferencing and audio-conferencing, engaging the public in a different way,” he said. “We were built for this challenging time.”
The first job for the new court will be promoting itself to other courts throughout the state.
Walter Davis said his goal for the number of cases the business court receives is somewhere between the 20 to 30 cases per year the business court in Fulton County handles and the 200 to 250 cases the highly successful North Carolina business court takes on each year, although that caseload is divided among seven judges.
“There is a backlog in the court system now,” he said. “We’ve got an open highway. My hope is people will show faith and use the business court.”