A recently elected Kent County judge has been appointed as one of two judges to oversee business cases in the area.
The Michigan Supreme Court said last week it appointed Judge J. Joseph Rossi to the business court in the 17th Circuit Court in Kent County, replacing Judge George Jay Quist, who was serving in that capacity on an interim basis.
Rossi was elected to the 17th Circuit Court in November to replace Judge George Buth, who retired.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget M. McCormack said business courts “are specialized dockets within circuit courts that resolve cases more efficiently and consistently.”
“Business court judges have specialized knowledge and experience in business to help them write timely opinions that accurately reflect statutes and case law,” McCormack said.
Growing business court
Rossi joins Judge Christopher Yates to help handle the growing business court docket in Kent County.
The court hears complicated business law cases, including business claims on partnerships and terminations, anti-trust franchising and trade regulation claims and corporate receiverships.
Rossi said he’s “excited” to work with Yates on the docket.
“People have asked why do we need a second judge, and the truth of it is, the business docket has been so popular that we have needed another person to handle the volume of the cases,” Rossi said.
“The addition of another judge to the court will provide some additional abilities, particularly with regard to judicial settlement conferences.
“One judge cannot usually preside over a settlement posture of the parties, because you’ll learn so much about the case that it would influence your decision from the bench.”
Rossi has spent the majority of the past 20 years as a civil litigator involved with complex business cases.
He began his legal career in 1995 at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, handling employment, insurance and construction litigation matters and becoming a shareholder in 2001.
In 2002, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids, representing the U.S. in tort, employment, fraud and civil rights claims.
In 2010, Rossi returned to private practice at Drew Cooper & Anding.
Rossi is a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran and served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon in counter terrorism and special operations.
He is a volunteer at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, a member of the Parish Finance Council at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, a board member at Degagé Ministries and vice president of the East Grand Rapids Wrestling Club.
He holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in English.