February 14, 2019

2019 Business Court Representatives

Hon. Christopher P. Yates

Each year, the Judges Initiative Committee invites commercial-court judges to spend two-year terms as Business Court Representatives to the Business Law Section.  In 2019, we welcome Judge Lita Popke from Wayne County, Michigan, and Justice Saliann Scarpulla from New York County, New York, as the latest class of Business Court Representatives.  In their new roles, Judge Popke and Justice Scarpulla will attend the ABA Business Law Section meetings in 2019 and 2020.  There, they will speak on panels, mingle with conference attendees, and become essential parts of the Business Law Section.  As co-chair of the Judges Initiative Committee, I encourage you to introduce yourself to these two esteemed jurists.  I have no doubt that you will find them engaging and informative.  We are truly fortunate to have them as new members of our section.  To more fully introduce themselves to you, they have provided us with biographical statements and photographs.  Please join me in welcoming them!


Judge Lita Masini Popke has been a judge on the Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan, since 2000.  She has a combined docket of general civil and business court cases.  Her prior service on the court includes terms as Chief Judge Pro Tem, Executive Committee member, Presiding Judge of the Family Division, and Mediation Tribunal Association board member.

Judge Popke has also held positions outside the Court, including membership in the American College of Business Court Judges, President of the Michigan Judges Association, member of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Michigan, member of the Child Support Leadership Council by appointment of the Michigan Supreme Court, member of the Michigan Judicial Institute’s Academic Advisory Committee, member of the Michigan State Court Administrative Office’s Post-Judgment Docket Committee, faculty member at the Michigan New Judges Seminar, and member of the State Bar of Michigan Subcommittee on Civil Discovery Scope.  Judge Popke has also been an active participant in an Inn of Court and the Dads From Day One Advisory Board.

Before joining the bench, Judge Popke was an appointed member of the State Board of Ethics, a Wayne and Oakland County mediator, and active in a wide variety of community organizations.  She currently serves on the Schoolcraft College Development Board Authority.  As an attorney, she practiced commercial litigation and fidelity and surety law.  Judge Popke is a graduate of St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and the University of Detroit School of Law.

JUSTICE Saliann Scarpulla

Justice Saliann Scarpulla is a graduate of Boston University and Brooklyn Law School, cum laude.

After law school, Justice Scarpulla became Principal Court Attorney to the Hon. Alvin F. Klein. After her clerkship concluded in 1987, Justice Scarpulla joined Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn as a litigation associate.

In 1993, Justice Scarpulla moved to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, representing the FIDC as receiver for failed banks as Senior Counsel in the New York Legal Services Office. In 1997, Justice Scarpulla became Senior Vice President and Bank Counsel to Hudson United Bank, where she was responsible for all litigation involving the bank and oversaw the banks’ compliance with state and federal banking regulations.

Justice Scarpulla returned to the New York State court system in 1999, as Principal Court Attorney to the Hon. Eileen Bransten. She was elected to the Civil Court in 2001 and was appointed an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court in 2009. 

Justice Scarpulla was elected to the Supreme Court in 2012 and was assigned to an IAS part with an emphasis on complex asbestos litigation. In February 2014, Justice Scarpulla was assigned to the Supreme Court, New York County Commercial Division.

In 2017 Justice Scarpulla was honored as one of Three Wise Women by the National Association of Italian American Women and was awarded the Louis J. Capozzoli Gavel Award by the New York County Lawyers Association.  She is a contributing author to the Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts treatise and has authored several articles on commercial litigation published in the New York Law Journal. Justice Scarpulla is a frequent lecturer for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York County Lawyers Association, the Practicing Law Institute, and the New York State Judicial Institute.

Justice Scarpulla is active in several New York City and statewide bar associations. She is also a Board member and next president of Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA).

Hon. Christopher P. Yates

Co-Chair, Judges Initiative Committee