Legal Alert Indiana Commercial Court Pilot Project

The Change

Effective June 1, 2016, Indiana will implement the Indiana Commercial Court Pilot Project for a period up to three years. This change will create commercial courts in the following venues:

Allen Superior Court – Civil Division, Judge Bobay
Elkhart Superior Court 2, Judge Bowers
Vanderburgh Superior Court, Judge D’Amour
Floyd Superior Court 3, Judge Granger
Lake Superior Court, Judge Sedia
Marion Superior Court – Civil Division 1, Judge Welch

The History and Purpose of Commercial Courts

Commercial courts in the United States began in 1993 and exist in 22 other states, including Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Delaware. Indiana established the Commercial Court Working Group in June of 2015 to recommend guidelines for the creation and operation of commercial courts in Indiana.
The purpose of commercial courts is to:

  • improve court efficiency;
  • allow business and commercial disputes to be resolved with expertise, technology, and efficiency;
  • enhance the accuracy, consistency, and predictability of decisions in business and commercial cases;
  • enhance economic development in Indiana by furthering the efficient, predictable resolution of business and commercial law disputes; and
  • employ and encourage electronic information technologies, such as e-filing, e-discovery, telephone/video conferencing, and also employ early alternative dispute resolution interventions, as consistent with Indiana law.

The Legislation

The Indiana Commercial Court Working Group is currently working to develop guidelines including guidelines regarding case eligibility, assignment, and transfer. Guidelines have not been published at this time.
Once the six listed courts begin hearing cases in June of 2016, businesses with commercial disputes in these venues that fall within the guidelines will file their claims with the commercial court.
If over the three year term the commercial courts prove to be a valuable and effective component of the Indiana judiciary, the commercial courts could achieve a permanent and/or statewide status, which would allow all commercial claims in Indiana to be heard by these specialized courts.

Where to find more information

A copy of the Order from the Indiana Supreme Court establishing this pilot project can be accessed at: //www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-other-2016-94S00-1601-MS-31.pdf
The June 2015 Order creating the Commercial Court Working Group can be accessed at: //www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-other-2015-94S00-1506-MS-337.pdf.


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