The Indiana Supreme Court is authorizing six judges to preside over pilot project commercial courts, which will begin hearing cases June 1, 2016. These specialized trial courts will benefit all court users by resolving complex business cases more efficiently, which will afford more court resources for other case types. The commercial courts also benefit businesses by promoting earlier and more frequent settlement of cases and predictable resolution of business disputes, which helps businesses make operational decisions.
A Supreme Court order announces details of the pilot project and the following commercial courts:
- Judge Craig Bobay, Allen Superior Court – Civil Division
- Judge Stephen Bowers, Elkhart Superior Court 2
- Judge Richard D’Amour, Vanderburgh Superior Court
- Judge Maria Granger, Floyd Superior Court 3
- Judge John Sedia, Lake Superior Court
- Judge Heather Welch, Marion Superior Court, Civil Division 1
In June 2015 the Court unanimously approved a working group to recommend policies and procedures for commercial courts. In the 2016 State of the Judiciary, Chief Justice Loretta Rush announced significant progress on the project. She thanked the working group including “lawyers, legislators, academics, businesses, and judges who made the vision a reality for our state.” The working group will continue to provide guidance during the first three years of the pilot project.
Commercial courts will hear cases where the parties have agreed to have their dispute resolved through the specialized docket. Commercial courts in the United States began in 1993 and now exist in more than 20 states.