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Plan to establish commercial courts in Indiana moves forward

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The move to create commercial courts in Indiana, first mentioned by Chief Justice Loretta Rush during her State of the Judiciary address in January, is a step closer to becoming a reality. The Indiana Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it has named a working group to recommend policies and procedures for the courts, which could be hearing cases as early as 2016.

“Because legal consistency is a significant factor in businesses’ decisions to locate to a state, establishing commercial courts in Indiana will keep our business environment competitive. In addition to improving Indiana’s business climate, the more efficient handling of complex, time-consuming commercial cases allows more judicial time for all other types of cases,” according to an order signed by Rush Tuesday.

Commercial courts have a specialized docket designed to reduce litigation costs and promote earlier and more frequent settlement of cases. These courts exist in 22 states, including Michigan and Ohio.

The 19-member task force is made up of judges, attorneys and legislators. Allen Superior Judge Craig Bobay has been named chair of the working group, which includes Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar, Irwin Levin of Cohen & Malad, State Sen. John Broden, and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor and former justice Frank Sullivan.

The group is tasked with holding meetings; collaborating with various organizations, including bar associations and business litigation groups; and exploring potential funding sources for the courts. It has until Oct. 1 to submit its initial report and a recommendation to establish a commercial court pilot project, if appropriate.

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