Six commercial courts handling specialized dockets of business cases were announced Wednesday in an order of the Indiana Supreme Court. The pilot project establishes these courts for business disputes in which parties agree to have their cases resolved:
- Allen Superior Civil Division Judge Craig Bobay;
- Elkhart Superior 2 Judge Stephen Bowers;
- Vanderburgh Superior Judge Richard D’Amour;
- Floyd Superior 3 Judge Maria Granger;
- Lake Superior Judge John Sedia; and
- Marion Superior Civil Division 1 Judge Heather Welch.
Several of these judges have been working on developing commercial courts for a couple of years. The order says the courts will operate under guidelines adopted by the Commercial Court Working Group on case eligibility, assignment, transfer, caseload, and other matters.
The order notes the term of the pilot project shall not exceed three years and will begin June 1.
“The purpose of commercial courts is to (1) establish judicial structures that will help all court users by improving court efficiency; (2) allow business and commercial disputes to be resolved with expertise, technology, and efficiency; (3) enhance the accuracy, consistency, and predictability of decisions in business and commercial cases; (4) enhance economic development in Indiana by furthering the efficient, predictable resolution of business and commercial law disputes; and (5) 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 order says.
Indiana joins more than 20 states with specialized commercial court dockets since the first such venues appeared in the 1993, according to the court.