Cotterill: Commercial courts will enhance economic development

June 29, 2016

By Chris Cotterill

cotterill-chris-mug Cotterill

At the Indiana Economic Development Corp., we are proud to aggressively promote Indiana as “A State that Works.” We point to our talented Hoosier workforce, the state’s balanced budgets, low taxes and limited regulations, and we celebrate the recent record investments made in education, infrastructure and regional economic development.

Now, we are adding Indiana’s judiciary to the long list of what makes Indiana so favorable a place to do business.

As readers of this publication know, Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush recently issued an order establishing the commercial court pilot project to enable business and commercial disputes to be resolved more efficiently. The three-year pilot has started in six different courts in our major population centers, and it has tremendous potential.

It would be easy to overlook this as a mundane reform in some part of government that many of us never experience. Indeed, over the past decade, we have all grown quite accustomed to news of the continuous improvement of our state government. In economic development, we do not take these reforms for granted. Illinois is a constant reminder of what happens when efficiency and growth are not pursued.

To the great credit of the leaders of our judiciary, this is not just a reform to more effectively administer court resources. Chief Justice Rush’s order creating the commercial courts provides that the purpose of these new courts is to “enhance economic development in Indiana by furthering the efficient, predictable resolution of business and commercial law disputes.” And, our judiciary collaborated with many, including members of the business community, to develop this proposal.

This latest leap forward builds on an already stalwart reputation earned by our court system. Indiana’s courts are recognized for consistent application of the law on the books, prompt resolution of disputes and continuous improvement. Our judiciary has been steadily moving forward with many other reforms, including electronic case management, e-filing and sharing data with researchers and state agencies to help improve the well-being of Hoosiers.

All of this matters to businesses that choose to invest in Indiana. Businesses want consistency so that they can plan for growth, and, here in Indiana, they can rely on an efficient and fair court system. It is a truly powerful combination to have Gov. Mike Pence, the Indiana General Assembly and the judiciary all focused on enhancing economic development.

These reforms all lead to job creation. They are part of the reason why more than 150,000 jobs have been created in Indiana since January 2013. They are part of the reason why we have shattered the previous record of the most Hoosiers ever employed. Just last year, the IEDC secured commitments from the private sector to create 26,555 new jobs and $4.79 billion in new investment across our state.

We must remain vigilant in the constant pursuit of improvement across state government. That is what our judiciary is doing, and their efforts are yet another reason why companies choose Indiana and create jobs for Hoosiers.•

Chris Cotterill is executive vice president and general counsel of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The opinions expressed are those of the author.