Commercial court cases increase; dockets now accessible online

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Five of six judges of Indiana’s new commercial courts spoke to about 100 lawyers and corporate counsel Tuesday, urging them to make use of the venues that emphasize collaboration and prompt resolutions.

The chronological case summaries for these cases are now accessible by selecting the “commercial” option on the state’s MyCase trial court search page. As of Wednesday, 34 commercial court cases have been filed, but only in three of the six venues. Of cases filed to date, 27 are in Marion County, five in Allen County and two in Elkhart County. Judges overseeing the specialized dockets in Floyd, Lake and Vanderburgh have yet to receive filings in the courts that opened for business in June.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush welcomed five commercial court judges who presided from the Supreme Court bench over a CLE program that’s also available to stream online here. Rush said businesses like to locate in states with a healthy litigation environment, and she said commercial courts fit that need.

The presentation included remarks from Allen Superior Civil Division Judge Craig Bobay, Elkhart Superior 2 Judge Stephen Bowers, Floyd Superior 3 Judge Maria Granger, Lake Superior Judge John Sedia and Marion Superior Civil Division 1 Judge Heather Welch.

Judges said lawyers who may have cases eligible for the docket should familiarize themselves with the interim rules that are included in a handbook on the courts.  Judges said the court favors a cooperative and collaborative approach from lawyers who will be expected to resolve many discovery and pre-trial disputes and develop case management plans.

Welch stressed the voluntary nature of the courts during the three-year pilot project, during which litigants may opt out of the dockets. But she said past Supreme Court practice has made voluntary pilots mandatory after the pilot period ends. Welch said in the meantime, lawyers who file commercial court cases can expedite their cases by filing consent notices. “We can go ahead and get the case moving,” she said.

“The attorneys and the court must work together,” Bowers said of the commercial court ethos. “Our goal is to work together to resolve the dispute.”

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