Coinciding with the halfway point for the three-year Commercial Courts Pilot Project that faces a pending constitutional challenge, the Indiana Supreme Court has released a report on the six participating courts.
A total of 215 cases have been filed in the first 18 months of the program, with 85 now classified as closed and 130 as open. Most of these cases were for breach of contract. Of those, more than half — 128 — were filed the Marion Superior Commercial Court. There were 44 cases filed in the Allen County docket, 24 in Lake County, and 10 or fewer each in commercial courts in Vanderburgh, Elkhart and Floyd counties.
Two appellate opinions have been issued in Commercial Court cases — and a challenge in one of those cases remains on whether the courts were properly established.
In Craig Vickery v. Ardagh Glass, Inc., 49A02-1702-PL-330, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a noncompete agreement enforced against a worker and rejected a challenge to the constitutionality and jurisdiction of the commercial court.
Vickery has petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to grant transfer, arguing among other things that the commercial courts were established by Supreme Court order in violation of Article 7 of the Indiana Constitution’s requirement that the legislature create new courts. The court has not yet decided whether it will grant transfer.
And in Nirmal Joshi, M.D. v. Apollo Medical Group, LLC; Nirmal Joshi, M.D. v. Ayman Elfar, M.D. and Candido Guiao, M.D. (mem. dec.), 82A01-1612-CT-2842, the commercial court’s preliminary injunction was upheld.
The pilot began June 1, 2016. The six trial court judges piloting the commercial courts dockets are:
• Judge Craig Bobay, Allen Superior Court
• Judge Stephen Bowers, Elkhart Superior Court
• Judge Richard D’Amour, Vanderburgh Superior Court
• Judge Maria Granger, Floyd Superior Court
• Judge John Sedia, Lake Superior Court
• Judge Heather Welch, Marion Superior Court