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In re Indiana Commercial Court Working Group

Supreme Court of Indiana

June 2, 2015




Commercial courts in the United States began in 1993 and now exist in 22 States, including Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Delaware. A commercial court has a specialized court docket and procedure aimed to achieve fast, consistent, and reliable resolution of commercial disputes. States with commercial courts have found that faster case resolutions, accompanied by express legal reasoning, provide confidence and predictability to guide how entities do business.

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.

Accordingly, after a study of commercial and business courts throughout the country, this Court determined that Indiana should encourage practices that improve the management of cases involving Indiana businesses and should establish a working group to recommend policies and procedures for commercial courts in Indiana.

Accordingly, there is hereby CREATED the Indiana Commercial Court Working Group ("Commercial Court Working Group"), which shall consist of the following individuals:

1. Judge Craig Bobay, Allen Superior Court – Civil Division, who shall serve as chair
2. Judge Stephen Bowers, Elkhart Superior Court 2
3. Kevin Brinegar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Indiana Chamber of Commerce (Indianapolis, Marion County)
4. Senator John Broden (South Bend, St. Joseph County)
5. James P. Casey, Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders (Evansville, Vanderburgh County)
6. Michael Christofeno, Cosentino & Christofeno (Elkhart, Elkhart County)
7. Sean Clapp, Clapp Ferrucci (Fishers, Hamilton County)
8. Laura Conway, Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel (Indianapolis, Marion County)
9. Judge Richard D'Amour, Vanderburgh Superior Court
10.Justice Steven David, Indiana Supreme Court
11.Irwin Levin, Cohen & Malad (Indianapolis, Marion County)
12.Karen Moses, Faegre Baker Daniels (Fort Wayne, Allen County)
13. Shane Mulholland, Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom (Fort Wayne, Allen County)
14. Robert C. Reiling, Jr., Reiling Teder & Schrier (Lafayette, Tippecanoe County)
15. Professor Frank Sullivan, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (Indianapolis, Marion County)
16. John Trimble, Lewis Wagner (Indianapolis, Marion County)
17. Representative Tom Washbume (Evansville, Vanderburgh County)
18. Judge Heather Welch, Marion Superior Court, Civil Division 1
19. Michael Wukmer, Ice Miller (Indianapolis, Marion County)

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT the Commercial Court Working Group shall recommend guidelines for establishing and administering commercial courts and report its activities to the Supreme Court. In furtherance of this order, the Commercial Court Working Group shall complete the following tasks:

1. Conduct a series of Indiana Commercial Court Working Group meetings to recommend commercial court guidelines, including case eligibility criteria and case management procedures.
2. Collaborate with the Judicial Conference of Indiana Judicial Education Committee to recommend commercial court education programs.
3. Collaborate with the Division of State Court Administration to recommend procedures for posting commercial court opinions, adopting commercial court weighted caseload values, and developing guidelines for appointing state paid masters.
4. Consult with the Indiana State Bar Association Litigation Section and other bar associations and business litigation groups regarding best practices in commercial courts.
5. Educate the community and local chambers of commerce on the commercial court model and its benefits.
6. Explore potential funding sources for commercial courts.
7. By October 1, 2015, submit an initial report to the Supreme Court on its activities and a recommendation to establish commercial court pilot projects, if appropriate.

The Indiana Judicial Center shall provide staff support to the Commercial Court Working Group.

This Order is effective immediately. DONE at Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 2, 2015.

All Justices concur.

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