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In re Indiana Commercial Courts

Supreme Court of Indiana

May 16, 2019

In Re Indiana Commercial Courts

          ORDER

          Loretta H. Rush Chief Justice

         On January 20, 2016, the Indiana Supreme Court established a 3-year Commercial Courts Pilot Project ("Pilot Project") to start June 1, 2016 and end June 1, 2019. The purpose of the Pilot Project was to:

• Establish judicial practices that will help all court users by improving court efficiency; • Allow commercial disputes to be resolved efficiently with expertise and technology;
• Enhance the accuracy, consistency, and predictability of judicial decisions in commercial cases;
• Enhance economic development in Indiana by furthering the efficient resolution of commercial law disputes; and
• Employ and encourage electronic information technologies, and early alternative ADR interventions.

         The Court has evaluated the progress of the Pilot Project and determined that it has been successful in advancing these benchmarks and goals. The Court now ORDERS that the Commercial Courts be permanently established in Indiana with the following judges:

• Judge Craig Bobay, Allen Superior Court - Civil Division
• Judge Stephen Bowers, Elkhart Superior Court 2
• Judge Richard D'Amour, Vanderburgh Superior Court
• Judge Maria Granger, Floyd Superior Court 3
• Judge John Sedia, Lake Superior Court
• Judge Heather Welch, Marion Superior Court, Civil Division 1

         Commercial Courts Committee

         On June 2, 2015, the Indiana Supreme Court issued an order establishing the Indiana Commercial Court Working Group to provide guidance throughout the Pilot Project. As the Indiana Commercial Courts enter a new phase, a standing committee shall continue to provide guidance.

         The "Commercial Court Committee" shall consist of the following, as determined by the Commercial Court judges. Membership of the Committee shall include individuals experienced in business litigation and the judicial system. The Committee should consist of:

• Commercial Court judges, one representing each Commercial Court
• Lawyers
o Litigators representing small and large businesses
o Transactional attorneys representing small and large businesses o In-house counsel representing small and large businesses
o Other lawyers with expertise in commercial litigation
• At least one legislative representative
• At least one Chamber of Commerce Representative
• At least one law professor in this subject matter

         It is ORDERED that the Indiana Commercial Court Committee established by order of this Court will continue to provide guidance for the Indiana Commercial Courts.

         It is further ORDERED that Indiana Office of Court Services shall provide staff support to the Commercial Court Working Group.

         Commercial Court Rules

         On April 27, 2016, the Indiana Supreme Court issued an order adopting the Interim Commercial Court Rules for the Indiana Commercial Courts Pilot Project.

         Based upon the experience these rules have been amended in part. The Indiana Supreme Court adopts these Commercial Court Rules for the Indiana Commercial Courts. The purpose of these rules is to (1) promote the efficient resolution of commercial disputes; (2) improve court efficiency for all court users; (3) employ and encourage early alternative dispute interventions; (4) enhance the accuracy, consistency, and predictability of judicial decisions in commercial cases; and (5) enhance economic development in Indiana by furthering the efficient resolution of commercial law disputes.

         The Commercial Court Rules are attached as Exhibit A.

         This Order and the attached Rules shall take effect on June 1, 2019.

         Exhibit A

         Rule 1. Introduction and Definitions

         The following Rule shall apply to all the cases on the Commercial Court Docket. As used in this Rule:

(A) Business entity. "Business entity" means a for-profit or nonprofit corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, professional association, professional corporation, business trust, joint venture, unincorporated association, or sole proprietorship, or any other legal entity recognized by any state and doing business in the State of Indiana.
(B) Commercial court. "Commercial court" means a court with a specialized Commercial Court Docket as described, organized, and administered under these Commercial Court Rules and any applicable Indiana Supreme Court Order.
(C) Rule. "Rule" as used in these Commercial Court Rules means any rule promulgated by the Indiana Supreme Court, or by administrative district rule or local rule.

         Commentary: Commercial Courts 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.

         Rule 2. Cases Eligible for the Commercial Court Docket

         Any civil case, including any jury case, non-jury case, injunction, temporary restraining order, class action, declaratory judgment, or derivative action, shall be eligible for assignment into the Commercial Court Docket pursuant to Commercial Court Rule 4 if the gravamen of the case relates to any of the following:

(A) The formation, governance, dissolution, or liquidation of a business entity;
(B) The rights or obligations between or among the owners, shareholders, officers, directors, managers, trustees, partners, or members of a business entity, or rights and obligations between or among any of them and the business entity;
(C) Trade secret, non-disclosure, non-compete, or employment agreements involving a business entity and an employee, owner, shareholder, officer, director, manager, trustee, partner, or member of the business entity;
(D) The rights, obligations, liability, or indemnity of an owner, shareholder, officer, director, manager, trustee, partner, or member of a business entity owed to or from the business entity;
(E) Disputes between or among two or more business entities or individuals as to their business activities relating to contracts, transactions, or relationships between or among them, including without limitation the following:
(1) Transactions governed by the Uniform Commercial Code, except for claims described in Commercial Court Rule 3(B) and 3(O);
(2) The purchase, sale, lease, or license of; a security interest in; or the infringement or misappropriation of patents, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, trade ...

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