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Monday, January 19, 2015

Ind. Courts - Boehm on CJ Rush's proposal for a business court

Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm wrote in Indiana Forefront yesterday:

In her inaugural State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice Rush mentioned the Court’s initiative to study the creation of “a business court model” to offer more efficient handling of complex lawsuits.

An Indiana Business Court is a concept that has been knocking around for several years. It is good to hear that the Supreme Court and its committee of trial judges are now moving forward to design a plan for this state. It may take some time, before we have a finished plan. Michigan adopted its business court plan in 2012 after forming a study committee in 2003.

Originally, a “business court” was understood as the Delaware model, where for over 100 years the Chancery Court was given exclusive statewide jurisdiction over internal corporate disputes. Because so many national corporations are organized in Delaware, the Chancery Court achieved national preeminence as the go-to court for major corporate law cases.

In the 1990s, business courts began to blossom across the country, and now exist in one form or another in many states.

In most states, the subject matter of cases handled by business courts has been expanded well beyond the original Delaware model, and many business courts now handle a variety of forms of complex litigation. Typically any lawsuit between two businesses, even if only a contract dispute, is deemed a “business” case, and many states add specific subject matters such as securities litigation.

The “court” is usually not a single trial court with statewide jurisdiction like the Indiana Tax Court. Rather, most states have designated business courts as divisions of one to three existing trial courts in areas with a volume of business cases.

Michigan, for example, has given jurisdiction over categories of cases deemed complex to a few judges in three counties that include Detroit, suburban Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Experience in other states seems to establish that there is a benefit to having experienced judges handling cases involving extensive discovery, multiple parties, or subject matters that come along only infrequently. But there is no uniform pattern across the United States. The configuration of a business court plan for this state requires a detailed study of Indiana’s caseloads to identify what kind of cases are appropriate to reserve to specialized judges. The same study also needs to figure out where a business court or courts should be located.

ILB: Here, from the transcript of her State of the Judiciary, is the text of the CJ's statement on business courts:
Second, to fulfill our promise of justice for businesses in Indiana, we are looking at improving how we process complex civil cases. The Court is currently working on the development of a business court model focused on complex commercial litigation. Creating this specialty court will bring together judges experienced in handling business and commercial law cases to preside over a specialized docket with business-specific resources. Our goal in this endeavor, along with the introduction of electronic filing, is to promote an attractive, predictable and consistent climate for doing business in Indiana. Many thanks to Justice David, Judge Heather Welch, Judge Craig Bobay and their committee for all their work here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 19, 2015 03:28 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts