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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Courts - "'Business Courts' Take on Complex Corporate Conflicts" What about Indiana? [Updated]

That quoted part is the heading to a lengthy story by Jenni Bergal at Stateline, a Pew publication. Some quotes:

Much like other specialty courts that only deal with drugs or mental health, these courts typically hear cases related to business disputes, many of which are complex cases.

Supporters credit business courts for handling time-consuming corporate lawsuits that can otherwise languish on the docket for years and clog the courts.

“These are complicated issues, and businesses need decisions made in as short a time as possible, with an end date in sight,” [Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Thornton] said. “It’s good for the business community and the judicial system.”

Advocates say the courts’ quick resolutions can also make a state more attractive to companies deciding where to locate.

But critics say the courts can create an unfair, two-tiered system—one for businesses and one for everyone else—and some consider them an affront to the judges who ordinarily would hear such cases.

It amounts to “special courts for special people,” said Bryan Blevins Jr., president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, which fought a legislative proposal this year to create a business court in the state. * * *

Specialized courts that handle business disputes have been established in at least 27 states, from Arizona to Maine, according to the American Bar Association’s business courts subcommittee. A 28th, Indiana, will join the list in 2016, when its court is to begin hearing cases.

What about Indiana? Are we really that far along?

The ILB had a post June 2, 2015 headed " Supreme Court creates commercial courts working group: specialized trial courts to handle complex business litigation." Here is a second post from June 9th, that concludes:

Chief Justice Rush says she doesn’t think it’s likely each Indiana county will have its own commercial court. Instead, she envisions a regional system where several neighboring counties share jurisdiction over the business cases in their area.
Here is a copy of the June 2, 2015 order establishing the Indiana commercial court working group, and a list of its members. It concludes:
By October 1, 2015, [the working group is to] submit an initial report to the Supreme Court on its activities and a recommendation to establish commercial court pilot projects, if appropriate.
There has been no further word from the Supreme Court on this group.

[Updated at 4:15]
Marion County Superior Court Judge Tim Oakes writes, in response to an ILB question, to say:
I would point out, in response to the comments of Mr. Blevins from Texas, a couple of things as it relates to Indiana:
  1. As currently envisioned, the business court would only assume jurisdiction if BOTH parties agree. There are some subtleties and nuance to that, but generally, that is the envisioned rule.
  2. In reality, that is a ZERO change from current law. Why? Because today, under the relatively new Indiana Trial Rules, two lawyers on either side of a business dispute (or any other civil matter) in Steuben Co (or any other) can have their case heard, by agreement, in Vanderburgh (or any other) county.
The real benefit of the proposed business court is the extra judicial education for those judges handling those dockets and the promised law clerks. Those two things alone should bring greater consistency across the state to complex business litigation in Indiana.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 28, 2015 03:08 PM
Posted to Courts in general | Ind. Commercial Courts | Indiana Courts