Commercial Courts: An Ideal Venue to Resolve Complex Business Cases

by Rachel Bir

Indiana’s Commercial Court project was approved by the Indiana Supreme Court in January 2016 and the project became operational in June 2016. Initially, the Commercial Court project launched in six counties across the state. However, since then, the project has grown and now there are Commercial Courts located in Allen County, Elkhart County, Floyd County, Hamilton County, Lake County, Madison County, Marion County, St. Joseph County, Vanderburgh County, and Vigo County, taking the total to ten counties throughout Indiana.

Purpose and Benefits of Indiana Commercial Courts*

The purposes of Indiana’s Commercial Courts are to:

  • Establish judicial practices that help with all court users by improving 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 dispute resolution interventions.

*Indiana Commercial Courts Handbook, p. 5

Rules of Commercial Court

In addition to the Indiana Rules, Indiana Commercial Courts have their own rules which take influence from the Federal Rules. The Indiana Commercial Courts also provide a comprehensive handbook on best practices which addresses various topics, including, but not limited to, case management, discovery, trial preparation, trial management, and class actions. Additionally, the handbook includes various preferred proposed orders and notices.

How Can You Take Your Case to Commercial Court?** 

Indiana Commercial Court Rules 2 and 3 address what types of cases may be eligible to be heard in Indiana’s Commercial Courts. Specifically, Rule 2 provides that a civil case shall be eligible for assignment to the Commercial Court Docket if the core of the case relates to:

  • The formation, governance, dissolution, or liquidation of a business entity;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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; or
  • Cases otherwise falling within the general intended purpose of the Commercial Court Docket wherein the parties agree to submit to the Commercial Court Docket, subject to acceptance of jurisdiction over the matter by the Commercial Court Judge.

**Indiana Commercial Court Rule 2

Furthermore, Indiana Commercial Court Rule 4 addresses the assignment of a case to the Commercial Court Docket. Essentially, any party in a case eligible for assignment the Commercial Court may, by express or implied agreement of the parties, file the case in Commercial Court and/or seek to have their case placed on the Commercial Court docket, pursuant to the specific provisions set forth in Rule 4. Therefore, Rule 4 permits the parties to select a venue outside of the county in which the case would otherwise be “venued” pursuant to the Indiana Rules. For example, a case that may not otherwise be proper to be filed in Marion County because of venue, may qualify to be heard in the Marion County Commercial Court so long as the case is eligible and no party objects.

Gutwein Law’s Experience with Indiana Commercial Courts

Gutwein Law has qualified litigators who have the experience and knowledge to represent you -- whether you are the plaintiff, the defendant, or a third party. Further, the cases litigated by Gutwein Law often fit the criteria for assignment to Indiana’s Commercial Courts and our litigators have had great success in obtaining favorable results for their clients in Indiana’s Commercial Courts. If you have been sued or want to discuss a preemptive plan for litigation, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (317) 777.7920.