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New state commercial courts are open in 10 Indiana counties

The Indiana Supreme Court hosted a reception Wednesday to provide information to Indiana businesses, lawyers, legislators and other leaders about the benefits of the state’s commercial courts.

The state supreme court created the Indiana Commercial Court Pilot Project in June 2016, making Indiana one of 23 states with specialized commercial courts. Since then, 10 commercial courts around the state have been established: in Allen, Elkhart, Floyd, Hamilton, Lake, Madison, Marion, St. Joseph, Vanderburgh and Vigo counties.

“The specialized docket is designed to handle challenging business-to-business disputes in a timely, cost-effective, predictable and fair manner,” said an Indiana Supreme Court press release. “About 1,500 cases have been or are currently being resolved through commercial courts.”

The Office of Court Services website describes the purpose of commercial courts as a way to improve court efficiency, accuracy and consistency by employing alternative dispute resolutions.

Civil cases are eligible, for example, if they are about the formation, dissolution or liquidation of a business entity, according to the commercial courts handbook.

But not all business-related cases may qualify to be heard in commercial court. Some examples of cases that do not qualify include personal injury, wrongful death, consumer claims against a business, workers’ compensation or matters of eminent domain.

All parties in a lawsuit must agree to have the case tried in a commercial court; otherwise, they will be tried in civil court. —Sydney Byerly