Sen. Koch Named to Indiana Commercial Courts Committee

(STATEHOUSE) — State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has been named to the committee created by the Indiana Supreme Court to provide guidance to the state’s six Commercial Courts.

State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford)

In 2016, the Indiana Supreme Court established a three-year Commercial Courts Pilot Project to begin 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, such as e-filing, e-discovery, and telephone/video conferencing, and employ early alternative dispute resolution interventions, as consistent with Indiana law.

The Supreme Court determined that the pilot project was successful in advancing these benchmarks and goals, and ordered 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

By order of the Supreme Court, the Commercial Courts Committee must include individuals experienced in business litigation and the judicial system, and must consist of the judges of each court, attorneys (litigators, transactional attorneys, in-house counsel, and others with commercial litigation expertise), and at least one legislator, Chamber of Commerce representative, and law professor.

Other members named to the Commercial Courts Committee are:

  • Mike Michmerhuizen, Barrett McNagny
  • Shane Mulholland, Burt Blee
  • Frank Sullivan, IU McKinney
  • Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Judge Craig Bobay, Allen County
  • Judge Heather Welch, Marion County
  • Judge Stephen Bowers, Elkhart County
  • Judge John Sedia, Lake County
  • Judge Maria Granger, Floyd County
  • Judge Richard D’Amour, Vanderburgh County
  • Jeffrey Lund, Yoder Ainlay Ulmer & Buckingham
  • John LaDue, SouthBank Legal: LaDue Curran Kuehn
  •  Jason Lopp, McNeely Stephenson
  • Van Willis, Kightlinger & Gray, LLP
  • Greg Bouwer, Koransky, Bouwer & Poracky, PC
  • Steven J. Scott, Hodges & Davis, PC
  • Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Terre Haute)
  • Mike Wukmer, Ice Miller
  • Wayne Turner, Hoover Hull Turner
  •  Tracy Betz, Taft Stettinius & Hollister
  • Bob Reiling, Reiling Teder & Schrier
  • Matt Troyer, Bingham Greenebaum Doll
  • Megan Craig, Craig Legal
  • Josh Hollingsworth, Barnes & Thornburg
  • Jim Casey, Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders
  • Jim Johnson, Jackson Kelly LLC

Inclusion on the Commercial Court docket is voluntary. Pursuant to Commercial Court Rule 2, any civil case, including any jury case, non-jury case, injunction, temporary restraining order, class action, declaratory judgment, or derivative action, is 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 secrets, or other intellectual property;

(3) The purchase or sale of a business entity, whether by merger, acquisition of shares or assets, or otherwise;

(4) The sale of goods or services by a business entity to a business entity;

(5) Non-consumer bank or brokerage accounts, including loan, deposit, cash management, and investment accounts;

(6) Surety bonds and suretyship or guarantee obligations of individuals given in connection with business transactions;

(7) The purchase, sale, lease, or license of or a security interest in commercial property, whether tangible or intangible personal property or real property;

(8) Franchise or dealer relationships;

(9) Business-related torts, such as claims of unfair competition, false advertising, unfair trade practices, fraud, or interference with contractual relations or prospective contractual relations;

(10) Cases relating to or arising under antitrust laws;

(11) Cases relating to securities or relating to or arising under securities laws;

(12) Commercial insurance contracts, including coverage disputes;

(13) Environmental claims arising from a breach of contractual or legal obligations or indemnities between business entities;

(14) Cases with a gravamen substantially similar to the foregoing (1 – 13) and not otherwise encompassed by Commercial Court Rule 3.

(F) Subject to acceptance of jurisdiction over the matter by the Commercial Court Judge, cases otherwise falling within the general intended purpose of the Commercial Court Docket wherein the parties agree to submit to the Commercial Court Docket.

A civil case is not eligible for assignment into the Commercial Court Docket pursuant to Commercial Court 4 if the case does not relate to any of the topics provided under Commercial Court Rule 2, or the gravamen of the case relates to any of the following:

(A) Personal injury, survivor, or wrongful death matters;

(B) Consumer claims against business entities or insurers of business entities, including breach of warranty, product liability, and personal injury cases and cases arising under consumer protection laws;

(C) Matters involving only wages or hours, occupational health or safety, workers’ compensation, or unemployment compensation;

(D) Environmental claims, except as described in Commercial Court Rule 2(E)(13);

(E) Matters in eminent domain;

(F) Employment law cases, except those as described in Commercial Court Rule 2(C);

(G) Discrimination cases based upon the federal or state constitutions or the applicable federal, state, or political subdivision statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances;

(H) Administrative agency, tax, zoning, and other appeals;

(I) Petition actions in the nature of a change of name of an individual, mental health act, guardianship, or government election matters;

(J) Individual residential real estate disputes, including foreclosure actions, or noncommercial landlord-tenant disputes;

(K) Any matter subject to the jurisdiction of the domestic relations, juvenile, or probate divisions of a court;

(L) Any matter subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of a city court, a town court, or the small claims division of a court;

(M) Any matter required by statute or other law to be heard in some other court or division of a court;

(N) Any criminal matter, other than criminal contempt in connection with a matter pending on the Commercial Court Docket; and

(O) Consumer debts, such as debts or accounts incurred or obtained by an individual primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose; credit card debts incurred by individuals; medical services debts incurred by individuals; student loans; tax debts of individuals; promissory notes not primarily associated with purchasing an interest in a business; personal automobile loans; legal fees incurred for family or household purposes (such as probate, divorce, child custody, child support, criminal defense, negligence, and other tortious acts); and other similar types of consumer debts.

More information on the Indiana Commercial Courts can be found at www.in.gov/judiciary/iocs/2944.htm.

Sen. Koch, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is an attorney with the law firm of Koch & McAuley P.C. and serves Senate District 44, which includes all or parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, and Monroe counties.

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