Frank Sullivan, Jr., Indiana University Bicentennial Professor and Professor of Practice, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Justice, Indiana Supreme Court (1993-2012). LL.M., University of Virginia School of Law (2001); J.D., Indiana University Maurer School of Law (1982); A.B., Dartmouth College (1972).
Pursuant to Indiana Supreme Court rule, on June 1, 2016, six “commercial courts” throughout the state began accepting filings in business governance, intellectual property, contract, and other business and commercial disputes. This was the launch of a three-year pilot project to assess the demand for and receptivity to specialized courts with the requisite judicial expertise to streamline business litigation. Details on the commercial court pilot project were presented in previous surveys which the reader is invited to consult for further information. During the survey period, a challenge to the constitutionality of the project itself was summarily rejected by the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court’s task force appointed by the Supreme Court to work on the commercial court project (“Commercial Court Working Group”) worked to evaluate the pilot project in light of its forthcoming May 31, 2019, sunset.
In Ardagh Glass Inc. v. Vickery, the commercial court in Indianapolis entered a preliminary injunction against a man named Craig Vickery who had been sued by his former employer for allegedly breaching a covenant not to compete in his employment contract. In Vickery’s appeal, he made an argument that he had not made to the trial court: that the entire lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of constitutional jurisdiction. Vickery maintained that the Indiana Supreme Court had exceeded its authority in establishing the commercial court; the Supreme Court lacked the authority to appoint the commercial courts’ judges; the commercial courts bestow unconstitutional privileges on business entities; and commercial courts permit corporate plaintiffs to compel individual defendants to distant venues, creating extreme hardship. [Read entire Article here].