Stay up to date with the latest legal tips and information.

Supreme Court creates “Pathways” pilot program to make litigation more efficient.

May 25, 2023

Author: Megan Torres

For those considering filing a lawsuit, the Indiana Supreme Court may have found the right idea to improve the efficiency of our justice system. With the Pathways Pilot Program, some judges will be assigning new cases to specific “paths” in order to decrease the amount of time until the case can be resolved. The Pathways Program introduces new rules and guidelines for handling cases depending on the case type.

“Streamlined Pathway” case management rules will apply to the following case types: Civil Collection (CC), Petition for Eviction (EV), Mortgage Foreclosure (MF), Miscellaneous (MI), Verified Petition for Issuance of a Tax Deed (TP), and Application for Judgment in a Tax Sale (TS)

“Complex Pathway” case management rules will apply to Civil Tort (CT) and Civil Plenary (PL) cases.

For other cases, presumably with a complexity level somewhere between these two, the rules for “General Pathway” could be applied.

Most important for the parties to a case, firm trial dates are set depending on the path assignment: Streamlined Pathway cases will be set 6 months from the case management conference, 12 months for General Pathway cases, and 18 months for Complex Pathway cases.

It is also helpful that these cases will be subject to mandatory disclosures soon after the case is assigned a path. In state courts, more often than is reasonable, getting the opposing party to tell you how they plan to prove their case is like pulling teeth. This process is essentially a requirement that all parties quickly provide the other parties a list of all the documents, evidence and potential witnesses that the party believes supports their case. Mandatory disclosures are already used in federal courts to avoid such gamesmanship and will be a welcomed addition to any cases assigned to the Program.

Other limitations will also help avoid unnecessary costs and time on discovery including a maximum number of written discovery requests, a maximum number of non-party depositions, and a limit on the number of hours spent on a single deposition. Parties might also breathe a sigh of relief knowing the relevant period for all discovery is limited to a period of six years before the adverse event/action that forms the basis of the claim/counterclaim or defense (unless the judge orders based on a reasonable grounds provided by the parties).

In Allen County, new cases assigned to Judge Jennifer DeGroote will be assigned to a Program “path” starting June 4, 2023.

If you have an issue that might be ready for the litigation phase, the lawyers at Beckman Lawson are ready to answer your questions and advise you on the best course of action.