WILLIAM M. BELCHER, Appellant/Defendant,
CATHERINE KROCZEK, D.D.S., Appellee/Plaintiff
APPEAL FROM THE LAKE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable William E. Davis, Judge. Cause No. 45D05-1307-CT-125.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MICHAEL K. SUTHERLIN, SAMUEL M. ADAMS, Michael K. Sutherlin & Associates, Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: PAUL A. ROSSI, DAVID ANDRICK, Lowell, Indiana.
VAIDIK, Chief Judge. NAJAM, J., and BROWN, J., concur.
VAIDIK, Chief Judge.
Indiana Trial Rule 75(A) allows a case to be filed in any county in Indiana. In this case, Catherine Kroczek, a Lake County dentist, filed suit against William W. Belcher in Lake County under Trial Rule 75(A)(2). Belcher later filed a motion to transfer venue, and a dispute arose over whether Dr. Kroczek had properly established preferred venue in Lake County.
We conclude that preferred venue does not lie in Lake County. In relevant part, Trial Rule 75(A)(2) provides that preferred venue may lie in the county where the chattels at issue are located. When identifying chattels, our Courts have emphasized their transferrable nature. At issue here is Dr. Kroczek's reputation, privacy, and identity, none of which may be transferred. We therefore conclude that they are not chattels, and Dr. Kroczek may not invoke Trial Rule 75(A)(2). We reverse.
Facts and Procedural History
Belcher and Dr. Kroczek began dating in early 2012. Years before meeting Belcher, Dr. Kroczek contracted the herpes simplex virus, and at some point during the relationship, she told Belcher this. Dr. Kroczek ended the relationship in September 2012.
Dr. Kroczek worked at a number of dentistry offices, including her father's office. Shortly after the relationship ended, Belcher began sending letters to Dr. Kroczek's employers and colleagues. In these letters, Belcher informed the reader that Dr. Kroczek had herpes. See Appellant's App. p. 27-31. In some of the letters, Belcher also stated that Dr. Kroczek had infected " only a few people" and requested that " appropriate action" be taken. Id. Belcher later registered Dr. Kroczek--without her knowledge or consent--with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Seattle STD/HIV Prevention Training Center. Id. at 32-33.
Dr. Kroczek filed a complaint against Belcher in Lake County, claiming that Belcher committed defamation per se, invasion of privacy, disclosure of private facts, intentional infliction of emotional distress, identity theft, and tortious interference with business relationships. Id. at 11-20. Belcher filed a motion to transfer venue to ...