Scribbles, LLC, Pittsboro Christian Church, d/b/a Scribbles Ministry of Pittsboro Christian Church, Christeen Michael, and Debbie Spurlock, Appellants/Defendants,
Camden "Jax" Wedgewood, by next of friend Brian Scott Wedgewood, Hannah Jade Hill, and Camden Riley Wedgewood, Appellees/Plaintiffs.
from the Marion Superior Courts The Honorable James A. Joven,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49D13-1702-CT-7313.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT, PITTSBORO CHRISTIAN CHURCH, D/B/A
SCRIBBLES MINISTRY OF PITTSBORO CHRISTIAN CHURCH Robert B.
Thornburg Julia Blackwell Gelinas Maggie L. Smith Frost Brown
Todd LLC Indianapolis, Indiana Katherine J. Noel Noel Law
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT, SCRIBBLES LLC Scott P. Sullivan
Flynn & Sullivan PC Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT, CHRISTEEN MICHAEL Jan N. Campbell
Jeffrey R. Oberlies Leeuw Oberlies & Campbell
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT, DEBBIE SPURLOCK Kyle Michael Baker
Salma Naji Qaddourah McNeely, Stephenson Shelbyville, Indiana
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES Nicholas C. Deets Hovde Dassow &
Deets LLC Indianapolis, Indiana.
of the Case
In this interlocutory appeal, Scribbles, LLC
("Scribbles"); Pittsboro Christian Church d/b/a
Scribbles Ministry of Pittsboro Christian Church ("the
Church"); Christeen Michael ("Michael"); and
Debbie Spurlock ("Spurlock") (collectively
"the Defendants") appeal the trial court's
denial of their motion to transfer venue to Hendricks County
in a negligence action filed against them in Marion County by
infant Camden "Jax" Wedgewood ("Infant
Wedgewood"), by his next friend, his grandfather, Brian
Scott Wedgewood ("Grandfather"); Hannah Jade Hill
("Mother"); and Camden Riley Wedgewood
("Father") (collectively ("the
Plaintiffs")). Because Hendricks County is a preferred
venue and Marion County is not, the trial court erred in
denying the Defendants' motion to transfer venue to
Hendricks County. We therefore reverse and remand with
instructions for the trial court to grant the Defendants'
motion and transfer this case to Hendricks County.
We reverse and remand with instructions.
sole issue for our review is whether the trial court erred in
denying the Defendants' motion to transfer venue.
Scribbles and the Church operate a child care ministry
located in Hendricks County. Michael is an infant caregiver
at Scribbles, and Spurlock is the director. Both women are
Hendricks County residents. Infant Wedgewood, Grandfather,
Mother, and Father are also Hendricks County residents.
In January 2016, Infant Wedgewood began attending Scribbles.
Shortly thereafter, he suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
The following year, the Plaintiffs filed a two-count
complaint in the Marion Superior Court. The first count was a
negligence action against Scribbles, the Church, Michael, and
Spurlock. The second count was a claim for a declaratory
judgment against the Indiana Family and Social Services
Administration (FSSA). Specifically, the Plaintiffs explained
that Infant Wedgewood was a beneficiary of the Indiana
Medicaid Plan ("the Plan") and asked the trial
court to determine whether the Plan had a lien on the
Plaintiffs' recovery and, if so, the amount of the
lien.The Defendants all raised the affirmative
defense of improper venue under Indiana Trial Rule 75 in
their respective answers. They all also alleged that it was
the Plaintiffs who were at fault for Infant Wedgewood's
injuries. FSSA did not respond to the complaint.
In May 2017, the Defendants filed a joint motion to transfer
venue wherein they asked the trial court to transfer venue
from Marion County to Hendricks County because Marion County
was not a preferred venue. The Plaintiffs responded that
Marion County was a preferred venue pursuant to Trial Rule
75(A)(5) because FSSA was a governmental organization located
in Marion County. The trial court concluded that "Marion
County [was] a preferred venue and the Court lack[ed] the