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Morrison v. Vasquez

Supreme Court of Indiana

June 27, 2019

Cynthia Morrison, individually and on behalf of Ernest Morrison, deceased, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
Ricardo Vasquez, M.D., et al. Appellee (Defendant). Indiana University Health Southern Indiana Physicians, Inc., et al., Appellants (Defendants),
v.
Charlene Noel Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Argued: March 14, 2019

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court No. 49D10-1712-CT-46774 The Honorable David J. Dreyer, Judge

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court No. 49D07-1802-CT-7520 The Honorable Michael D. Keele, Judge

          On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals Nos. 18A-CT-376 No. 18A-CT-1299

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT, CYNTHIA MORRISON Mary A. Findling Findling Park Conyers Woody & Sniderman, P.C. Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES, RICARDO VASQUEZ, M.D. AND VASCULAR CENTER & VEIN CLINIC OF SOUTHERN INDIANA Karl L. Mulvaney Nana Quay-Smith Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana, David S. Strite Rachel K. Dalton O'Bryan Brown & Toner, PLLC Louisville, Kentucky

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS, INDIANA UNIVERSITY HEALTH SOUTHERN INDIANA PHYSICIANS, INC., SARAH WHITEMAN, NP, AND CARLITO SABANDAL, M.D. James L. Whitlatch Kathryn DeWeese Bunger & Robertson Bloomington, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE, CHARLENE NOEL Sara A. Langer Steven L. Langer Langer & Langer Valparaiso, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR AMICUS CURIAE, INDIANA TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION David L. Farnbauch Sweeney Law Firm Fort Wayne, Indiana Diana C. Bauer Bauer Legal LLC Fort Wayne, Indiana

          OPINION

          DAVID JUSTICE

         Both of the cases before us today present the same issue. That is, whether for the purposes of determining preferred venue pursuant to Trial Rule 75(A)(4), an organization with a location in the State of Indiana is considered to have a "principal office" at the address of its registered agent. Finding that a domestic organization's actual principal office and not the location of its registered agent is the appropriate preferred venue, we affirm the trial court in Morrison and reverse the trial court in Noel. Further, we hold that in light of new business corporation statutes, the location of the registered agent no longer determines preferred venue for either domestic or foreign corporations.

         Facts and Procedural History

         In December 2017, Cynthia Morrison filed a complaint against various defendants for medical malpractice in Marion County. Some of those defendants filed a petition to transfer venue to Monroe County pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 75(A) arguing that Marion County does not meet the preferred venue requirements. For her part, Morrison argued that Marion County is a county of preferred venue because the registered agent of Bloomington Hospital, one of the defendants, is in Marion County. The trial court grant defendants' motion to transfer venue from Marion County, where IU Health has its registered agent, to Monroe County where defendant has its actual principal place of business. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

         In February 2018, Charlene Noel also filed a medical malpractice action against several defendants in Marion County because the defendants' registered agents are located there. Defendants then filed a motion to transfer venue to Lawrence County where the alleged malpractice occurred. Here the trial court denied defendants' motion to transfer venue to Lawrence County, where defendant has its actual principal place of business, and ...


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