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Dentist’s reputation, privacy and identity are not chattel under T.R. 75(A)(2)

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The Indiana Court of Appeals decided that the preferred venue of a woman’s lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend alleging defamation and other claims is in Marion County where the man resides and not in Lake County where she works. The opinion hinged upon whether there were chattels involved.

Catherine Kroczek and William Belcher dated for a few months in 2012 but broke up in September of that year. While dating, she told Belcher she had the herpes simplex virus. After they broke up, Belcher mailed letters to the dentistry offices where Kroczek worked, telling her employers and colleagues she had herpes and had infected “only a few people.” He also registered her on several websites without her knowledge regarding her health status.

She sued Belcher in Lake County, alleging he committed defamation per se, invasion of privacy, disclosure of private facts, intentional infliction of emotional distress, identity theft and tortuous interference with a business relationship. He filed a motion to transfer to Marion County, where he lived, which was denied.

Kroczek claimed her reputation, privacy, identity and goodwill are intangible personal chattels under Trial Rule 75(A)(2), thus supporting Lake County as the preferred venue.

The courts have previously found the right to publicity or a money judgment is intangible personal chattel, but those rights are transferrable. But reputation, privacy and identity are not transferrable, Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in William M. Belcher v. Catherine Kroczek, D.D.S., 45A03-1311-CT-436. They are inherently different from patents, money judgments and publicity rights, so they are not chattels.

Goodwill may qualify as a chattel, but it can’t serve as the basis for preferred venue in this case because it does not allege an injury to enterprise goodwill, which is a business asset.

Belcher is entitled to transfer venue to Marion County based on his residence, the COA held.
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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