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Venue transfer hinges on type of organization

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion to change venues because the Indiana High School Athletic Association didn't meet its burden as a governmental organization needed under Indiana Trial Rule 75 to affirm the motion. The opinion also tackled the issue of how to define the IHSAA for purposes of the trial rule.

In Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. v. Angel Garcia, No. 45A03-0706-CV-290, the IHSAA appealed the trial court's denial of its motion to transfer venue from Lake County to Marion County. Garcia transferred to East Chicago High School from another school where he played varsity sports and wanted to play varsity basketball. The IHSAA granted him only limited eligibility to play for a period of 365 days from the date of his enrollment at the school.

Garcia filed a complaint against IHSAA, which included seeking a temporary restraining order and a declaratory judgment allowing him to fully participate in varsity athletics at East Chicago. The trial court issued the temporary injunction against the IHSAA and a temporary restraining order. The IHSAA filed a counterclaim and motion to transfer to Marion County. After hearing arguments on the motion to transfer, the trial court denied the motion.

Judge Michael Barnes wrote in the opinion that no prior cases have determined whether IHSAA is a "defendant organization" or a "governmental organization" for purposes of Indiana Trial Rule 75. Defining the IHSAA as one would determine whether it had grounds to ask for transfer of venue. If a complaint is filed in a county of preferred venue, the trial court doesn't have the authority to transfer the case based solely on the preferred venue in one or more other counties.

The IHSAA asserts because it is a Marion County-based not-for-profit corporation, the preferred venue is in Marion County, according to Indiana Trial Rule 75(a)(4). Garcia argues the IHSAA should be considered a "governmental organization" pursuant to the trial rule, leaving Lake County as a preferred venue.

In order to rule on the issue, the court turned to previous Indiana Supreme Court rulings on the issue - Indiana High School Athletic Association v. Carlberg, 694 N.E.2d 222 (Ind. 1997) and Indiana High School Athletic Association v. Reyes, 694 n.E.2d 249 (Ind. 1997). In those cases, the Supreme Court issued principles to be followed in reviewing cases involving the IHSAA, including common law "will treat the IHSAA as analogous to a government agency with respect to challenges to its rules and enforcement actions brought by students and other non-IHSAA members with standing to do so."

The Carlberg court likened IHSAA decisions to government agency decisions and determined an arbitrary and capricious standard of review was proper, Judge Barnes wrote. If the IHSAA is a "state actor" for purposes of students' constitutional rights, then it can be concluded it is also a "governmental organization" for purposes of Indiana Trial Rule 75. It would also be unfair to force students to litigate adverse rulings of the IHSAA in Marion County.

The IHSAA did not meet its burden of proof so the burden did not shift to Garcia to show that Lake County was a county of preferred venue.

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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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