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Breach of contract suit to get new venue

August 29, 2016

A trial court should have granted the city of Lawrenceburg’s request to move a breach of contract lawsuit against it filed by Franklin County out of Franklin County, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Franklin County and the city of Lawrenceburg agreed in a 2006 contract to share riverboat casino earnings. Seven years later, Lawrenceburg told the county of its intent to end the agreement. Last year, Franklin County filed a complaint in its circuit court alleging breach of contract. Lawrenceburg moved for a change of venue under Indiana Trial Rule 76(A) because the Franklin Circuit Court is an inappropriate venue because the county is a party to the lawsuit. The trial court denied the motion.

Franklin County argues that it is a preferred venue so the case should not be transferred. Regardless of whether that is the case, its status as such is trumped by Trial Rule 76(A), wrote Judge Cale Bradford, which explicitly says that a motion requesting a change of venue “shall be granted only upon a showing that the county where the suit is pending is a party.”

The judges rejected the city’s argument that the trial should move to Dearborn County, where Lawrenceburg is located.  Indiana Trial Rule 76(D) sets up the procedure by which a new venue is determined and that is what should be followed on remand, Bradford wrote.

The case is City of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Mayor of Lawrenceburg in his official capacity, Common Council of the City of Lawrenceburg in their official capacities v. Franklin County, Indiana, et al., 24A05-1603-PL-535.
 

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