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Young v. Corizon LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division

May 21, 2019

STEVEN D. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON LLC, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHAEL J. FRANK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, an inmate of the Florida Department of Corrections proceeding in forma pauperis and pro se, initiated this civil rights action by filing a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Upon review of Plaintiff's complaint, it is apparent that venue is not proper in the Northern District of Florida. Therefore, this case should be transferred to the Middle District of Florida.[1]

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is an inmate of the Florida penal system confined at Union Correctional Institution. Union Correctional Institution is located in the Middle District of Florida. In his § 1983 complaint, Plaintiff identified several Defendants, including: Corizon, LLC, Woodrow A. Myers, Rhonda Almanza, Helen Sneed, Teresa Woodal, Erron Campbell, Centurion of Florida, LLC, John Doe #1-3, E. Perez-Lugo, Thomas Reimers, Daniel Cherry, Michelle Schouest, and Julie Jones.[2](Doc. 1).

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need while he was incarcerated in the Middle District of Florida. Plaintiff alleges that from June 2014 to August 24, 2016, Plaintiff was denied care for his hepatitis C. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive and declaratory relief such that the FDC be required to provide treatment and ameliorative care, including pain medication. (Doc. 1).

         On April 11, 2019, the undersigned ordered Plaintiff to show cause why this case should not be transferred to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the district where Plaintiff and Union C.I. is located. (Doc. 13). Without citation to any federal authority, Plaintiff responded that venue is proper in the Northern District pursuant to the “sword wielder” doctrine and the “home venue privilege.” (Doc. 14).

         II. Discussion

         Venue for actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), which provides in relevant part:

         (b) Venue in general.-A civil action may be brought in-

(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located; [or]
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, . . . .

Id.

         In this case, Plaintiff cannot bring this action in “a judicial district in which any defendant resides” because it appears that not all of the defendants are residents of Florida. According to Plaintiff's complaint, several Defendants reside in states other than Florida. (Doc. 1 at 2-3). Specifically, at least one Defendant resides in each of the following locations: (1) St. Louis, Missouri; (2) Tempe, Arizona; and (3) Brentwood, Tennessee.

         On the other hand, the denial of Plaintiff's medical care occurred at Union C.I., which is located in Union County. Thus, a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the Plaintiff's claim occurred in the Middle District of Florida, not the Northern District of Florida. See Jenkins Brick Co. v. Bremer, 321 F.3d 1366, 1372 (11th Cir. 2003); United States v. Sect. Fla. Dept. of Corr., No. 12-22958-CIV, 2012 WL 6626818, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 19, 2012) (“[T]he policy decision alone does not give rise to the claim; a claim only exists if someone has been harmed by the policy decision.”); Mobile Diagnostic Imagining, Inc. v. Gormezano, No. 12-60888-CIV, 2012 WL 3244664, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 9, 2012) (noting that courts have held “that substantial events occurred within a venue when harm or injury was suffered in that venue”); Sanchez v. Pingree, 494 F.Supp. 68, 70 (S.D. Fla. 1980) (holding that although state statute was administered in the Northern District of Florida, venue was proper in the Southern District of Florida because plaintiffs suffered their injuries from the administration of the statute in the Southern District). Thus, based on the information provided by the Plaintiff in his complaint, venue is proper in the Middle District of Florida.

         When venue is improper, the district court “shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a); see Wright v. Miranda, 740 Fed.Appx. 692, 693 (11th Cir. 2018). Furthermore, 28 U.S.C. § 1404 provides: “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). “Section 1404(a) is merely a codification of the doctrine of forum non conveniens for the subset of cases in which the transferee forum is within the federal court system; in such cases, Congress has replaced the traditional remedy of outright dismissal with transfer.” Atl. Marine Constr. Co., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for the W. Dist. of Tex., 571 U.S. 49, 60, 134 S.Ct. 568, 580 (2013); Sinochem Int'l Co. Ltd. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 430, 127 S.Ct. 1184, 1190-91 (2007) (noting that § 1404(a) provides for transfer of a case “when a sister federal court is the more convenient place for trial of the action”). “Section 1404(a) reflects an increased desire to have federal civil suits tried in the federal system at the place called for in the particular case by considerations of convenience and justice.” Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616, 84 S.Ct. 805, 809 (1964).

         There “is a ‘long-approved practice of permitting a court to transfer a case sua sponte under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, as codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) . . . .'” Tazoe v. Airbus, S.A.S., 631 F.3d 1321, 1336 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Costlow v. Weeks, 790 F.2d 1486, 1488 (9th Cir. 1986)). In analyzing the issue of proper venue in the context of the federal doctrine of forum non conveniens, courts have looked to various factors relating to the private interest of the litigants and the public interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice. See Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508-09, 67 S.Ct. 839, 843 (1988), superseded by statute on other grounds as ...


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