United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
BRITNEY B. SCONIERS, Plaintiff,
MEGAN J. BRENNAN, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
November 16, 2017, this matter was referred to the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for consideration
and disposition or recommendation on all pretrial matters as
may be appropriate. Doc. 21. Before the court is a motion to
dismiss for improper venue filed by pro se Defendant
Willie A. Lee. Doc. 11. On October 12, 2017, Plaintiff
Britney B. Sconiers filed a response in opposition to
Lee's motion. Doc. 13. For the reasons that follow, the
undersigned recommends that Lee's motion be DENIED, as
complaint asserts claims for sexual harassment, retaliation,
retaliatory hostile work environment, assault and battery,
invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress arising out of her employment at the United States
Post Office in Enterprise, Alabama. Doc. 1. Sconiers filed
her complaint in the Northern Division of the Middle District
of Alabama because she alleges that the unlawful employment
practices of which she complains occurred there. Doc. 1 at
who is proceeding pro se, answered Sconiers'
complaint on September 20, 2017. In addition to generally
denying all material allegations, Lee moved to dismiss
Sconiers' complaint on the basis that it was filed in the
wrong division. Doc. 11 at ¶ 3. Specifically, Lee argues
that all of the challenged conduct took place in Enterprise,
Alabama, which is located in Coffee County, Alabama, and
because Coffee County is located in the Southern Division of
this district, as opposed to the Northern Division, the
complaint should be dismissed for improper venue. Doc. 11 at
¶ 3. Lee articulates no additional support for his
argument that Sconiers' complaint should be dismissed for
and Lee do not dispute that venue is proper in the Middle
District of Alabama. Rather, they dispute whether the
complaint was filed in the proper division within that
district-Sconiers claiming that the lawsuit is properly filed
in the Northern Division, with Lee contending that the
lawsuit should have been filed in the Southern Division. The
relevant venue statute provides:
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;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a
substantial part of property that is the subject of the
action is situated; or
(3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise
be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district
in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal
jurisdiction with respect to such action.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Although the parties do not dispute
that Sconiers' complaint was filed in the proper district
since a substantial part of the events that give rise to
Sconiers' claims occurred in the Middle District, the
court independently finds that Sconiers' complaint was
filed in the proper judicial district pursuant to §
1391(b). See Young v. Maitake, 2016 WL 3878504, at
*1 (N.D. Ala. July 18, 2016). However, even though at one
time there was a “divisional venue” statute, that
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1393, was repealed by Public Law
100-702 in 1989, and this court has no local divisional rule
governing venue. See Callwood v. Phenix City, Ala.,
2016 WL 1122681, at *2 (M.D. Ala. Mar. 22, 2016) (citing
Burris v. Holley, 2008 WL 4417229, at *1 (M.D. Ala.
Sept. 25, 2008)). Because there is no longer a divisional
venue statute, and because Lee has otherwise not met his
burden of demonstrating that Sconiers' complaint should
be dismissed for improper venue, the undersigned RECOMMENDS
that Lee's motion to dismiss be DENIED.
extent Lee is requesting to transfer venue to the Southern
Division, rather than to dismiss the lawsuit entirely based
on improper venue, that motion is due to be denied as well.
Title 28, United States Code, Section 1404 provides:
“Upon motion, consent or stipulation of all parties,
any action, suit or proceeding of a civil nature or any
motion or hearing thereof, may be transferred, in the
discretion of the court, from the division in which pending
to any other division in the same district.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(b). “In evaluating a request to transfer
venue, a plaintiff's choice of forum should not be
disturbed unless it is clearly outweighed by other
considerations.” Callwood, 2016 WL 1122681, at
*2. “The burden is on the movant to ‘show that
the forum [he] suggests is more convenient or that litigating
the case there would be in the interest of
justice.'” Id. (quoting APR, LLC v.
Am. Aircraft Sales, Inc., 985 F.Supp.2d 1298, 1303 (M.D.
Ala. 2013)). Notably, “[s]ection 1404(b) expressly
places the decision whether to transfer an action from one
division to another within the discretion of the
court.” Young, 2016 WL 3878504, at *2.
question of whether to transfer venue is a two-pronged
inquiry, which first requires that the alternative venue be
one in which the action could originally have been brought by
the plaintiff. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). “The second
prong requires courts to balance private and public ...