United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
LAUREN E. McWATERS, Plaintiff,
JUDGE MICHELLE HART THOMASON, Defendant.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
STEPHEN M. DOYLE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
February 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this court
against Judge Michelle Hart Thomason, alleging that Judge
Thomason denied her mother court appointed counsel in a case
in which Plaintiff was a dependent. (Doc. 1) at 1. Plaintiff
listed the address of Judge Thomason as Bay Minette, Alabama,
and noted that the place of her alleged civil rights
violations occurred in Baldwin County, Alabama. Id.
Because the named defendant is alleged to reside in Bay
Minette, Alabama, and because Plaintiff's purported civil
rights violations occurred in Baldwin County, Alabama-both of
which are outside of the Middle District of Alabama-the
undersigned finds venue to be improper. Because
Plaintiff's claims, even if filed in the appropriate
court, are time-barred, the undersigned recommends that this
case be dismissed.
U.S.C. § 1391, which sets forth venue generally, states
that 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;
(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).
the events giving rise to Plaintiff's claim occurred in
Baldwin County, Alabama. (Doc. 1) at 1. Baldwin County,
Alabama, is located in the Southern District of Alabama,
Southern Division. 28 U.S.C. § 81(c)(2). The address of
the defendant-as listed by Plaintiff in her complaint-is also
located within the Southern District, Southern
Division. (Doc. 1) at 1. Thus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1391(b)(1) and (2), Plaintiff's action is properly
asserted in the Southern Division of the Southern District of
Alabama-not in the Middle District of Alabama where it was
the original venue in which Plaintiff filed her complaint was
not proper, 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) is the appropriate
statute that governs the disposition of Plaintiff's case.
Section 1406(a) states:
The district court of a district in which is filed a case
laying venue in the wrong division or district 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.
Thus, pursuant to the statute, this court may transfer
Plaintiff's case to the Southern District, Southern
Division, or this court may dismiss Plaintiff's case.
Typically, transfers afforded “in the interest of
justice” occur when the running of the statute of
limitations would preclude the filing of a new suit in the
proper district. See, e.g., Goldlawr, Inc. v.
Heiman, 369 U.S. 463 (1962).
Plaintiff claims that the events giving rise to her claims
occurred on December 6, 2005. (Doc. 1) at 1. The complaint
also includes a notation the undersigned believes to
reference Plaintiff's mother's state court case:
“RH v. DN 206115 10-10-2008.” Id.
Although the undersigned is not certain, it is likely that
“10-10-2008” is a date related to that case,
which is the basis of Plaintiff's suit. Assuming
momentarily that Plaintiff could assert some type of 42
U.S.C. § 1983 claim for violations of her federal
constitutional rights, such a claim would be time-barred.
This is because the statute of limitations for a § 1983
claim is two years, and the limitations period begins to run
when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know that she has
suffered an injury and who has inflicted that injury. See
Johnson v. City of Bessemer, 180 F.Supp.3d 1013, 1023
(N.D. Ala. 2016) (citing Chappell v. Rich, 340 F.3d
1279, 1283 (11th Cir. 2003)). Plaintiff's injury
occurred, by her own assertion, in 2005 or, at the latest,
2008. Clearly, Plaintiff knew, or should have known, at that
time who inflicted her injury. Yet, Plaintiff waited until
February 6, 2018, to file suit. As such, Plaintiff's
complaint is time-barred based upon any actions taken by
Judge Thomason occurring prior to February 8, 2016.
Plaintiff's complaint is time-barred, the undersigned
finds no reason to transfer the case to the Southern
District. Instead, the undersigned finds that ...