The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barrington D. Parker, Jr., District Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Henry Hall brings this action against defendants
South Orange, Franklin Township, William Young, Detective Collum
and certain unknown defendants asserting both New York state law
claims of false imprisonment, battery, assault, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and violations of his Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Before this Court are defendants' motions to dismiss for improper
venue pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3) or to transfer venue
pursuant to either 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) or 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion to transfer
pursuant of § 1404(a) is granted.
This action arises out of the kidnaping of plaintiff Henry Hall
("Hall"), a resident of Kings County, New York, by defendant
William Young ("Young"), a retired South Orange police officer
and resident of New Jersey. On Sunday, May 24, 1998, while
leaving the Hampden Inn in Elmsford, New York, Hall was abducted
by Young who identified himself as a police officer and member of
a New Jersey fugitive squad who was enforcing a New Jersey
warrant for Hall's arrest. Plaintiff further alleges that Young
produced documents purporting to be an outstanding warrant for
Hall's arrest from Union City, New Jersey, and a criminal history
report from the South Orange and/or Franklin Township Police
Departments, both in New Jersey and both defendants in this
Young and an accomplice handcuffed the plaintiff, threw him
into the back seat of their car, injuring his shoulder, and
transported him to a warehouse in Newark, New Jersey, where he
was bound and blindfolded with duct tape. At the warehouse, Young
and his accomplice dragged plaintiff to a forklift and tied him
to a roll bar with electrical cord. Plaintiff was left in the New
Jersey warehouse for three hours, until the Newark police freed
him. Defendant Young was convicted of the kidnaping in a criminal
proceeding in this District.
The facts underlying plaintiff's claims against defendants
Franklin Township Police Department, Detective Collum and the
South Orange Police department are not stated in detail in the
complaint and are somewhat unclear. Plaintiff essentially alleges
that Young was improperly afforded access to New Jersey law
enforcement resources. The complaint further alleges that the
Township failed to properly train, supervise and discipline its
police officers and that such failure, in part, caused the events
referred to in the complaint.
Defendants move to dismiss this action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(3) for improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer
this action under either 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) or
28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Transfer is warranted under § 1404(a) only if venue is
proper in both the court transferring the action and the court to
which the action is transferred. Section 1404(a) provides that
"[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."
Section 1406(a) applies where the court in which the action was
filed lacks jurisdiction and must either dismiss or transfer the
action to an appropriate forum. Section 1406(a) provides, "[t]he
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."
28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
Before deciding defendants motions, we must first determine
whether jurisdiction is proper in this Court under the applicable
general venue statute. That inquiry will determine whether the
action should be dismissed or transferred under either 1404(a) or
Because plaintiff brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
violations of constitutional rights, subject matter jurisdiction
exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction
exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Consequently, the proper venue for
this case is defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), which provides that:
A civil action wherein jurisdiction is not founded
solely on diversity of citizenship may, except as
otherwise provided by law, be brought only in (1) a
judicial district where any defendant resides, if all
defendants reside in the same State, (2) a judicial
district in which a substantial part of the events or
omissions giving rise to the claim occurred . . ., or
(3) a judicial district in which any defendant may be
found, if there is no district in which the action
may otherwise be brought.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b); see also Bates v. C & S Adjusters, Inc.,
980 F.2d 865, 866-67 (2d Cir. 1992) (discussing legislative
history and judicial interpretation of § 1391(b)); Garrel v.
NYLCare Health Plans, Inc., No. 98 Civ. 9077(BSJ), 1999 WL
459925, at *3 (§ 1391(b) governs § 1981 claim); Goldenberg v.
Lee, No. 97 Civ. 5297(RJD), 1999 WL 390611, at *4 (E.D.N Y
Apr.15, 1999) (venue transferred under § 1391(b)(1) to Central
District of California, where defendant resides); Cobra Partners
L.P. v. Liegl, 990 F. Supp. 332, 333-34 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) (granting
transfer under § 1391(b)(1)); McDonald v. General Accident Ins.
Co., No. 96 Civ. 326, 1996 WL 590722, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. ...