United States District Court, S.D. New York
COLLEEN McMAHON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
who alleges that he is a United States citizen residing in
Beijing, China, brings this action pro se. Plaintiff
asserts claims arising out of his 2015 judgment of divorce,
entered in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery
Division, Essex County Family Part. Plaintiff sues his
ex-wife, the Superior Court Judge who presided over the
divorce proceedings, and attorneys involved with the divorce
proceedings and sale of real property in New Jersey.
following reasons, this action is transferred to the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
the general venue provision, a civil action may be brought
(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 (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). For venue purposes, a
“natural person” resides in the district where
the person is domiciled. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c)(1).
filed this complaint asserting claims arising out of divorce
proceedings in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex
County, and out of the sale of real property in Nutley, New
Jersey. Plaintiff lists addresses for Defendants in New
Jersey Because Plaintiff alleges that Defendants reside
outside this District and that a substantial part of the
events or omissions underlying his claim arose outside this
District, venue does not appear to be proper in this District
under § 1391(b)(1) or (2).
venue were proper here, however, the Court may transfer
claims “[f]or the convenience of the parties and
witnesses, in the interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a). “District courts have broad discretion
in making determinations of convenience under Section 1404(a)
and notions of convenience and fairness are considered on a
case-by-case basis.” D.H. Blair & Co. v.
Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 106 (2d Cir. 2006). Moreover,
courts may transfer cases on their own initiative. See
Bank of Am., N.A. v. Wilmington Trust FSB, 943 F.Supp.2d
417, 426-427 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (“Courts have an
independent institutional concern to see to it that the
burdens of litigation that is unrelated to the forum that a
party chooses are not imposed unreasonably on jurors and
judges who have enough to do in determining cases that are
appropriately before them. The power of district courts to
transfer cases under Section 1404(a) sua sponte
therefore is well established.” (quoting Cento v.
Pearl Arts & Craft Supply Inc., No. 03-CV-2424, 2003
WL 1960595, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2003))); see also
Lead Indus. Ass'n. Inc. v. OSHA., 610 F.2d 70, 79
(2d Cir. 1979) (noting that “broad language of 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a) would seem to permit a court to order
transfer sua sponte”).
determining whether transfer is appropriate, courts consider
the following factors: (1) the convenience of witnesses; (2)
the convenience of the parties; (3) the locus of operative
facts; (4) the availability of process to compel the
attendance of the unwilling witnesses; (5) the location of
relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources
of proof; (6) the relative means of the parties; (7) the
forum's familiarity with the governing law; (8) the
weight accorded to the plaintiff's choice of forum; (9)
trial efficiency; and (10) the interest of justice, based on
the totality of circumstances. Keitt v. N.Y. City,
882 F.Supp.2d 412, 459-60 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); see also N.Y.
Marine and Gen. Ins. Co. v. LaFarge No. Am., Inc., 599
F.3d 102, 112 (2d Cir. 2010) (setting forth similar factors).
A plaintiff's choice of forum is accorded less deference
where plaintiff does not reside in the chosen forum and the
operative events did not occur there. See Iragorri v.
United Tech. Corp., 274 F.3d 65, 72 (2d Cir. 2001).
§ 1404(a), transfer appears to be appropriate in this
case. The underlying events occurred in New Jersey and have
no apparent connection to New York. Plaintiff's choice of
forum is also entitled to less deference because he does not
reside in this District and the operative events did not
is proper in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey. See 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b)(2). Based on the totality of the circumstances, the
Court concludes that it is in the interest of justice to
transfer this action to the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Clerk of Court is directed to transfer this action to the
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The Clerk of Court is further directed to mail a copy of this
order to Plaintiff, and note service on the docket. Whether
Plaintiff should be permitted to proceed further without
prepayment of fees is a determination to be made by the
transferee court. A ...