United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division, Lafayette
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Due to Improper Venue or
Alternatively to Transfer [DE 7], filed on August 20, 2019,
by Defendant Robert Wilkie. Plaintiff Mark Durham Kroll,
pro se, filed a response on September 12, 2019, and
Defendant filed a reply on September 19, 2019. Plaintiff
filed a sur-response on November 8, 2019.
motion, Defendant requests dismissal for improper venue
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) or, in
the alternatively, transfer of this case to the United States
District Court for the District of Montana under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1406(a). “When a defendant challenges venue, the
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing proper
venue.” Allstate Life Ins. Co. v. Stanley W. Burns,
Inc., 80 F.Supp.3d 870, 875 (N.D. Ill. 2015) .
has sued Defendant for employment discrimination in violation
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e to 20003-17. (Compl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 1).
Title VII has a venue provision which governs cases such as
Plaintiff's, and this provision is narrower than the
general venue provision found in 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
Moore v. City of Kankakee, No. 14-cv-5440, 2015 WL
2455116, at *1 (N.D. Ill. May 22, 2015) (citing Thomas v.
Exxon Mobil Oil Corp, No. 2:06-cv-144, 2007 WL 489225,
at *4 (N.D. Ind. Feb. 8, 2007)).
VII employment discrimination cases may be brought (1)
“in any judicial district in the State in which the
unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been
committed, ” (2) “in the judicial district in
which the employment records relevant to such practice are
maintained and administered, ” or (3) “in the
judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have
worked but for the alleged unlawful employment
practice.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). Further,
“if the respondent is not found within any such
district, such an action may be brought within the judicial
district in which the respondent has his principal
notes that Plaintiff does not allege that any unlawful
employment practice took place in Indiana and that, based on
Plaintiff's complaint and exhibits, all of the alleged
events took place in Montana. There is no allegation that the
relevant employment records are maintained and administered
in the Northern District of Indiana, and the allegations are
that Plaintiff's work would have continued in Montana but
for employment discrimination.
counters that he has filed suit in a proper venue. He also
argues that Secretary Wilkie's office is located in
Washington, D.C. He also identifies the comparative
populations of Helena, Montana; Hammond, Indiana; the state
of Montana; and the state of Indiana and notes that the Fort
Harrison V.A. is a major employer for the Helena, Montana,
area. Plaintiff argues that the importance of the Fort
Harrison V.A. to the Helena area may lead to partiality by
the Montana District Court. Plaintiff also states that it is
financially difficult for him to travel to Montana for Court
hearings. He further identifies that there are V.A.
facilities within the Northern District of Indiana and that
national networking of computers means that any documents
needed for this case are just as available in this district
as they are in the District of Montana and witnesses can be
deposed telephonically. However, none of Plaintiff's
specific arguments change the fact that, on the record before
the Court, Indiana does not qualify as a venue under any of
Title VII's venue statute's provisions.
Court understands that keeping this case in the Northern
District of Indiana would be more convenient for Plaintiff,
but the Court does not have the discretion to keep the case
here in contravention of the venue provision provided by
statute in Title VII. Because the unlawful employment
practice is not alleged to have been committed in Indiana,
because there is no allegation or other indication that
employment records relevant to the unlawful employment
practice are maintained and administered in Indiana, because
Plaintiff would not have worked in Indiana but for the
alleged unlawful employment practice, and because, as
Plaintiff notes, Defendant's principal office is in
Washington, D.C., venue is not proper in Indiana.
the Court is left with the options of dismissing this case or
transferring it to a district in which Plaintiff could have
brought suit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). The
Court finds that, in the interest of justice, the case should
be transferred. On the information before the Court, this
case could have been brought in the District of Montana. The
Court is unaware of any other judicial district in which
venue would be proper, so the Court will transfer this case
to the District of Montatna.
the Court hereby GRANTS Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Due to Improper
Venue or Alternatively to Transfer [DE 7] and
ORDERS this case to be
TRANSFERRED to ...