Rhodes v. Corrections Corporation of America et al

Filing 13

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes on 1/30/17 ORDERING that 4 Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and this case is TRANSFERRED to the District of Arizona. (Dillon, M)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 GRANT CHARLES RHODES, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 No. 2:16-cv-1763 GEB DB P v. ORDER CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants. 16 17 Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights 18 19 action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges prison staff videotaped him during group strip 20 searches in violation of prison policy and his constitutional rights. Defendant Corrections 21 Corporation of America (“CCA”) moves to dismiss, or transfer this case to the District of 22 Arizona, on the grounds venue is inappropriate in the Eastern District of California. For the 23 foregoing reasons, this court finds venue is appropriate in Arizona and orders this case transferred 24 there. BACKGROUND 25 Plaintiff is a California state prisoner who is housed at the La Palma Correctional Center 26 27 (“LPCC”) in Elroy, Arizona. Plaintiff originally filed this action on February 25, 2016, in 28 //// 1 1 Sacramento County Superior Court against CCA1 and the California Department of Corrections 2 and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”). (ECF No. 1-1.) Petitioner complains he was subjected to 3 videotaped, group strip searches by LPCC staff in violation of his constitutional rights and CCA 4 and CDCR policies. Defendant CCA removed the action to federal court on the basis of subject 5 matter jurisdiction, alleging that plaintiff’s complaint can be fairly read to allege a civil rights 6 violation under 28 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1-4.) On August 3, 2016, CCA filed the present 7 motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 4.) 8 MOTION TO DISMISS OR TRANSFER VENUE 9 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) a civil action may be brought in the following districts: 10 (1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located; 11 (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 12 13 (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. 14 15 16 Plaintiff asserts claims arising out of events that occurred at LPCC. Any witnesses to 17 these strip searches would be other inmates or staff at LPCC in Arizona. Plaintiff’s complaint 18 does not contain allegations regarding any violations of his constitutional rights occurring in 19 California or at the hands of any CDCR employees. Plaintiff states that he will have witnesses 20 who are CDCR representatives and others who are incarcerated in CDCR prisons in California. 21 (See Pl.’s Oppo. (ECF No. 8) at 2.) However, those witnesses would not involve the core 22 allegations of plaintiff’s complaint. 23 Plaintiff also expresses concern that CCA has not served this motion on CDCR. 24 However, as CCA points out, CDCR has not yet been served with a copy of the complaint and 25 therefore has not appeared in this action. In fact, it is not clear what CDCR’s role in this case will 26 27 28 1 CCA runs LPCC pursuant to a correctional services agreement with the State of California. CCA is a Maryland Corporation, with its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. (Resp.’s Mot. (ECF No. 4) at 3.) 2 1 be. As stated above, plaintiff does not allege violations of his rights be CDCR. Moreover, in his 2 complaint, plaintiff states that he will “later give CDCR the opportunity to become a nonparty by 3 providing assistance, documenting CDCR Procedure for strip search, in that CDCR does not 4 conduct Group videotaped strip searches.” (Compl. (ECF No. 1-1 at 17).) 5 Plaintiff does not dispute that “a substantial part of the events . . . giving rise to the claim” 6 occurred in Arizona. Therefore, venue is most appropriate in that district. See 28 U.S.C. § 7 1391(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (venue may be transferred “[f]or the convenience of the parties and 8 witnesses”). 9 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant CCA’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF 10 No. 4) be granted in part and this case be transferred to the District of Arizona. 28 U.S.C. § 11 1406(a). 12 Dated: January 30, 2017 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DLB:9 DLB1/prisoner-civil rights/rhod1763.venue or 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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