Wiglesworth v. Pagel et al
ORDER; Plaintiff's 98 Motion to Transfer Venue is DENIED, by Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya on 11/3/15.(morti, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya
Civil Action No. 13–cv–00957–KMT
BILLY JACK WIGLESWORTH,
CHRISTOPHER PAGEL, and
THE GEO GROUP, INC.,
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff’s “Motion to Transfer Venue” (Doc. No. 98,
filed October 2, 2015).
Plaintiff initially filed this action in Alaska state court, alleging he was “incarcerated
under an Alaska judgment at the Hudson Correctional Facility” in Hudson, Colorado. (See Doc.
No. 1-2 at 2-3, && 4-5.) Hudson Correctional Facility is a private correctional facility owned
and operated by GEO. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 2, & 3.) Defendant Pagel is employed by GEO and
resides in Colorado. (Id., & 3.) Defendants removed the action to the United States District
Court for the District of Alaska on January 16, 2013, on the basis of diversity jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). (Doc. No. 1-1.) On February 5, 2013, Defendants moved to
dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction or, in the alternative, transfer the case to the
District of Colorado. (Doc. No. 1-22.) On April 10, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District
of Alaska ordered the case, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), “[f]or the convenience of the parties
of witnesses, in the interest of justice,” be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of
Colorado. (Doc. No. 1-51 at 3–4.) Plaintiff now requests that this case be transferred back to the
United States District Court for the District of Alaska. (Doc. No. 98.)
A transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) lies within the discretion of the court. Wm. A.
Smith Contracting Co. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., 467 F.2d 662, 665 (10th Cir. 1972). The
court may transfer an action “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). However, the action can only be transferred to a district court
where the action might originally have been brought or to any district to which all parties have
consented. § 1404(a).
A civil action may only be brought where a court has personal jurisdiction over the
parties. See J. MacIntyre Mac. v. Nicastro, 131 S.Ct. 2780, 2785 (2011). The U.S. District
Court for the District of Alaska specifically denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss for
personal jurisdiction and instead transferred this case to the District of Colorado pursuant to §
1404(a). (Doc. No. 1-51 at 3.) Nevertheless, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska
determined that “personal jurisdiction exists in Colorado” because Plaintiff had named three
residents of Colorado, individual employees of Hudson Correctional Facility, and Plaintiff’s
claims alleged actions taken by the Colorado residents in Colorado. (Id. at 2.) Thus, because the
Alaska District Court did not have personal jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims, it was not a
proper venue for filing this action and does not qualify as a venue where the action might have
been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The defendants do not oppose Plaintiff’s motion; however,
they have not affirmatively consented to transfer the case back to the District of Alaska. (See
Doc. No. 101.) In any event, § 1404(a) does not allow a court to transfer a suit to a district that
lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendants, even if they consent to suit there. See Hoffman v.
Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 343–44 (1960); Morris v. Peterson, 759 F.2d 809, 812 (10th Cir. 1985).
Plaintiff’s motion does not meet the requirements for transfer of venue set forth under 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Therefore, it is
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s “Motion to Transfer Venue” (Doc. No. 98) is DENIED.
Dated this 3rd day of November, 2015.
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