Lindsey v. Wilson et al
Entry Transferring Case to the Northern District of Indiana - In sum, the relevant factors both weigh in favor of transferring this case to the Northern District of Indiana. The plaintiff's objection [dkt. 9] is therefore denied and the above action is now TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana at South Bend, Indiana. **SEE ORDER** Copy to Plaintiff via U.S. Mail. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 8/18/2016.(JLS)[Transferred from Indiana Southern on 8/19/2016.]
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
JOSHUA P LINDSEY,
Entry Transferring Case to the Northern District of Indiana
Plaintiff Joshua Lindsey brought this action in state court against two employees of the
Indiana Department of Correction, asserting constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
regarding his placement in solitary confinement at Westville Correctional Facility (“Westville”)
where he is currently incarcerated. Westville is located in LaPorte County, Indiana, which lies in
the South Bend Division of the Northern District of Indiana. 28 U.S.C. § 94(a)(2).
The defendants removed this action from state court to this Court. On August 1, 2016, the
Court ordered the parties to show cause why this case should not be transferred to the Northern
District of Indiana pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The Court noted that the Northern District of
Indiana appears to be the most convenient forum and that the interests of justice appear to support
transferring this case to that District because the result of the alleged misconduct, the plaintiff, and
the evidence all appear to be located in the Northern District of Indiana where the plaintiff was
and remains incarcerated. Moreover, the Court noted that there are no allegations connecting the
alleged conduct to the Southern District of Indiana other than the happenstance that certain IDOC
officials work from the IDOC central office located in the Southern District of Indiana.
Both parties responded to the Court’s show cause order. The defendants agree that the
interests of justice support transferring this action to the Northern District of Indiana. The plaintiff
objects to the transfer of this action, arguing primarily that venue is proper in this District pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). The Court agrees that venue is proper under § 1391; but the show cause
order focused on whether the action should be transferred pursuant to § 1404(a), not whether venue
is proper here.
Section 1404(a) provides: “For 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 or to any district or division to which all parties have consented.” This
“statutory language guides the court’s evaluation of the particular circumstances of each case and
is broad enough to allow the court to take into account all factors relevant to convenience and/or
the interests of justice.” Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Intern., Inc., 626 F.3d
973, 978 (7th Cir. 2010). As to convenience, “courts generally consider the availability of and
access to witnesses, and each party’s access to and distance from resources in each forum,” as well
as the “location of material events and the relative ease of access to sources of proof.” Id.
Regarding the second consideration—the interests of justice—“courts look to factors including
docket congestion and likely speed to trial in the transferor and potential transferee forums; each
court’s relative familiarity with the relevant law; the respective desirability of resolving
controversies in each locale; and the relationship of each community to the controversy.” Id.
The convenience considerations weigh heavily in favor of the Northern District of Indiana,
as the plaintiff, the evidence, and the material events are all located or occurred at Westville, where
the plaintiff remains incarcerated.
His claims revolve around his placement in solitary
confinement at Westville. Moreover, he admitted in his complaint that he did not exhaust his
administrative remedies by filing grievances at Westville before filing this action, making it a near
certainty that this issue will have to be litigated before the merits of his suit. See Pavey v. Conley,
544 F.3d 739, 742 (7th Cir. 2008). The evidence and witnesses as to this issue are also almost
certainly located at Westville. The plaintiff notably does not argue that the Northern District of
Indiana is an inconvenient district to litigate, nor could he, as he and all the evidence in his
possession are located there. Therefore, the convenience considerations strongly weigh in favor
The interests of justice also weigh in favor of transferring this action to the Northern
District of Indiana. There is no reason to think that either District is more familiar with the relevant
law or that one district will provide a meaningfully speedier resolution of the plaintiff’s case.
Furthermore, it is in the community’s interests and thus the interests of justice that prisoners
located in correctional institutions in the Northern District complaining about the conditions of
their confinement in the Northern District have their claims adjudicated in that District.
Accordingly, the interests of justice factor also favors transfer.
The plaintiff’s arguments as to why this case should not be transferred are unpersuasive;
he notably does not provide any basis to view the convenience and interests of justice factors any
differently than that set forth above. The only arguably relevant fact to which he points is that the
defendants reside in this District; but the defendants believe convenience and the interests of
justice favor transfer to the Northern District.
The plaintiff also contends that multiple Judges of the Northern District are not impartial.
The Court does not accept that representation, nor does it accept this as a basis not to transfer this
action when the relevant factors favor transfer.
Finally, the plaintiff suggests that this case also challenges his placement in solitary
confinement while he was incarcerated at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility and Pendleton
Correctional Facility—both of which are located in this District—over the course of the past eight
years. But there are several difficulties with this argument, all of which reveal this argument as a
misplaced effort to avoid transfer.
For example, the plaintiff’s own documentary evidence reveals that it was not either of two
defendants sued in this action that were involved in his earlier placements into solitary
confinement, so this case could not involve his placement in solitary confinement at those
facilities. In fact, the plaintiff has previously sued those individuals, Tom Hanlon and James Winn,
in this District regarding his placement in solitary confinement during his time at Pendleton
Correctional Facility. The plaintiff filed that action in the Northern District of Indiana, but that
Court transferred the action to this District since Pendleton Correctional Facility is located here.
See No. 1:15-cv-158-SEB-MJD, Dkt. 6 (S.D. Ind.). The action was ultimately dismissed as
malicious because the judge found that plaintiff continued to file fraudulent documents despite the
Court’s warnings not to do so in that case and in others. See id.; No. 2:13-cv-390-JMS-WGH
(S.D. Ind.). For this additional reason, plaintiff cannot re-litigate those claims in this action.
Moreover, the documents submitted by the plaintiff reveal that claims regarding those facilities
would, in any event, be barred by the statute of limitations. See Serino v. Hensley, 735 F.3d 588,
590 (7th Cir. 2013). Thus the plaintiff’s attempt to tie this case to this District by arguing that it
will involve claims regarding his previous placement in solitary confinement at other facilities is
In sum, the relevant factors both weigh in favor of transferring this case to the Northern
District of Indiana. The plaintiff’s objection [dkt. 9] is therefore denied and the above action is
now TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana at
South Bend, Indiana.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
JOSHUA P LINDSEY
WESTVILLE - CF
WESTVILLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
5501 South 1100 West
WESTVILLE, IN 46391
Electronically Registered Counsel
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