CAMM v. FAITH et al
ENTRY denying 135 Motion to Change Venue - The Court DENIES Camm's Motion to Transfer Venue (Filing No. 135). The litigation will continue to proceed in the New Albany Division. See Entry for additional details. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 6/6/2017. (MAT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
NEW ALBANY DIVISION
DAVID R. CAMM,
STANLEY O. FAITH, SEAN CLEMONS,
SAM SARKISIAN, JAMES NIEMEYER,
WILLIAM L. WALLS, ROBERT NEAL,
JAMES BIDDLE, JAMES HICKERSON,
MYRON WILKERSON, GARY GILBERT,
KEITH HENDERSON, STEVE OWEN,
ROBERT STITES, RODNEY ENGLERT,
ENGLERT FORENSIC CONSULTANTS,
LLC, UNKNOWN JOHN DOE AND JANE
DOE OFFICERS, and UNKNOWN
RICHARD AND ROBERTA ROE
Case No. 4:14-cv-00123-TWP-DML
ENTRY DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO TRANSFER
VENUE/CHANGE DIVISION FOR PURPOSES OF TRIAL
This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Transfer Venue filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a) by Plaintiff David R. Camm (“Camm”) (Filing No. 135). Camm filed this action against
numerous law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other individuals, asserting claims for
violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as well as state law
claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress,
negligent supervision, and respondeat superior. This case is pending in the New Albany Division,
the division in which Camm originally filed this action. Camm now moves the Court to transfer
venue from the New Albany Division to the Indianapolis Division for trial, asserting that he is
unfairly prejudiced in New Albany, Indiana because of the pretrial publicity this case has received.
Defendants oppose a change of venue. For the following reasons, the Motion to Transfer Venue
A party may seek change of venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which states, “[f]or
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.”
“[S]ection 1404(a) is intended to place discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions
for transfer according to a case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness. By the same
token, [appellate courts] grant a substantial degree of deference to the district court in deciding
whether transfer is appropriate.” Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int’l, Inc.,
626 F.3d 973, 977–78 (7th Cir. 2010) (citations and quotation marks omitted). The Seventh Circuit
has further explained,
The 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. The statute permits a flexible
and individualized analysis and affords district courts the opportunity to look
beyond a narrow or rigid set of considerations in their determinations.
Id. at 978 (citation and quotation marks omitted).
Concerning the factor of “convenience,” courts consider the availability of and access to
witnesses, each party’s access to and distance from resources in each forum, the location of
material events, and the relative ease of access to sources of proof. Id. “Where the balance of
convenience is a close call, merely shifting inconvenience from one party to another is not a
sufficient basis for transfer.” Id.
Concerning the factor of the “interest of justice,” courts consider the efficient
administration of the court system, docket congestion and likely speed to trial in each forum, each
court’s familiarity with the relevant law, the desirability of resolving controversies in each
location, and the relationship of each community to the controversy. Id.
Camm argues that transfer from the New Albany Division to the Indianapolis Division is
appropriate due to prejudicial pretrial publicity. He explains that he was indicted three times for
the murders of his wife and children and convicted twice in state court in Southern Indiana. Only
after his third trial, held in Boone County (Central Indiana), did the jury return a verdict of not
guilty. This not guilty verdict was returned following two appeals. Camm also points out that
Defendant Keith Henderson (“Henderson”), who prosecuted Camm’s second and third criminal
cases, was publicly reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court, for ethical violations related to
Camm’s multiple prosecutions, convictions, and appeals were widely publicized in the
local media in Southern Indiana. This civil action also has been mentioned in the Southern Indiana
media, including a news story about Camm’s settlement with some of the Defendants in this case.
Camm points out that a book and television programs have covered his criminal cases. He also
provides a sample of public comments left on a website covering Camm’s recent settlement with
some of the Defendants in this case. The comments show the strong feelings surrounding this civil
case. Camm asserts that “[s]electing a jury under these circumstances is bound to be extremely
difficult, if not impossible.” (Filing No. 135 at 5.) Camm believes he cannot receive a fair and
impartial trial in Floyd County, Indiana, which is the county where the New Albany Division
courthouse sits, “because of the current state of public opinion in Floyd County, precipitated by
what is now almost 20 years of pretrial publicity.” Id. at 1–2. Thus, he requests a change of venue
to the Indianapolis Division for trial.
In their response opposing the Motion, the Defendants assert that Camm has failed to make
any showing that a fair trial cannot be had in New Albany and that such a determination should be
made during voir dire. They further explain that the two jury trials that resulted in convictions
occurred in two different counties in Southern Indiana, not just in Floyd County. Their argument
also notes that potential jurors for the New Albany trial will come from numerous counties, not
just Floyd County and Warrick County where Camm had been previously convicted.
Concerning Henderson’s public reprimand for ethical violations, the Defendants assert that
“[t]here is no showing how a book that wasn’t published ten years ago affects potential jurors
today.” (Filing No. 136 at 3.) The Defendants note that Camm’s second criminal prosecution was
moved from Floyd County to Warrick County, almost one hundred miles from New Albany, and
was more likely to have been publicized in the Evansville media market than the New
Albany/Louisville (Kentucky) media market. Yet, Camm was still convicted following his second
criminal trial held outside the New Albany area.
Importantly, Defendants assert that Camm’s criminal cases have received media attention
not only in the New Albany/Louisville area but also throughout all of Indiana. The Defendants
point to media coverage in Indianapolis via The Indianapolis Star newspaper. Like New Albany,
the Indianapolis media covered Camm’s recent settlement with some of the Defendants in this
The Defendants point out that much of the media coverage is negative toward the
Defendants, not Camm. They further assert that there is no showing that the public comments that
are negative toward Camm are from any residents of the New Albany Division.
Regarding the interests of justice and the public interest, Defendants argue the
considerations generally do not favor one division over another. The efficient administration of
the court system, docket congestion, likely speed to trial, and the court’s familiarity with the
relevant law are immaterial because both the New Albany and Indianapolis Divisions are in the
same District and the case will be handled by the same Judge. However, Defendants assert that
the litigants’ interests favor a trial in New Albany as does the desirability of resolving the
controversy near the location of the events and the relationship of the community to the
controversy. The parties and witnesses live close to the New Albany courthouse, not Indianapolis.
It is more convenient and less expensive to have trial in New Albany rather than to incur the cost
of numerous witnesses and parties traveling to Indianapolis for a long trial. The evidence and
crime scene is near New Albany. Any witness in Louisville who needs to be subpoenaed would
be within reach in New Albany but beyond the 100-mile limit of Rule 45(c) if trial is in
Considering the entirety of both parties’ arguments, the Court determines that the
Defendants’ argument is well taken. There is much greater convenience and fairness to the
witnesses and parties in having the trial in New Albany. Evidence and the scene of the events are
near New Albany, not Indianapolis. The availability of witnesses and the ability to subpoena
witnesses in Louisville is important and points to keeping venue in New Albany.
considerations of the efficient administration of the court system do not favor one division over
another because changing venue from New Albany to Indianapolis would not provide a new
docket, new judge, or new court.
Camm acknowledges that the “national media” has covered his criminal cases, not just
local media. Camm further acknowledges that the public comments left on media websites “cut
both ways,” where some comments are critical of Camm and some are critical of the Defendants.
The pretrial publicity has occurred in both New Albany and Indianapolis, and it has been critical
of both Camm and the Defendants. Therefore, these facts do not favor one division over another.
The appropriate measure to ensure a fair and impartial jury is to complete a thorough and
thoughtful voir dire. Given these considerations, the Court determines that changing venue from
New Albany to Indianapolis is not necessary or appropriate.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Camm’s Motion to Transfer Venue (Filing
No. 135). The litigation will continue to proceed in the New Albany Division.
Daniel J. Canon
CLAY DANIEL WALTON & ADAMS
BRATTAIN MINNIX GARCIA
Garry R. Adams
CLAY DANIEL WALTON & ADAMS
John Anthony Molloy, III
BRATTAIN & MINNIX
Nikki G. Ashmore
INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Christopher Douglas Cody
HUME SMITH GEDDES GREEN & SIMMONS
David A. Arthur
INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Theodore J. Blanford
HUME SMITH GEDDES GREEN & SIMMONS
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?