Sims v. Gamble et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER re 20 MOTION to Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction filed by City of Bryan Texas, Alsie Bond. The Clerk of Court is directed to transfer venue of this civil action to the United States Court for the Southern District of Texas. Signed by Magistrate Judge Mark L Hornsby on 8/1/2017. (crt,Bunting, M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
RICK R. SIMS
CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-cv-0447
SHARON GAMBLE, ET AL
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HORNSBY
Rick Sims (“Plaintiff”), who is self-represented, brought this civil action against three
Texas citizens and the City of Bryan, Texas. He alleges in his original and amended
complaints that Sharon Gamble and Marni Holloway, employees of the Texas Department
of Housing and Community Affairs, violated the Fair Housing Act, Rehabilitation Act, and
the Americans With Disabilities Act in connection with the processing and denial of an
application that Plaintiff submitted for housing development financing for a development that
would house persons with disabilities and who are recovering from addiction. The complaint
also targets the City of Bryan and Alsie Bond, who is the Director of Community
Development for the City of Bryan.
The City of Bryan and Ms. Bond have filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
Bryan and Bond assert that they have had no purposeful contacts with Louisiana that would
allow this court to exercise personal jurisdiction over either of them. They also argue that
venue is improper because no defendant resides in this district, and a substantial part of the
events giving rise to the claims did not occur in this district.
Venue in a civil action is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391. It provides that a civil action
may be brought in “(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are
residents of the State in which the district is located; (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 (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
It appears that venue is proper in the Southern District of Texas (which encompasses
the City of Bryan, located in Brazos County) on the grounds that all of the defendants reside
in Texas. Even if not all defendants reside in Texas, venue is proper in the Southern District
of Texas because all of the claims in this lawsuit arise out of events that occurred in that
district. There is no basis to find that the Western District of Louisiana is a proper venue.
The mere fact that Plaintiff resides in this Louisiana district and sent some emails or made
phone calls from here that are related to the dispute is not sufficient to constitute a substantial
part of the facts giving rise to the claims.1
Furthermore, this court would almost certainly lack personal jurisdiction over the
City of Bryan, and it is very unlikely the court could exercise personal jurisdiction over
the individual defendants who have not been shown to have any meaningful presence in
or contacts with Louisiana. The mere fortuity that Plaintiff happened to live in Louisiana
and made some communications to the Texas defendants about the application process is
not enough to establish that any of the defendants purposefully directed her activities
toward Louisiana sufficient to establish minimum contacts with this state that would
allow this court to exercise personal jurisdiction. Patterson v. Dietze, Inc., 764 F.2d
Page 2 of 4
If a civil action is filed in an improper venue, the district court may dismiss the action
or, if it is in the interests of justice, transfer the case to any district or division in which it
could have been brought. 28 U.S.C. §1406(a). The court may take such action sua sponte.
Caldwell v. Palmetto State Sav. Bank of South Carolina, 811 F.2d 916, 919 (5th Cir. 1987);
Crawford v. Offshore Pipelines International, Ltd., 1998 WL 195989 (E. D. La. 1998). Even
if a civil action is filed in a permissible venue, the district court may transfer the action, for
the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests of justice, to any other district
where it might have been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Such transfers may be made sua
sponte. Mills v. Beech Aircraft Corp., Inc., 886 F.2d 758, 761 (5th Cir. 1989); Isbell v. D
M Records, Inc., 2004 WL 1243153 (N. D. Tex. 2004).
A transfer to the Southern District of Texas is appropriate in this case. That Texas
federal court is a proper venue for this case, this Louisiana court is not a proper venue, and
it would be a great convenience to the parties and witnesses if the case were litigated in a
Texas court located where all of the defendants reside, located where the events at issue
occurred, and that has the greater likelihood of being able to exercise personal jurisdiction
1145, 1147–48 (5th Cir.1985). The plaintiff cannot be the only link between the Texas
defendants and Louisiana. Rather, a defendant’s conduct must form the necessary
connection with Louisiana that is the basis for a Louisiana court to exercise personal
jurisdiction over the Texans. Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1122-1123 (2014). There
is no allegation or evidence of any such conduct directed at Louisiana by any defendant.
Page 3 of 4
over all relevant parties. Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is directed to transfer venue of this
civil action to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
THUS DONE AND SIGNED in Shreveport, Louisiana, this 1st day of August, 2017.
Page 4 of 4
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?