CMH Homes, Inc. et al v. Pyke et al
ORDER denying 7 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. Signed by District Judge Keith Starrett on 9/28/2017 (srd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
CMH HOMES, INC. and SOUTHERN
ENERGY HOMES, INC.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:17-CV-77-KS-MTP
RICHARD DOUGLAS PYKE and
CHRISTINE ROMANO PYKE
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter
Jurisdiction and Improper Venue or, in the Alternative, to Transfer Venue (“Motion to Dismiss”)
 filed by Defendants Richard Douglas Pyke and Christine Romano Pyke. After reviewing the
submissions of the parties, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that this motion is
not well taken and should be denied.
This action is centered around the purchase of a manufactured home by Defendants Richard
Douglas Pyke and Christine Romano Pyke (collectively “Defendants”) from Plaintiffs CMH
Homes, Inc., and Southern Energy Homes, Inc. (collectively “Plaintiffs”).
The home was
purchased by Plaintiffs in April 2016. One of the agreements signed by parties at the time of
purchase was a Binding Dispute Resolution Agreement. Shortly after purchase, Defendants
contacted Plaintiffs concerning the condition of the home after delivery. Subsequently, on May
19, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Petition  seeking for an order compelling arbitration, pursuant to
§ 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 4. Defendants now bring challenges to the
ripeness of this suit and to venue.
Defendants argue that the Petition  is due to be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) because it is not yet ripe. As ripeness is a jurisdictional issue, the Court must
address this argument first. See Choice Inc. of Tex. v. Greenstein, 691 F.3d 710, 714 (5th Cir.
Defendants contend that the issue of arbitration is not ripe for judicial adjudication because
no other proceeding is pending against Plaintiffs. In response, Plaintiffs argue that ripeness is
decided by the issues in the underlying dispute that they seek to have arbitrated. Both sides cite
multiple out-of-circuit authorities in support of their arguments; however, the Court need not
consider any of them as the Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit have already definitively answered
Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 129
S. Ct. 1262, 173 L.Ed.2d 206 (2009), we must . . . “look through” the petition to
compel arbitration in order to determine whether the underlying dispute presents a
sufficiently ripe controversy to establish federal jurisdiction. At issue in Vaden, as
in this case, was § 4 of the FAA, which “provides for United States district court
enforcement of arbitration agreements.”
Lower Colorado River Auth. v. Papalote Creek II, L.L.C., 858 F.3d 916, 922 (5th Cir. 2017)
(quoting Vaden, 556 U.S. at 58, 129 S. Ct. 1262). Because this case is brought under § 4 of the
FAA, just like Vaden and Lower Colorado, to decide if the case is ripe for adjudication, the Court
looks at the underlying dispute, not the issue of arbitration.
Defendants make no argument that the underlying dispute is not ripe for adjudication. Nor
does the Court believe a genuine dispute exists as the ripeness of the underlying dispute. “The key
considerations [for ripeness] are the fitness of the issues for judicial review and the hardship to the
parties of withholding court consideration. A case is generally ripe if any remaining questions are
purely legal ones; conversely, a case is not ripe if further factual development is required.” New
Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v. Council of City of New Orleans, 833 F.2d 583, 586-87 (5th Cir. 1987)
(internal citations and quotations omitted). The dispute Plaintiffs seek to have arbitrated is
centered around the purchase of a manufactured home and the accompanying warranties and
agreements. That transaction has been completed, and the home was subsequently delivered to
Defendants. The dispute concerns the condition of the home and Plaintiffs’ obligations to
Defendants stemming from the agreements made at the time of purchase. No further factual
development is needed, and the issues of whether Plaintiffs breached the agreements and
warranties are fit for judicial review. Nothing about the underlying dispute leads the Court to
believe that there is no actual controversy so as to make it not ripe for adjudication.
The Motion to Dismiss  will therefore be denied as to the issue of ripeness.
Defendants argue that venue in the Eastern Division of the Southern District of Mississippi
is improper and that the case should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(3) or transferred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406.
Defendants’ main argument that venue is improper in the Eastern Division is that venue is
proper in the Southern Division. This argument ignores generally accepted venue jurisprudence
that holds that venue in one district may be proper even when venue in a different district would
have been “equally correct.” See Checki v. Webb, 785 F.2d 534, 537-38 (5th Cir. 1986). It does
not matter for the Court’s analysis whether venue in the Southern Division is proper. Rather, the
Court’s analysis must center on what makes venue in the Eastern Division proper.
In relevant part, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) states that a civil action may be brought where “a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred.” Defendants do not
dispute that the manufactured home was purchased in the Eastern Division. As the underlying
dispute centers on the purchase of this home and the obligations stemming from the agreements
made during that purchase, “a substantial part” of the events on which the claims are based must
have occurred in the Eastern Division. Therefore, venue is proper in the Eastern Division, and the
Motion to Dismiss  will also be denied as to Defendants’ venue arguments.1
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Motion to Dismiss  is
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED, on this, the 28th day of September, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Defendants make an additional argument of forum non conveniens in their Reply. This argument was not presented
in their original motion and will not be considered now. See Vais Arms, Inc. v. Vai, 383 F.3d 287, 292 (5th Cir. 2004)
(quoting S.W. Bell Tel. Co. v. City of El Paso, 346 F.3d 541, 545 (5th Cir. 2003)) (holding that new evidence and
arguments presented for the first time in a reply brief should not be considered unless the Court “give[s] the nonmovant an adequate opportunity to respond prior to ruling”).
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