Chung v. Grace Road Church et al
ORDER; Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration re 45 Order on Motion for Extension of Time is DENIED. Oral argument will proceed on 12/9/2014. Signed by Judge Janet Bond Arterton on 12/8/2014. (Morril, Gregory)[Transferred from Connecticut on 12/10/2014.]
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
GRACE ROAD CHURCH, et al.,
Civil No. 3: 13cv1760(JBA)
December 8, 2014
RULING ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE
ORDER DENYING THE JOINT MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
Defendants move [Doc. # 46] for reconsideration of the Court’s Order [Doc. # 45]
denying the parties’ Joint Motion [Doc. # 45] for Extension of Time, seeking to postpone
oral argument on Defendants’ Motion [Doc. # 23] to Dismiss, scheduled for December 9,
2014. For the reasons that follow, Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration is denied.
In their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants contended both that there is no personal
jurisdiction over them in Connecticut and that venue lies only in the Eastern District of
New York. (See Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 5.) The parties have been permitted to conduct
limited discovery related to jurisdictional facts, including the deposition of Myung-Hee
Chung, which was completed after the parties submitted briefing on Defendants’ Motion
to Dismiss. (See Jt. Mot. Extension of Time at 1–2; Pl.’s Opp’n to Mot. Dismiss [Doc.
# 32] at 6.) In denying the Joint Motion for Extension of Time, the Court stated that it
would proceed with oral argument addressing the question of whether venue lies in this
District and, if necessary, it would set a schedule for supplemental briefing and further
oral argument on the remaining grounds for dismissal asserted by Defendants, including
personal jurisdiction. (Order Denying Jt. Mot. for Extension of Time.)
Defendants now contend that “the Court should first determine whether it has
personal jurisdiction over the Defendants before venue is considered,” because “‘[t]he
question of personal jurisdiction, which goes to the court’s power to exercise control over
the parties, is typically decided in advance of venue.’” (Mot. Reconsideration at 1
(quoting Leroy v. Great W. United Corp., 443 U.S. 173, 180 (1979).) But as Defendants
note, the Supreme Court held in Leroy that “when there is a sound prudential justification
for doing so,” such as when the question of personal jurisdiction is “more difficult,” “a
court may reverse the normal order of considering personal jurisdiction and venue.” 443
U.S. at 180.
Given that the Court’s original Order is consistent with the authority cited by
Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration, Defendants have not met the “strict” standard
for reconsideration, which should be granted only if “the moving party can point to
controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked—matters, in other words, that
might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court.” Shrader v.
CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). Although this could be the end of the
matter, the Court also notes that there is sound prudential justification for addressing the
question of venue first, because if the Court concludes that a “substantial part” of the
underlying events in this action took place in the Eastern District of New York only, see
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2)1, where Defendants do not dispute that personal jurisdiction lies, it
would not need to conduct the more detailed examination of whether Defendants had
sufficient “minimum contacts” with Connecticut to support personal jurisdiction. See
Gulf Ins. Co. v. Glasbrenner, 417 F.3d 353, 356–57 (2d Cir. 2005) (“That means for venue
to be proper, significant events or omissions material to the plaintiff’s claim must have
occurred in the district in question, even if other material events occurred elsewhere. It
would be error, for instance, to treat the venue statute’s ‘substantial part’ test as mirroring
the minimum contacts test employed in personal jurisdiction inquiries.”). Therefore, the
Court will exercise its discretion to consider venue first. See Basile v. Walt Disney Co.,
717 F. Supp. 2d 381, 385 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (“[I]t seems prudentially appropriate to address
venue first since a decision to transfer would render personal jurisdiction analysis with
respect to this district irrelevant.”); Pancoast v. Lee, 306 F. App’x 652 (2d Cir. 2009)
(noting that a district court has “authority, notwithstanding the absence of personal
jurisdiction, to transfer [a] case pursuant to § 1406(a) if the interests of justice so
Accordingly, Defendants’ Motion [Doc. # 46] for Reconsideration is DENIED.
Oral argument will proceed on December 9, 2014 at which point counsel for the parties
Venue could also lie in this District under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(3), which provides
that “if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in
this section,” venue lies in “any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the
court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.” But resort to § 1391(b)(3) is
appropriate “‘only if neither § 1391(a)(1) or (2) can be satisfied.’” Doctor’s Associates, Inc.
v. Stuart, 85 F.3d 975, 983 (2d Cir. 1996). It is undisputed that venue does not lie under
§ 1391(a)(1), because none of the defendants reside in Connecticut.
are free to bring to the Court’s attention any significant testimony from Ms. Chung’s
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Janet Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.
Dated at New Haven, Connecticut this 8th day of December, 2014.
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