Iotova et al v. Bharara et al
Opinion & Order signed by Judge James S. Gwin on 9/7/17. The Court grants plaintiffs' motion to proceed in forma pauperis, denies plaintiffs' motion to add party defendant Blanc Rome LLP and dismisses this action. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. (Related Doc. 1 ) (D,MA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
ANTOANETA IOTOVA, and
PREET BHARARA, et al.,
CASE NO. 1:17-CV-01570
OPINION & ORDER
[Resolving Doc. No. 1]
JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:
Pro se Plaintiff Antoaneta Iotova and Issak Almaleh, both Florida residents, filed this
action against United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Breet Bharara,
New York Federal Agent Jamie Brooks, and the Blanch Law Firm in New York. In the
Complaint, Plaintiffs allege the Defendants brought a criminal action against them in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York. They dispute the charges and
contend their prosecution is politically motivated. They ask this Court to rescind the Southern
District of New York’s order for restricted movement and pretrial electronic monitoring, to
declare their ongoing prosecution to be malicious and to order dismissal of the criminal charges
against them. They also seek an award of monetary damages.
Plaintiffs are charged in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and making false
statements to the FDIC.1 The indictment contends Plaintiffs incorporated for-profit and not-forprofit corporations in Wyoming and New York, and then fraudulently transferred foreclosed
properties owned by FDIC insured banks to those corporations. They then allegedly leased one
of the properties to unsuspecting tenants. That criminal proceeding is still pending. Plaintiffs
are currently released to their Florida home with electronic monitoring. Plaintiffs filed this
action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio asserting claims of
malicious prosecution against New York Defendants and asking this Court to intervene and stop
their prosecution in a New York federal court.
As an initial matter, this Court is not the proper venue for this action. A civil action may
be brought only in: (1) a judicial district where any Defendant resides, if all Defendants reside
in the state in which the Court is located, (2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or (3) if there is no district in which an
action may otherwise be brought as provided by this section, any judicial district in which any
Defendant is subject to the Court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to the action brought.2
Here, the Defendants all appear to reside in New York. The events giving rise to this Complaint
occurred in New York. Plaintiffs seek to add the Florida law firm of Blanc Rome, LLP as a
Defendant. The addition of this party would not make the Northern District of Ohio the proper
venue for this action. This case has no apparent connection to the state of Ohio. The Southern
United States v. Almaleh, No. 1:17-cr-0025 (SDNY indict filed Jan. 11, 2017)(McMahon,
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
District of New York, not the Northern District of Ohio, is the proper venue for this case.
An improperly venued action must be dismissed unless it is in the interest of justice that
it be transferred to a district or division in which it could have been brought.3 Plaintiffs are
challenging an on-going criminal prosecution. They can assert any challenges to those charges,
in the course of that criminal action. The Court finds that it would not be in the interest of
justice to transfer this matter, and this action is therefore dismissed.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is granted (Doc. No. 2),
their Motion to Add Party Defendant Blanc Rome LLP (Doc. No. 3) is denied and this action is
dismissed. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this
decision could not be taken in good faith.4
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: September 7, 2017
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a)
James S. Gwin
JAMES S. GWIN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) provides:
An appeal may not be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies that it is not
taken in good faith.
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