HAIRSTON v. MARTINSBURG VA MEDICAL CENTER et al
ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE. For the reasons set forth in the attached Order, is hereby ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall TRANSFER this case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. Signed by Judge Cathy Bissoon on 11/29/17. (kg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ARTHUR L. HAIRSTON, SR.,
MARTINSBURG VA MEDICAL
CENTER, et al.,
Civil Action No. 17-1517
Judge Cathy Bissoon
ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE
On November 21, 2017, Plaintiff Arthur L. Hairston, Sr. filed a Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis, attaching a Complaint and Motion for Appointment of Counsel.
(Doc. 1). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he resides in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Plaintiff is suing his employers at the VA Medical Center located in Martinsburg, West Virginia,
based on alleged violations of federal employment law that took place at that facility.
In cases such as this one, in which subject matter jurisdiction is not founded on the
parties’ diversity, the federal venue statute holds venue proper only in the following districts:
(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 matters.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
The Court finds that venue is improper in this district under any applicable analysis.
First, the Complaint reflects that all of the parties are located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Thus, the first requirement has not been met. Venue is also improper under the second
requirement since a “substantial part” of the events giving rise to Plaintiff’s claims did not occur
in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Venue also is inappropriate under the third requirement
because the defendants cannot be found in the Western District of Pennsylvania. In sum, this
district is an improper venue under § 1391(b) for the claims brought in this lawsuit. 1
Having determined that venue in this case is improper in this district, the Court must
decide whether to dismiss the case or transfer the case to a district where venue is properly laid
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). That statute provides:
The district court of a district in which is filed a case laying venue in the wrong
division or district shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such
case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.
As in initial matter, it is clear that this action could have been brought in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. Next, the Court must choose
whether to transfer the case to the Northern District of West Virginia or dismiss the case
outright. “In most cases of improper venue, the courts conclude that it is in the interest of justice
to transfer to a proper forum rather than to dismiss the litigation.” 14D Wright & Miller § 3827
at 540 (4th Ed. 2013); see also Holiday v. Bally’s Park Place, Inc., No. 06-4588, 2007 WL
2600877, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 10, 2007) (“Generally, transfer to a proper forum is preferable to
outright dismissal because it prevents repetitive motion practice and unnecessary costs.”). This
case is no different. Transfer in this case will save the time and expense associated with
The Court understands that Plaintiff may be confused by this because his charge of
discrimination was investigated by the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office of the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That investigation, however, does not render venue
appropriate in this district.
initiating a new lawsuit. See Decker v. Dyson, 165 Fed. Appx. 951, 954 n.3 (3d Cir. 2006)
(district court may sua sponte transfer under § 1406(a)).
For the reasons set forth herein, is hereby ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall
TRANSFER this case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of West
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 29, 2017
United States District Judge
cc (via ECF email notification):
All Counsel of Record
Via First-Class United States Mail to:
ARTHUR L. HAIRSTON, SR.
521 W. Race Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
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