Larsen v. Wellness Path Medical et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: The court finds that this action, including Larsen's "emergency motion," is not properly adjudicated in the Middle District of Tennessee. The Clerk is DIRECTED to TRANSFER this action to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Further proceedings related to the filing fee and Larsen's pending motions will be taken up in the receiving court. Signed by District Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 11/13/23. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail. ) (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(ad)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
JENNIFER WIDENER LARSEN,
WELLNESS PATH MEDICAL, et al.,
Case No. 3:23-cv-01155
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This action was opened on November 1, 2023, when Jennifer Widener Larsen, an inmate
of the Weld County Jail in Greeley, Colorado, filed a pro se pleading purporting to be a habeas
corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. No. 1) and an application for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis (IFP). (Doc. No. 2.) Larsen has since filed an “Emergency Motion to Multidistrict
Transfer from SCOTUS Seven Traffic Infractions and Vacate” her detention in the Weld County
Jail (Doc. No. 5), as well as a motion “to revise/amend” the emergency motion (Doc. No. 7),
whereby she seeks to be moved “to non jail protective custody stat!” because of the conditions of
her confinement, which allegedly include “toxic levels [of] black mold,” “medical malpractice,”
unavailable medications, and assault by a jail guard. (Doc. No. 5 at 3–4.) Although her filings are
difficult to understand, it appears that Larsen is attempting to challenge her detention on charges
out of Larimer County, Colorado (see Doc. No. 1 at 2), via an action she believes is properly filed
in this district because the Weld County Jail’s medical provider is “Wellness Path Medical”
(referred to on a civil cover sheet as “WellPath Medical Corporation”), a Tennessee corporation.
(See id. at 7; Doc. No. 5 at 1–2.)
Wellpath Medical, Inc. (“Wellpath”) is in fact headquartered in Nashville, 1 within this
judicial district. But even if this action were construed as an attempt to challenge unlawful
conditions of Larsen’s confinement attributable to Wellpath, rather than the legality of the
confinement itself, venue in this judicial district would not be proper. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b),
venue is proper in: (1) a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in
the same state; (2) a district where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the
claim occurred or a substantial part of the property in question is situated; or (3) if there is no other
district in which the plaintiff may bring the action, a district where any defendant is subject to the
court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to such action. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). A court considering
the issue of venue must initially determine whether the case falls within one of these three
categories. Atl. Marine Const. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for W. Dist. of Texas, 571 U.S. 49, 56 (2013).
“[I]f it does not, venue is improper, and the case must be dismissed or transferred under § 1406(a),”
id., which prescribes this outcome for “a case laying venue in the wrong division or district.” 28
U.S.C. § 1406(a).
Here, Larsen names three “defendants”: Wellpath, WCSO Sheriff Steve Reams, and LCSO
Sheriff Heyer. (Doc. No. 1 at 9.) Wellpath is a Tennessee corporation. Steve Reams is the Sheriff
of Weld County, Colorado, where Larsen is confined. 2 “LCSO Sheriff Heyer” is likely a mistaken
reference to John Feyen, the Sheriff of Larimer County, Colorado, where Larsen is apparently
being prosecuted. 3 These three do not all reside in the same state. The events or omissions giving
rise to Larsen’s conditions-of-confinement claims occurred or are occurring in Colorado, which
See https://wellpathcare.com/contact/ (last visited Nov. 11, 2023).
See https://www.weldsheriff.com/Divisions/Administration/Command-Staff (last visited Nov. 11, 2023).
See https://www.larimer.gov/sheriff (last visited Nov. 11, 2023).
“constitutes one judicial district.” 28 U.S.C. § 85. And there does not appear to be any reason why
Larsen could not have brought this action in the District of Colorado, which is also the appropriate
venue for this case if it is what it purports to be––a challenge to the legality of Larsen’s
confinement under § 2241––because such an action is only properly filed in the federal district of
confinement. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 443– (2004) (upholding “general rule that for
core habeas petitions challenging present physical confinement, jurisdiction lies in only one
district: the district of confinement”).
For these reasons, the court finds that this action, including Larsen’s “emergency motion,”
is not properly adjudicated in the Middle District of Tennessee. The Clerk is DIRECTED to
TRANSFER this action to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Further
proceedings related to the filing fee and Larsen’s pending motions will be taken up in the receiving
It is so ORDERED.
Aleta A. Trauger
United States District Judge
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