Lewis v. Ashby
MEMORANDUM OPINION Regarding Venue. Signed by Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn on 7/2/12. (tkd, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
MATT ASHBY, Sergeant of Chambers
County Sheriff Office
MEMORANDUM OPINION REGARDING VENUE
The above-styled action was referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge for
all pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and General Order 05-07. Pro se Plaintiff Winston
Lewis brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Lewis complains that Defendant
Matt Ashby subjected Lewis to cruel and unusual punishment during a traffic stop in Chambers
County, Texas, in 2010.
The Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1981, et seq., under which this case is brought, does not
contain a specific venue provision. Accordingly, venue in civil rights cases is controlled by 28
U.S.C. § 1391. Jones v. Bailey, 58 F.R.D. 453 (N.D. Ga. 1972), aff'd per curium, 480 F.2d 805 (5th
When, as in this case, jurisdiction is not founded solely on diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1391 provides that venue is proper only in the judicial district where the defendant resides or in
which the claim arose. Lewis’s claim arose in Chambers County in Anahuac, Texas. Further, the
Defendant is employed at the Chambers County Sheriff's Office. When public officials are parties
to an action in their official capacities, they reside for venue purposes in the county where they
perform their official duties, which in this case is Chambers County, Texas. Holloway v. Gunnell,
685 F.2d 150 (5th Cir. 1982); Lowrey v. Estelle, 433 F.2d 265 (5th Cir. 1976).
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Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 124, Chambers County is in the Galveston Division of the Southern
District of Texas. As Chambers County is located in the Southern District of Texas, venue in the
Eastern District of Texas is not proper.
When venue is not proper, the court “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.” 28 U.S.C. §
1406(a). This case should be transferred to the Southern District of Texas. An appropriate order so
providing will be entered by the undersigned.
SIGNED this 2nd day of July, 2012.
United States Magistrate Judge
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