Williams, Derek v. Eckstein, Scott et al
ORDER that defendants' motion to dismiss or transfer, Dkt. 18 , is GRANTED in part. This case is transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The remainder of defendants' motion is DENIED. Signed by District Judge James D. Peterson on 11/18/2021. (kmd),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
DEREK M. WILLIAMS,
OPINION and ORDER
SCOTT ECKSTEIN, JOHN KIND,
WILLIAM SWIEKATOWSKI, and CHRIS HEIL,
Pro se plaintiff Derek M. Williams alleges that defendant prison officials at Green Bay
Correctional Institution retaliated against him for contacting elected officials about his
mistreatment in prison. Williams is now incarcerated at Columbia Correctional Institution.
Defendants move to dismiss this case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3), or in the
alternative, to transfer this case to the Eastern District of Wisconsin under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a)
because venue is improper in the Western District of Wisconsin. Dkt. 18.
A civil lawsuit must be brought in a proper venue, for which federal law provides three
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all
defendants are residents of the State in which the district is
(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 action.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). In this case, the first option isn’t satisfied; defendants have submitted
declarations establishing that none of them reside within the Western District. Dkt. 19 and
Dkt. 20. The second option isn’t met because all of the alleged events giving rise to Williams’s
claims took place at Green Bay Correctional Institution, which is within the Eastern District.
Dkt. 1. The third option is not satisfied because venue is proper in the Eastern District, based
on where the alleged violations took place. Williams has the burden of proving that venue is
proper in this district. Stechauner v. Toney, No. 20-cv-71-jdp, 2020 WL 5943703, at *1 (W.D.
Wis. Oct. 7, 2020) (citing Grantham v. Challenge-Cook Bros., Inc., 420 F.2d 1182, 1184 (7th Cir.
1969). He objects to transfer because he now resides in the Western District and is familiar
with this court’s procedures. But a plaintiff’s location and litigation preferences are not relevant
to whether venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
When venue is improper, the court must dismiss the case, or if it is in the interest of
justice, transfer the case to any district where it could have been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
I have screened Williams’s complaint and granted him leave to proceed on his claims, and
Williams says that he wishes to move forward with his case. So rather than dismiss Williams’s
case, I will transfer it to the Eastern District.
IT IS ORDERED that defendants’ motion to dismiss or transfer, Dkt. 18, is GRANTED
in part. This case is transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Wisconsin. The remainder of defendants’ motion is DENIED.
Entered November 18, 2021.
BY THE COURT:
JAMES D. PETERSON
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