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Cabellero v. Taylor

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

June 13, 2013

ARTHUR CABELLERO, Plaintiff,
v.
LAURA M. TAYLOR, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Arthur Cabellero's ("Cabellero") filed suit against defendant Laura M. Taylor ("Taylor") alleging that she violated his constitutional rights by forcing him to sign an Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act Notification Form under duress. Taylor moves to dismiss Cabellero's complaint for improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer the case for the convenience of parties. For the following reasons, Taylor's motion is denied.

Background

In 1999, plaintiff Cabellero was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to twenty-one years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Cabellero served part of his sentence with the Illinois River Correctional Facility ("Illinois River") located in the County of Fulton, Illinois. Cabellero had a difficult time during his stay at Illinois River, frequently getting into fights with fellow inmates and verbal altercations with Illinois River guards.

In March 2009, Cabellero was released on parole. However, not long after his release, Cabellero was arrested again for Driving Under the Influence and was re-incarcerated for violating the terms of his parole. Although Cabellero's second stay at Illinois River was better than his first, he continued to get into altercations. On January 28, 2011 Cabellero was to be released again from Illinois River. Defendant Taylor was responsible for interviewing him and preparing the necessary paperwork for his release. Cabellero alleges that Taylor intentionally and maliciously forced him to sign an Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act Notification Form, knowing that he had not been convicted of any sex related offenses. Cabellero alleges that Taylor forced him to sign the form under duress and threatened that he would not be released unless he signed the form. Cabellero signed the form and was later registered as a sex offender when he returned home in the Northern District of Illinois ("Northern District"). Subsequently, Cabellero hired an attorney to assist him in getting his name removed from the Illinois Sex Offender List. The attorney successfully had his name removed.

Cabellero alleges that he suffered emotional distress and that his registration as a sex offender effected his employment opportunities. Cabellero alleges further that evidence of him being registered as a sex offender was used against his fiance in determining custody of her son. Cabellero brings forth this instant action arguing that Taylor violated his constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Taylor moves to dismiss Cabellero's complaint for improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the Central District of Illinois ("Central District").

Legal Standard

Initially, Taylor moves to dismiss Cabellero's complaint for improper venue. Rule 12(b)(3) allows a party to move for dismissal of an action when it is not filed in the proper venue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that venue is proper. Marzano v. Proficio Mortg. Ventures, LLC, No. 12 C 7696, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60108, at *8-9 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 25, 2013). When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(3) motion to dismiss, the Court resolves all factual disputes and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Nagel v. ADM Investor Servs., 995 F.Supp. 837, 843 (N.D. Ill. 1998). When venue is improper, the Court "shall dismiss [the case], 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).

In the alternative, Taylor moves to transfer Cabellero's case to the Central District. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides "for the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have consented." The court may transfer venue when "(1) venue is proper in both the transferor and transferee court; (2) transfer is for the convenience of the parties and witnesses; and (3) transfer is in the interests of justice." Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. v. Rock-Tenn Co., No. 02 C 7491, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14691, at *10 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2003).

Discussion

Taylor first moves to dismiss Cabellero's complaint for improper venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), a civil action may be brought in: (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 action. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) entitles the court to dismiss or transfer a case filed in an improper venue.

The parties dispute whether venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). In her motion to dismiss Taylor argues that venue is improper pursuant to § 1391(b)(2) because none of the events giving rise to Cabellero's claims occurred in the Northern District. Cabellero argues that venue here is proper because all the events concerning the publishing of the sex offender information and alleged damages occurred here in the Northern District.

For venue to be proper under § 1391(b)(2), only a "substantial, " not a majority, part of the events giving rise to the claim need occur in the venue. See Caldera Pharms., Inc. v. Los Alamos Nat'l Sec., LLC, 844 F.Supp.2d 926 (N.D. Ill. 2012). "If the selected district's contacts are substantial, ' it should make no difference that another's are more so, or the most so." Id. Furthermore, § 1391(a)(2) may be satisfied "by a communication transmitted to or from the district in which the cause of action was filed, given a sufficient relationship between the communication and the cause of action." Id. (internal quotations omitted).

The publishing of the sex offender information in the Northern District of Illinois constitutes a substantial contact between this district and Cabellero's cause of action for purposes of venue. Cabellero alleges that his constitutional rights were violated when Taylor intentionally forced him to improperly sign an Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act Notification Form under duress. While the document was physically signed in the Central District of Illinois, the actual publication and its effects were in the Northern District of Illinois. The majority of events giving rise to ...


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