United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND United States Magistrate Judge.
Selepri Amachree is a Liberian citizen and a U.S. Green Card
holder. In 2001, Illinois police arrested Amachree for drug
possession. The Government then commenced removal proceedings
against Amachree in the immigration court in Chicago. The
immigration court allowed Amachree to remain free from
custody while the removal proceedings continued. In 2004, the
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of the
removal proceedings, and then, in 2006, remanded the case to
the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). In February 2017,
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
arrested Amachree in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
connection with that arrest, Amachree brings twenty separate
counts against federal and state defendants, alleging
multiple state law torts and violations of his Fourth
Amendment constitutional rights. The federal defendants moved
to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(3). For the reasons explained
below, Amachree has not met his burden to show that venue is
proper in this court, and the Court grants the
defendants' request to transfer the case to the Eastern
District of Wisconsin.
Amachree (Amachree) brings this action under the Federal Tort
Claims Act, 28 USC § 2674 (“FTCA”) and
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388
(1971). He sued multiple federal officials, including the
U.S. Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security,
the Director of ICE and two ICE agents, Brent Kriehn and
Joseph Halas (the federal defendants). (Dkt. 1).
Amachree alleges various state law tort claims against the
federal defendants under the FTCA including false arrest,
false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. Additionally,
Amachree alleges that the ICE agents, in their individual
capacities, violated his Fourth Amendment rights through
unreasonable seizure and civil conspiracy to arrest without
probable cause. Amachree also alleges that certain Wisconsin
authorities committed both state law and constitutional
federal defendants seek dismissal based on improper venue and
lack of personal jurisdiction, or alternatively, a transfer
of the case to the proper venue. (Dkt. 23.) The
federal defendants argue that dismissal for improper venue is
appropriate under 12(b)(3) for the claims against the United
States under the FTCA and for the claims against the
individual defendants under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). (Dkt.
23.) They further argue that the claims against the ICE
agents should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(2) because they
do not have the requisite minimum contacts with Illinois.
(Id.) Amachree filed a response brief , filed an
additional “memorandum of law and fact” [33-1]
and filed a motion to amend his complaint .
defendant challenges venue under Rule 12(b)(3), “the
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that venue is
proper.” Nat'l Tech., Inc. v. RepCentric
Sols., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98881, at *14 (N.D. Ill.
July 16, 2013). “If venue is improper, the court may
either dismiss the suit or transfer it to a district in which
the plaintiff could have filed it initially.” John
Crane Inc v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, APC,
2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41840, at *21 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 23, 2017)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a)). Under 28 U.S.C. §
1406(a), “[t]he 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.”
Venue Under the FTCA
Northern District of Illinois is not the proper venue for
Amachree's claims arising under the FTCA. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1402(b), FTCA claims may only be brought “in the
judicial district where the plaintiff resides or wherein the
act or omission complained of occurred.” Amachree
resides in Dodge County, Wisconsin and resided there at the
time of his 2017 arrest. (Compl. ¶ 38.) Furthermore, the
actions complained of-Amachree's arrest and detention by
ICE agents-took place in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
(Id. ¶ 36.) Thus, § 1402(b) bars Amachree
from bringing the FTCA claims in the Northern District of
argues that 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) is the only governing
venue statute in this case. This argument fails for two
reasons. First, the initial section of this statute provides
that it governs venue “except as otherwise provided
by law.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a) (emphasis
added). For the FTCA claims, § 1402(b) controls in which
judicial district claims may be brought. As discussed,
Amachree does not meet the requirements of § 1402(b).
Amachree's attempt in his response brief to contend that
“local law” is only “partly
applicable” to his tort claims (Dkt. 30 at 27) is not
convincing when he expressly brought claims under the FTCA
for violations of Wisconsin state law.
even if § 1391(b) was the operative statute for the FTCA
claims, it provides, in pertinent part: “A civil action
may be brought in- … (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…” For the
reasons discussed more fully below, the Court does not agree
with Amachree's contention that “a substantial part
of the events . . . giving rise to the claim occurred”
Venue Under 28 ...