Civil Procedure I, Pages 182–185

Thompson v. Greyhound Lines, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, 2012

Facts:

Plaintiff bought a Greyhound ticket in Pensacola, FL, going to Tunica, MS. Plaintiff fell asleep on a bus and missed his stop, causing him to become in Mobile, AL. Plaintiff's brother bought a ticket for him to come back to Pensacola and plaintiff missed his court date, causing him to be found guilty in absentia. Plaintiff then sued both bus companies and the bus driver of the bus he fell asleep on on several state law causes of action.

Issue:

Does one have proper venue in a district where a bus transfer happened if that bus later breached contract in another state?

Defendant's Argument:

Action should be dismissed for improper venue or for failure to state a claim.

Rule:

Venue is proper in a judicial district in which:

  1. Any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the state in which the district is located
  2. A substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred
    • Only the events that directly give rise to a claim are relevant
  3. A defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction, if there is not other district in which an action may be brought

Reasoning:

  • Reeves is not a resident of Alabama and therefore venue is not proper there.

  • Plaintiff merely changed buses in Alabama. Greyhound's alleged negligence and breach of contract were connected to failing to get him to Mississipi.

  • Plaintiff would have valid venue in the Souther District of Mississippi, as Greyhound concedes. Hence, 1391(b)(3) does not apply.

  • Greyhound does not explain why the case should be dismissed rather than transferred, as the interests of justice prefer.

Holding:

No, venue based on the events or omissions must have direct relevance to the district where the events occurred.

Takeaway:

Defendant's motion to dismiss for improper venue is denied. Action transferred to the Southern District of Mississippi. Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim remains pending and will be considered by the transferee court.


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