Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Biddle v. Bradshaw

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

June 17, 2019




         Before the Court is Defendant Joseph Ernest Bradshaw's Rule 12(b) Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 7). Plaintiffs Richard Biddle and Nora Biddle filed a response. (ECF No. 14). Defendant filed a reply. (ECF No. 15). Plaintiffs filed a sur-reply. (ECF No. 18). The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case concerns an automobile collision. Plaintiffs are citizens of Arkansas who reside in Garland County. Defendant, a citizen and resident of Texas, is a self-employed tractor-trailer driver who, for the last eight years, has regularly transported wood chips for Ward Timber, a Texas-based customer. Defendant drives the wood chips fourteen miles from Jefferson, Texas to a mill in Ashdown, Arkansas. On March 11, 2018, Plaintiffs and Defendant, who were each driving their respective personal vehicles, were involved in a collision on Highway 59, in Marion County, Texas. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant negligently caused the collision, which resulted in personal injury and property damage.

         On December 18, 2018, Plaintiffs filed suit in the Circuit Court of Garland County, Arkansas. On January 14, 2019, Defendant answered Plaintiff's complaint and filed the instant motion to dismiss. On January 15, 2019, Defendant removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, asserting that the Court has original jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because complete diversity exists between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.

         On February 7, 2019, Defendant refiled the instant motion to dismiss with a new, introductory passage, noting that the motion had been filed and was pending in state court prior to removal.[2] Defendant moves for dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue.[3] Plaintiffs oppose the motion.


         Defendant moves for dismissal on two grounds: lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. The Court will first address Defendant's venue argument and, if necessary, will then proceed to the personal jurisdiction argument.

         A. Venue

         Citing Arkansas state caselaw, Defendant argues that venue is improper because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over him, and failure to satisfy the requirements for personal jurisdiction also amounts to failure to establish venue. Other than one paragraph in the instant motion, (ECF No. 7, p. 3), this venue argument is not discussed or even acknowledged in the parties' subsequent briefing papers.[4] Despite Defendant's framing of his venue argument as being necessarily dependent on a personal jurisdiction determination, for the reasons discussed below, it is unnecessary for the Court to first make a finding on personal jurisdiction to resolve the venue issue.

         Venue is “the place where the power to adjudicate is to be exercised, the place where the suit may be or should be heard.” Farmers Elevator Mut. Ins. Co. v. Carl J. Austad & Sons, Inc., 343 F.2d 7, 11 (8th Cir. 1965). “Venue requirements exist for the benefit of defendants.” Richards v. Aramark Servs., Inc., 108 F.3d 925, 928 (8th Cir. 1997). “One of the central purposes of statutory venue is to ensure that a defendant is not haled into a remote district, having no real relationship to the dispute.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         A party may move to dismiss an action that is not filed in the proper venue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). When reviewing a motion under Rule 12(b)(3), the Court applies the same standard used for other motions to dismiss. Twin Lakes Sales, LLC v. Hunter's Specialties, Inc., 2005 WL 1593361, at *1 (D. Minn. July 6, 2005). To that end, the Court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and take as true all well-pled facts alleged in the complaint that are not controverted by the movant's affidavits or evidence.[5] Dobson Bros. Constr. Co. v. Arr-Maz Prod., L.P., No. 4:12-cv-3118, 2013 WL 12141246, at *2 (D. Neb. May 7, 2013).

         “Where no special venue statute is applicable, the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391, applies.” Catholic Order of Foresters v. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Inc., 337 F.Supp.2d 1148, 1154 (N.D. Iowa 2004). However, the general venue statute does not apply to cases that have been removed from state to federal court. Polizzi v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., 345 U.S. 663, 665 (1953). Venue of a removed case is governed solely by 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), which provides that the proper venue of a removed case is “the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” Id. “[I]t is immaterial that the federal court to which the action is removed would not have been in a district of proper venue if the action had been brought there originally.”[6] Schuler v. SunOpta Food Grp. LLC, No. CIV 3:07-CV-101, 2008 WL 4416447, at *2 (D.N.D. Sept. 24, 2008) (citing Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 3726, at 119-20 (3d ed. 1998)).

         It is undisputed that this case was initially brought in the Garland County Circuit Court. The Western District of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division, is the federal judicial district and division embracing Garland County, Arkansas. 28 U.S.C. § 83(b)(6). Thus, even assuming arguendo that pre-removal venue was improper in the Garland County Circuit Court as Defendant contended, venue is now proper in this Court pursuant to section 1441(a) because Defendant removed the case to the federal judicial district and division embracing the place where the case was previously pending. Shaffer v. Rees Masilionis Turley Architecture, LLC, No. 4:14-cv-965 CEJ, 2014 WL 5320266, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 17, 2014) (“The fact that venue may have been improper in the state court prior to removal is of no import.”); see also 28 U.S.C § 1441(f) (abrogating the theory of derivative jurisdiction and stating, “[t]he court to which a civil action is removed . . . is not precluded from hearing and determining any claim . . . because the State court from which such civil action is removed did not have jurisdiction over that claim”); Hollis v. Fla. State Univ., 259 F.3d 1295, 1300 (11th Cir. 2001) (stating that, “as a matter of law, § 1441(a) establishes federal venue in the district where the state action was pending, and it is immaterial that venue was improper under state law when the action was originally filed”).

         Accordingly, the Court finds that venue is proper in the Western District of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division, and that dismissal is not warranted on venue grounds. With the issue of venue now resolved, the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.