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Collins v. Bank of New York Mellon

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi.

August 31, 2018

REKENA COLLINS
v.
BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, ET AL.

         SECTION “B” (3)

          ORDER AND REASONS

         After Defendant Bayview Loan Servicing LLC filed a motion to dismiss (Rec. Doc. 14), the Court ordered the parties to file supplemental memoranda “about the propriety of transferring the above-captioned matter to the Southern District of Mississippi.” Rec. Doc. 21. Plaintiff Rekena Collins and Defendant Bayview Loan Servicing LLC timely filed the supplemental memoranda. Rec. Docs. 22, 23. For the reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that the above-captioned matter is TRANSFERRED to the Southern District of Mississippi.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In June 2015, Plaintiff filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Southern District of Mississippi. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 7. One of her assets was a piece of property located in Waveland, Mississippi. See Rec. Doc. 1-3. One of her liabilities was the mortgage on that property; the mortgage was held by Bank of America. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 6, 9. In September 2015, the Waveland property was abandoned from the bankruptcy estate and Bank of America was allowed to proceed with foreclosure. See Rec. Doc. 1-2. Later that same month, the bankruptcy court issued an order discharging Plaintiff's liability for the debts she owed when she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. See Rec. Doc. 14-4 at 2-3.

         According to the Complaint, Bank of America sold the mortgage on the Waveland property to Bayview Loan Servicing LLC in January 2016. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 9. Bayview corresponded with Plaintiff about the mortgage in 2016. See Id. ¶ 10. In January 2017, Bayview sent a Form 1099-A to Plaintiff at an address in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. See Rec. Docs. 1 ¶ 11; 1-3. Plaintiff alleges that, by sending her the Form 1099-A, Bayview “ma[de] her responsible for” “an outstanding principal balance of $120, 919.47” “on her personal income taxes.” Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 11.

         On January 18, 2018, Petitioner filed the instant complaint against Bayview, Bank of America, and Bank of New York Mellon.[1]Rec. Doc. 1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Bank of New York Mellon and Bank of America were negligent and grossly negligent when they sold the mortgage on the Waveland property to Bayview, that Bayview was negligent when it charged off the mortgage on the Waveland property, and that all Defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act “FDCPA” by causing Plaintiff to incur a personal tax liability from the sale of the mortgage on the Waveland property. See id.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Generally, “the venue of all civil actions brought in district courts of the United States” is determined by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Under § 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. § 1391(b). If the case falls within one of the categories in § 1391(b), “venue is proper; if it does not, venue is improper.” Atl. Marine Constr. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 571 U.S. 49, 56 (2013).

         When venue is improper, a district court “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406. Even when venue is proper, “a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought” “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404. A district court may raise the issue of venue sua sponte. See Mills v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 886 F.2d 758, 761 (5th Cir. 1989); Jarvis Christian Coll. v. Exxon Corp., 845 F.2d 523, 528-29 (5th Cir. 1988); Caldwell v. Palmetto State Sav. Bank, 811 F.2d 916, 919 (5th Cir. 1998).

         Venue is not proper in the Eastern District of Louisiana. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Defendants are not domiciled in Louisiana and their principal places of business are not located here. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 2-3. Moreover, Plaintiff's lawsuit does not arise out of Defendants' contacts with the state of Louisiana; in fact, all of the alleged activities occurred in Mississippi. See Id. ¶¶ 7, 11; Rec. Doc. 1-3. Therefore, Defendants are not residents of Louisiana for purposes of this case. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1), (c)(2). None of the events, omissions, or property involved in this case occurred or are located in the Eastern District of Louisiana. See Id. ¶¶ 7, 11; Rec. Doc. 1-3. Therefore, § 1391(b)(2) does not make the Eastern District of Louisiana a proper venue. Because venue is improper, this Court “shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer [the] case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.”[2] 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).

         Transfer is in the interest of justice because Plaintiff indicates that she wishes to pursue her case in the Southern District of Mississippi. See Rec. Doc. 22. The Southern District of Mississippi retains jurisdiction over the bankruptcy discharge order, which it may enforce via its contempt power. See Rec. Docs. 14-1 at 6; 22 at 3-4; In re Cano, 410 B.R. 506, 545-48 (Bankr.S.D.Tex. 2009). Furthermore, because the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Southern District of Mississippi are adjacent judicial districts, there will be little practical impact on the parties going forward.

         Transfer to the Southern District of Mississippi is appropriate because venue is proper and that court will have personal jurisdiction over Bayview. Venue is proper in the Southern District of Mississippi because the events at the center of this case occurred there. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). Plaintiff's bankruptcy proceeding was conducted in the Southern District of Mississippi. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 7. The Waveland property is located in the Southern District of Mississippi. See ...


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