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Strong v. United States Department of Agriculture

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

October 17, 2018

ELIJAH STRONG, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, et al., Defendant.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND ORDERING THE CLERK TO TRANSFER THIS CASE TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI

          JON P. MCCALLA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation entered by the Magistrate Judge on June 12, 2018. (ECF No. 7.) The Magistrate Judge recommends that this Title VII action be transferred to the Southern District of Mississippi as a proper venue. (ECF No. 7 at 43.)[1]Plaintiff Elijah Strong objects that he has satisfied the requirements for federal diversity jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth below, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. The Clerk shall transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

         I. Background

         Strong filed his complaint on June 8, 2018. (ECF No. 1.) He claims that he was terminated by his employer, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§2000e et seq. (Id. at 1.) Strong alleges that he worked at a USDA facility in Forest, Scott County, Mississippi before he was terminated, and he now resides in Shelby County, Tennessee. (Id. at 2.)

         The Magistrate Judge noted that Title VII restricts plaintiffs to certain specific venues, specifically where the alleged unlawful termination occurred, where the employment records are kept, where the plaintiff would have worked had the alleged termination not occurred, or where the defendant keeps its central office. (ECF No. 7 at 42.) See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). The Magistrate Judge found that Strong alleged he was terminated in Mississippi. (ECF No. 7 at 43.) The Magistrate Judge also found that Strong did not allege that the USDA keeps its records in this judicial district, or that Strong would have worked in this district had he not been terminated, or that the USDA keeps its main office in this district. (Id.) The Magistrate Judge concluded that the Southern District of Mississippi would be a proper venue for this Title VII action because the alleged unlawful termination occurred there. (Id.)

         Strong filed a timely objection. (ECF No. 8.) Strong argues that he has satisfied the requirements for federal diversity jurisdiction as set out by 28 U.S.C. §1332 (a). (Id. at 45.) He asks that the Court continue to preside over his case. (Id.)

         II. Legal Standard

         a. Jurisdiction and Venue

         The Court has “original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000” and where the suit is between “citizens of different states.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Jurisdiction determines where a case can be heard, but venue “concerns the appropriate district court in which an action may be filed.” 17 Moore's Federal Practice - Civil § 110.01 (2018). In other words, even if a court has the jurisdiction to hear a case, Congress may decide that such a case should only be filed in another court.

         When it passed the Civil Rights Act of 1963, Congress limited where Title VII claims may be filed to certain judicial districts, specifically:

any judicial district in the State in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed, in the judicial district in which the employment records relevant to such practice are maintained and administered, or in the judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice, but if the respondent is not found within any such district, such an action may be brought within the judicial district in which the respondent has his principal office.

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3).

         b. Review of a Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

          “Within 14 days after being served with a copy of the recommended disposition, a party may serve and file specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). “When no timely objection is filed, the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the ...


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