Dorf's view, the 1990 amendments to this statute, which expanded venue beyond the district "where the claim arose", did not change its role as a "gap-filler". Thus, Defendant Dorf concludes, venue in this case is proper only in the Eastern District of New York since both defendants live in Brooklyn, New York.
Defendant Dorf relies on Canaday v. Koch, 598 F. Supp. 1139 (E.D.N.Y. 1984), to support his contention. The court in Canaday held, "Because the 'claim arose' language was inserted into § 1391(b) to fill a venue gap created by the residence of defendants in different districts, venue under the 'claim arose' language should not be considered when, as here, all defendants do reside in the same district." 598 F. Supp. at 1148. Canaday in turn relied on language contained in Leroy v. Great W. United Corp., 443 U.S. 173, 61 L. Ed. 2d 464, 99 S. Ct. 2710 (1979), which discussed the fact that this provision was indeed intended by Congress to fill a gap where venue could not otherwise be found. Significantly, however, while Leroy indicates that this was the reason why the section was enacted, it does not suggest that the section may only be utilized under those circumstances.
This Court does not find Canaday's reasoning to be persuasive. When interpreting a statute, the starting point is always the language of the statute itself. American Tobacco Co. v. Patterson, 456 U.S. 63, 68, 71 L. Ed. 2d 748, 102 S. Ct. 1534 (1982). Courts presume that Congress expressed its legislative intent through the ordinary meaning of the words it chose to use. United States v. Knox, 32 F.3d 733, 744 (3d Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 130 L. Ed. 2d 782, 115 S. Ct. 897 (1995). As stated above, the plain language of § 1391(a) indicates that venue in diversity cases is proper, regardless of circumstances, in either a district within the state where all defendants reside or in a district where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred. There is nothing on the face of the statute to support Defendant Dorf's interpretation that venue must be in a district where a defendant resides, when all defendants reside in the same state.
The view expressed in Canaday was explicitly rejected by the court in Merchants Nat'l Bank v. Safrabank (California), 776 F. Supp. 538 (D.Kan. 1991). There the court was faced with the same argument as that presented here:
The defendants have pointed to certain statements in Leroy suggesting that section 1391(b) allows venue in the district where the claim arose only when multiple defendants do not reside in the same judicial district. In Leroy, the Court stated that 'in most instances the purpose of statutorily specified venue is to protect the defendant against the risk that a plaintiff will select an unfair or inconvenient place of trial,' 443 U.S. at 183-84, 99 S. Ct. at 2716 (emphasis in original), and further explained that 'the amendment giving plaintiffs the right to proceed in the district where the claims arose' was 'designed to close the venue gaps that existed under earlier versions of the statute in situations in which . . . multiple defendants who contributed to a single injurious act, could not be sued jointly because they resided in different districts." Id. at 184 & n. 17, 99 S. Ct. at 2717 & n. 17.