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Garris v. Masshealth

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY


November 15, 2005

MATTHEW D. GARRIS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MASSHEALTH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary L. Cooper United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THE PLAINTIFFS PRO SE - Matthew D. Garris and Patricia J. Littlejohn - (1) bringing this action, inter alia, to recover damages for the failure to provide medication to Littlejohn, and (2) asserting jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § ("Section") 1332 (Am. Compl., at 3-10); and the plaintiffs naming as defendants: (1) MassHealth and the Massachusetts Department of Health & Human Services, which are identified as Massachusetts state agencies, and the state of Massachusetts (hereinafter, "State Defendants"), (2) Robert W. Conroy and Christian Pope, both identified as "practic[ing] medicine" in Massachusetts, and (3) Amy Levy, a Massachusetts state employee (id. at 1-2); and the plaintiffs having originally named Healthcare for Women, Inc. ("HCFW") as a defendant, but amending the complaint and moving to voluntarily terminate the action insofar as brought against HCFW (see Compl., at 1; Am. Compl.; 9-1-05 Not. Of Voluntary Dismissal, at 1); and (a) the State Defendants, (b) Conroy, and (c) Pope and HCFW now separately moving either (1) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against them for lack of personal jurisdiction, or (2) to dismiss the complaint or to transfer the action due to improper venue (dkt. entry nos. 13, 14, 16); and the plaintiffs "conced[ing] we are in the wrong venue. Plaintiffs however vigorously deny all other claims prayed in the motion, and oppose dismissal at all costs" (Undated Pls. Response, at 1); and the plaintiffs responding further that "the district of Massachusetts is potentially more appropriate for hearing this complaint" (11-14-05 Pls. Br., at 8); and

IT APPEARING that the more-proper venue for prosecuting this action is the District of Massachusetts, because (1) Littlejohn - a Massachusetts citizen - is the main plaintiff (Am. Compl., at 1), (2) the claims on behalf of Garris - a New Jersey citizen - are derivative in nature, and limited to damages resulting from his "witnessing this brazen callous abrogation of [Littlejohn's] civil rights" (id. at 10), (3) Pope, Conroy, and Levy either are Massachusetts citizens or have contacts with Massachusetts, (4) the alleged failure to provide medication to Littlejohn occurred in Massachusetts, and (5) a federal court in Massachusetts may exercise jurisdiction over the State Defendants;*fn1 and thus it appearing that the action should be transferred to the District of Massachusetts, see Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 255-56 (1981) (stating plaintiff's choice of venue deserves less deference when plaintiff not citizen of that venue), Czubryt v. Consol. Rail Corp., No. 01-314, 2002 WL 442824, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 21, 2002) (granting motion to transfer to venue where plaintiff lived and injury first inflicted), Gaskins v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., No. 00-5144, 2001 WL 322518, at *1-*2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 21, 2001) (same); and it appearing that a transfer to the District of Massachusetts would be appropriate under either Section 1404 or Section 1406;*fn2 and

THE COURT thus intending to (1) grant the plaintiffs' motion to voluntarily terminate the action insofar as brought against HCFW, (2) deny as moot the part of the separate motion seeking relief as to HCFW, (3) grant the parts of the separate motions made on behalf of the State Defendants, Conroy, and Pope seeking to transfer venue, and deny without prejudice the parts of the separate motions seeking dismissal of the complaint as to those defendants, and (4) deny without prejudice the plaintiffs' other separate motions, which are not discussed herein; and for good cause appearing, the Court will issue an appropriate order.


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