United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Lindsay United States District Judge
the court is the United States' (“Plaintiff”)
Complaint for forfeiture, filed April 13, 2018. Plaintiff
filed this Complaint in rem against the defendant
property. For the reasons that follow, the court sua
sponte transfers this action, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to the Fort Worth Division of
the Northern District of Texas.
question for the court is not whether the action was properly
brought in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division,
but whether it should be transferred to the Fort Worth
Division. With respect to “an in rem civil forfeiture
case, if venue is proper in a district, it is proper in any
division within that district.” United States v.
Real Property Known As 200 Acres of Land Near FM 2686 Rio
Grande City, Texas, 773 F. 654, 658 (5th Cir. 2014)
(footnote omitted). In Real Property, the Fifth
Circuit did not address whether a venue may be more
convenient under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) in another
division. Id. at 773 n.1. Accordingly, Real
Property does not preclude a court from transferring a
case to another district or division under 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a) “[f]or the convenience of the parties and
witnesses, [and] in the interest of justice.”
action involves property that was seized by the Government
from a residence in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 11, 2017.
The search warrant was executed by members of the Fort Worth
Police Department, Fort Worth Fire Department, and Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives at 3105 College
Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas, the residence of Mr. Kelly Page
(“Mr. Page”). Numerous firearms, thousands of
rounds of ammunition, other firearms related items, explosive
devices, drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized from the
residence owned by Mr. Page. The only known potential
claimant to the defendant property is Mr. Page.
Page resides in Fort Worth, Texas. Tarrant County is located
in the Fort Worth Division of the Northern District of Texas.
See 28 U.S.C. § 124(a)(2). The court sua
sponte considers whether this action should be
transferred to the Fort Worth Division pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a). See Jarvis Christian Coll. v. Exxon
Corp., 845 F.2d 523, 528 (5th Cir. 1988) (holding that
district court may sua sponte transfer action
pursuant to 28 USC § 1404(a)); Mills v. Beech
Aircraft Corp., 886 F.2d 758, 761 (5th Cir. 1989)
(“[T]ransfers under section 1404(a) may be made sua
sponte.”) (citation omitted).
Fort Worth Division of the Northern District of Texas is
certainly a division in a district that Plaintiff could have
brought its claims. While five of the factors [*] in In re Volkswagen
AG, 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir. 2004), are neutral and
do not weigh in favor of or against a transfer to the Fort
Worth Division, the first, fourth, and sixth factors clearly
favor a transfer to the Fort Worth Division because the
events giving rise to this action all occurred in
the Fort Worth Division. See In re Volkswagen of Am.,
Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc).
Moreover, a plaintiff s choice of forum is neither in and of
itself “conclusive nor determinative.” In re
Horseshoe Entm 't, 337 F.3d 429, 434 (5th Cir.
2003). Further, “the convenience of counsel is not a
factor to be assessed in determining whether to transfer a
case under § 1404(a).” In re Volkswagen
AG, 371 F.3d at 206 (citation omitted).
nothing relating to this action occurred in the Dallas
Division, the proper division is the Fort Worth Division.
Accordingly, the court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a),
“[f]or the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in
the interest of justice, ” hereby
transfers this action to the Fort Worth
Division of the Northern District of Texas. The clerk of the
court shall effect the transfer in accordance with the usual
so ordered this 30th day of April, 2018.
These factors include: (1) the
relative ease of access to sources of proof; (2) the
availability of compulsory process to secure the attendance
of witnesses; (3) the cost of attendance for willing
witnesses; (4) all other practical problems that make trial
of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive; (5) the
administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion;
(6) the local interest in having localized interests decided
at home; (7) the familiarity of the forum with the law that
will govern the case; and (8) the ...