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Shreve v. Limpert

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

March 25, 2019

Kimberly Shreve, a/k/a Kimberly Ann Shreve, Plaintiff,
Officer Limpet; Officer Howell; Officer Wolfe; Officer Lockhart; Officer Davidson; and Officer Meyers, Defendants.


          Kaymani D. West United States Magistrate Judge

         This is a civil action filed by a pro se litigant. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in such pro se cases and to submit findings and recommendations to the district court.

         I. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se complaint pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The review has been conducted in light of the following precedents: Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147 (4th Cir. 1978).

         This court is required to liberally construe pro se pleadings, Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. at 97, holding them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5 (1980). The mandated liberal construction afforded pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a pleading to “conjure up questions never squarely presented” to the court. Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

         II. Discussion

         Federal district courts are vested with the inherent power to control and protect the administration of court proceedings. White v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 783 F.2d 1175, 1177 (4th Cir. 1986). Accordingly, the court has the power to consider sua sponte whether venue is proper. See Jensen v. Klayman, 115 Fed.Appx. 634, 635-36 (4th Cir. 2004) (per curiam). 28 U.S.C. § 1391 governs the venue of civil actions brought in the United States district courts. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) provides that 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). Here, the District of South Carolina is the wrong district for venue as Plaintiff's Complaint concerns Raleigh police officers' arrests of Plaintiff in Wake County, North Carolina, and her incarceration in the Wake County, North Carolina, jail. See ECF No. 1.

         In the absence of venue, the court has authority sua sponte to transfer under either 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) or § 1406(a), or both. See Jensen, 115 Fed.Appx. at 635-36; In re Carefirst of Md., Inc., 305 F.3d 253, 255-56 (4th Cir. 2002). The statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) provides: “The district court of a district in which is filed a case laying venue in the wrong division or district 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(a). Because the Eastern District of North Carolina is the proper forum in which to adjudicate the claims raised in this complaint, the undersigned recommends Plaintiff s complaint be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). The interests of justice weigh heavily in favor of transferring this action, and transferring the case is in keeping with the goal of allowing cases to be decided on their substantive merits, as opposed to being decided on procedural grounds. See Goldlawr v. Heiman, 369 U.S. 463, 466-67 (1962); Dubin v. U.S., 380 F.2d 813, 815 (5th Cir. 1967).

         III. Recommendation

         Accordingly, the undersigned recommends this case be transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for further handling.[1]In the event this recommended transfer is effected, it is ...

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