The opinion of the court was delivered by: BY THE COURT; MARVIN KATZ
Defendants Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the General Service Administration (GSA) move this court to dismiss the complaint or in the alternative to transfer this case to a proper venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). For the following reasons, I will dismiss the complaint as the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is improper venue for this action.
This case stems from the Plaintiffs' debarment from doing business with the government based upon Plaintiffs' performance of contracts issued by the Defense Construction Supply Center. In their complaint, Plaintiffs seek a review of the May 20, 1993, debarment order of the DLA issued by Janet C. Cook (Cook), Special Assistant for Contracting Integrity of the DLA. See Complaint Count 1. Plaintiffs also request that this court (1) dismiss the debarment action; (2) stay the order of the DLA pending the court's review; (3) issue a writ of mandamus and writ of prohibition directing the GSA to remove the names of the Plaintiffs from the list of debarred persons or contractors; and (4) award attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act. See Complaint Counts 2-5. Defendants have moved that this action be dismissed for improper venue or in the alternative transferred to a district where proper venue lies. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
II. THE ISSUE OF PROPER VENUE
Plaintiffs assert that venue is proper in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania based upon 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)
and 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c).
A. Venue Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)
Congress has provided that venue is proper in actions against federal officers and agencies in the judicial district where "(1) a defendant in the action resides, (2) 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) the plaintiff resides if no real property is involved in the action." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e).
In this action, an argument for finding venue in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is that the defendants reside here.
There is no real property involved in this case. The claim did not arise in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. All of the contracts forming the basis for the debarment action were issued and handled by the Defense Construction Supply Center. See id. at PP 10, 16, and 20. The Defense Construction Supply Center is located in Columbus, Ohio. The debarment order was issued by Cook, who is located at the Office of General Counsel, Alexandria, Virginia. See id. at p. 2. The Plaintiffs argue "that transactions out of which this action ultimately arose were performed by those agency [DLA] offices in this district [the Eastern District of Pennsylvania]." See Plaintiffs' Answer at p. 3. Plaintiffs, however, characterize these transactions as the payment and administration office for all of the contracts at issue and the quality control and administration office for all of the contracts at issue. Id. at p. 2. These transactions do not constitute "a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(2). The claim in this court turns on the alleged unfairness of the debarment order by Cook in Virginia.
Furthermore, none of the plaintiffs reside in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The individual plaintiffs, David Davies (Davies) and Timothy Pickett (Pickett), are residents of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. See Complaint PP 2, 3. The corporate plaintiff, Davies Precision Machining, Inc. (Davies Precision), is a Pennsylvania corporation with its principal place of business in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. See id. at P 1. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
"There is nothing in the statute [ 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)] or its legislative history which suggests that Congress also sought to allow a federal agency to be sued eo nomine wherever it may maintain an office. To the contrary, the wording of the statute itself precludes such an expansive reading." Donnelley, 580 F.2d at 267. The Donnelley court stated that "with the vast growth of federal bureaucracy, federal agencies undoubtably have offices in most, if not all, judicial districts. That being true, there would have been little need for the subsections dealing with the specifics of where the cause of action arose, where the plaintiff resides, and where relevant real estate is situated, if such an expansive interpretation of residency of a defendant were intended by Congress." Id. The Seventh Circuit was also concerned that forum shopping might result if a plaintiff were allowed to sue a government agency in a remote district. Id.
In examining the issue, I find persuasive the fact that since at least 1962, plaintiffs have had the choice to sue in the plaintiff's home judicial district. See Donnelley, 580 F.2d at 267 & n. 4, 6. See generally Stafford v. Briggs, 444 U.S. 527, 534-43, 63 L. Ed. 2d 1, 100 S. Ct. 774 (1979) (discussing the legislative history of 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) in the context of suits for money damages against government officials in their individual capacity). With Congress providing such a convenient alternative venue, I find no reason to contort the statutory language of 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) to require that a federal agency be deemed to reside in a judicial district with which it has no other contact other than the fact that a regional office operates there.
In examining the facts of this case, I find that while the DLA does maintain offices in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, this factor alone does not mean DLA resides in this district. The offices in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania offices did not engage in any substantial part of the activity, which is at the heart of the complaint. ...