Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hayes v. Transcor America

June 23, 2009

LESTER M. HAYES
v.
TRANSCOR AMERICA, LLC, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Padova, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Lester Hayes brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state common law against Defendants TransCor America, LLC ("TransCor"), Karen L. Oates, Carolyn Cooper, Kevin McCord, Gary Underwood, Ernest Franklin, Don W. Bowden, Robert Koch, and Mark Spickard (the "individual Defendants"), alleging violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED"). Plaintiff's claims arise out of a six-day prisoner extradition transport from North Carolina to Pennsylvania in May 2007. Presently before the Court is Defendants' Renewed Motion to Dismiss or Transfer Venue, for which we held a hearing on June 11, 2009. For the following reasons, we deny the Motion insofar as it seeks dismissal, but grant the Motion insofar as it seeks a transfer of venue.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff is a 67-year-old man who suffers from a herniated disc, arthritis, severe spinal stenosis, high blood pressure, and an enlarged prostate. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-24.) Plaintiff's spinal condition makes it extremely painful for him to sit or stand for extended periods of time, and his prostate condition causes him to experience abnormally frequent urgency to urinate-as often as every 20 to 30 minutes. (Id. ¶¶ 25-26.) Plaintiff takes a variety of prescribed medications to treat his medical conditions. (Id. ¶¶ 28-29.)

In May 2007, while incarcerated in a Greensboro, North Carolina jail, Plaintiff received notice of new criminal charges filed against him in Philadelphia. (Id. ¶ 17.) TransCor, the largest prisoner transportation company in the country, was hired to bring Plaintiff to Philadelphia. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 19.) Shortly before the transport set out on its six-day journey, prison medical staff provided Defendants with a supply of Plaintiff's medications and informed Defendants of Plaintiff's medical needs. (Id. ¶ 31-32; see also Pl.'s Ex. B.) However, Defendants neither catalogued nor stored Plaintiff's medications to ensure their timely administration and or to prevent their loss. (Am. Compl. ¶ 33.)

The transport departed from Greensboro on May 12, 2007, and was broken down into two, three-day legs. (Id. ¶ 31.) The first leg involved travel through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, before stopping overnight in Kentucky. (Id. ¶ 22.) During the second leg, the transport continued through Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, before ultimately arriving in Pennsylvania on May 18, 2007. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 56, 62.) All told, the transport spent scarcely an hour in Pennsylvania, leaving Mount Holly, New Jersey, at approximately 12:01 a.m. and arriving in Philadelphia at approximately 1:35 a.m. (Id. ¶¶ 61-62; see also Defs.' Exs. B, C.)

Over the course of the entire six-day transport, the individual Defendants refused to provide Plaintiff with his medications, in spite of Plaintiff's numerous complaints of back pain and other symptoms. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 35-36.) Plaintiff also made repeated requests to use bathroom facilities, which went unfulfilled because of a TransCor policy that permitted bathroom breaks only every four to five hours. (Id. ¶¶ 44-45.) Consequently, Plaintiff urinated and defecated in his pants, and was forced to sit in his soiled clothing for extended periods of time. (Id. ¶¶ 46, 49, 57.) In total, Plaintiff missed approximately 33 doses of medication, requested to use the bathroom between 20 to 25 times, urinated on himself between 24 to 28 times, and defecated on himself at least three times. (Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Interrog. at 6-10.) In this District, Plaintiff missed five to six doses of medication, requested to use the bathroom five to six times, urinated on himself at least once, and defecated on himself at least once.*fn2 (Id. at 6, 8, 11.)

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Defendants handed Plaintiff over to the Philadelphia Police Department ("PPD"). (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 62-63.) The "Prisoner Receipt" that was filled out by Defendants and delivered to PPD indicated that Plaintiff had no medications with him upon arrival. (See Pl.'s Ex. A.) However, a PPD officer, Officer Smith, found a container full of Plaintiff's medications attached to Plaintiff's belongings. (Am. Compl. ¶ 63.) Plaintiff subsequently received medical care at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. (Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Interrog. at 12.)

II. DISCUSSION

Defendants ask us to dismiss this case because they contend that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is an improper venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Alternatively, Defendants ask that we transfer this case to the Middle District of Tennessee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

When a defendant moves pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) to dismiss a case based on improper venue, and we determine that venue is improper, we must either dismiss the case or transfer it "to any district or division in which it could have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). If, on the other hand, we determine that venue is proper in this District, we may transfer the case "to any other district or division where it might have been brought" "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, [or] in the interest of justice . . . ." Id. § 1404(a). Defendants bear the burden of showing both that venue in this District is improper and that transfer to another district is justified. See Chester, 2008 WL 2310946, at *5 (citing Fellner, 2005 WL 2660351, at *1); Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995). Although we find that this District is a proper venue, we conclude that transferring the case to the Middle District of Tennessee is appropriate under the circumstances.

A. Proper Venue

Because this case implicates our federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, proper venue is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that this District is a proper venue under § 1391(b)(2) because a substantial part of the events giving rise to his claims occurred in this District. We agree.

When a defendant challenges venue under § 1391(b)(2), we undertake a two-part inquiry. First, we "'identify the nature of the claims and the acts or omissions that the plaintiff alleges give rise to those claims.'" Chester, 2008 WL 2310946, at *7 (quoting Daniel v. Am. Bd. of Emergency Med., 428 F.3d 408, 432 (2d Cir. 2005)); see also Cottman Transmissions Sys. v. Martino, 36 F.3d 291, 295 (3d Cir. 1994) (first identifying the acts or omissions that gave rise to the plaintiff's claims ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.