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Joseph A. Nagy, and Joseph E. Nagy v. Wells Fargo Bank

May 22, 2012

JOSEPH A. NAGY, AND JOSEPH E. NAGY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.; BARRETT DAFFIN FRAPPIER TURNER & ENGEL, LLP; AND ELIANA MCGRATH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gene E.K. Pratter United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Joseph E. Nagy and Joseph A. Nagy brought this pro se action*fn1 on November 14, 2011, against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"); Barrett Daffin Frappier Turner & Engel, LLP ("Barrett Daffin"); and Eliana McGrath. Both Wells Fargo and Barrett Daffin have moved to dismiss the complaint. Wells Fargo has also moved, in the alternative, for a transfer of venue to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the motion for a transfer of venue.

I. Background

The well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint must be assumed to be true in evaluating a motion to transfer for improper venue. See, e.g., Leone v. Cataldo, 574 F. Supp. 2d 471, 483 (E.D. Pa. 2008).

According to the complaint, Messrs. Nagy and Nagy were formerly co-owners (with two others) of real property located in Rowlett, Texas. The property was mortgaged to Wells Fargo. The mortgage apparently fell into default, allegedly because of errors in the application of payments by Wells Fargo. In 2007, Wells Fargo foreclosed on the property, and it was sold at auction. Barrett Daffin represented Wells Fargo during the foreclosure. In 2008, the plaintiffs were forcibly evicted from the property. In 2011, Joseph E. Nagy relocated from Texas to New Jersey, where he now resides. Joseph A. Nagy also now resides in New Jersey. Plaintiffs continued their efforts to recover the property upon moving to New Jersey.

The mortgage foreclosure allegations underpin most of the complaint's claims for relief. But the complaint also alleges that plaintiff Joseph E. Nagy was formerly married to defendant Eliana McGrath, who resides in Texas. The two divorced in 2004. The complaint alleges that Ms. McGrath interfered in Joseph E. Nagy's efforts to see their children after the divorce. There are also various allegations concerning child support payments and the enforcement of child-support obligations by the Attorney General of Texas.

The complaint asserts that the conduct of the defendants violated the plaintiffs' federal constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. The plaintiffs also seek to invoke several federal civil rights statutes; the federal criminal code; and various common law theories, including fraud, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence.

Finally, the complaint refers at several junctures to prior litigation in both state and federal court in Texas. In particular, Joseph E. Nagy appears to have previously sued Wells Fargo, Barrett Daffin, and others in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. See Nagy v. George, Civ. No. 03-368, 2007 WL 2122175 (N.D. Tex. July 23, 2007) (dismissing claims), aff'd, 286 F. App'x 135 (5th Cir. 2008) (per curiam).

II. Discussion

A. Venue

Both Wells Fargo and Barrett Daffin argue for dismissal of some or all of the plaintiffs' claims on multiple grounds, including the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, lack of personal jurisdiction, and failure to state claims upon which relief may be granted. Both of these defendants also argue that venue is improper in this court. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3).

Venue in this matter is controlled by 28 U.S.C. § 1391. The application of that statute depends, in turn, on the basis (if any) for this Court's exercise of subject-matter jurisdiction. If the subject-matter jurisdiction of the court is "founded only on diversity of citizenship," then § 1391(a) applies; otherwise, § 1391(b) applies.*fn2 Here, the plaintiffs' complaint invokes both federal-question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and diversity jurisdiction, id. § 1332(a). Thus, jurisdiction is not "founded only on diversity," and § 1391(b) is the applicable venue provision. That section provides as follows:

(b) A civil action wherein jurisdiction is not founded solely on diversity of citizenship may, except as otherwise provided by law, be brought only in

(1) a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State, (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) a judicial district in which any ...


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