The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina, District Judge.
GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TRANSFER THE PENDING ACTIONS
TO THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
In these twin actions pro se plaintiff Ollie Darby ("the plaintiff")
brings claims of employment discrimination based on race and reprisal
pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"),
42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. In response to the second complaint, the
Department of Energy ("DOE") and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham
(collectively, "the defendants") move this court to consolidate the two
actions, and then either dismiss the consolidated action for improper
venue or transfer the consolidated action to the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Ohio. For the reasons that
follow, the court grants the defendants' motion to transfer the two cases
to the Southern District of Ohio.
The plaintiff is a GS-14*fn1 employee in the Office of the Chief
Financial Officer ("CFO") of DOE. Compl. (02-1140) ¶ 4; Compl.
(02-1143) ¶ 4. On June 10, 2002, she filed two complaints against
the defendants alleging employment discrimination under Title VII.
In her first complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants
engaged in intentional discrimination by effectively failing to promote
her to a GS-15 position. Compl. (02-1140) ¶¶ 5-7, 10. The plaintiff
states that as a result of the defendants' discriminatory conduct, she
was reassigned to a new and hostile work environment. Id. ¶ 8.
Moreover, the plaintiff alleges that because the defendants were aware of
equal employment opportunity ("EEO") complaints filed by the plaintiff,
she suffered retaliation and reprisal. Id. at iv. She requests relief in
the form of promotion, with front and back pay, to a GS-15 position
retroactive to August 1994; compensation for emotional distress and
anguish; punitive damages; compensation for pain, suffering, and
humiliation; and compensation for lost annual and sick leave. Id. at iv.
In virtually identical terms, Ms. Darby's second complaint alleges that
the defendants engaged in intentional discrimination by refusing to
select her for a newly-created GS-15 position, and by preventing the
personnel office from using certain ranking and interviewing tools during
the selection process for the GS-15 position. Compl. (02-1143) ¶
5-7. As a result, the plaintiff states that she was never promoted. Id.
¶ 8. As in her first complaint, she alleges that because the
defendants were aware of EEO complaints filed by the plaintiff, she
suffered retaliation and reprisal. Id. at iii. Finally, she requests the
same relief prayed for in her first complaint. Id.
On August 29, 2002, the defendants filed a motion to consolidate the
two actions and to dismiss the consolidated action for improper venue
or, in the alternative, to transfer the consolidated action to the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Defs.' Mot. to
Consolidate and Dismiss or Transfer ("Defs.' Mot.") at 1. The defendants
argue that consolidation of the two cases is warranted under Rule 42(a)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because they involve common
questions of law and fact. Id. at 3-5. In addition, the defendants state
that according to the Title VII venue statute, venue is not proper in the
District of Columbia. Id. at 5-7. They urge the court to dismiss the
plaintiff's complaints or transfer them to the Southern District of Ohio.
Id. at 7.
A. Legal Standard for Venue in Title VII Cases
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) states that the court will
dismiss or transfer a case if venue is improper or inconvenient in the
plaintiff's chosen forum. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(3). In considering a
Rule 12(b)(3) motion, the court accepts the plaintiff's well-pled factual
allegations regarding venue as true, draws all reasonable inferences from
those allegations in the plaintiff's favor, and resolves any factual
conflicts in the plaintiff's favor. 2215 Fifth St. Assocs. v.
U-Haul Int'l, Inc., 148 F. Supp.2d 50, 54 (D.D.C. 2001). The court,
however, need not accept the plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. To
prevail on a motion to dismiss for improper venue, the defendant must
present facts that will defeat the plaintiff's assertion of venue. Id.
Under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3), a plaintiff may bring a Title VII
action in any one of four judicial districts. The statute provides that:
[s]uch an action may be brought in  any judicial
district in the State in which the unlawful employment
practice is alleged to have been committed,  in the
judicial district in which the employment records
relevant to such practice are maintained and
administered, or  in the judicial district in which
the aggrieved person would have worked but for the
alleged unlawful employment practice,  but if the
respondent is not found within any such district, such
an action may be brought within the judicial district
in which the respondent has his principal office.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). This statutory scheme indicates that
Congress intended to limit venue in Title VII cases to those
jurisdictions concerned with the alleged discrimination. Stebbins v.
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