United States District Court, District of Columbia
THOMAS I. GAGE, pro se, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al., Defendants.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
State of New Jersey, New Jersey Administrative Office of the
Courts, Judge Margaret Goodzeit, and Michelle M. Smith
(collectively, “State Defendants”), Ocwen Loan
Servicing, LLC and Ocwen Financial Corporation (collectively,
“Ocwen Defendants”), and Law Office of Rajan
Patel (“Patel Defendant”) have moved to dismiss
the claims of Plaintiff Thomas I. Gage, who is proceeding
consideration of the briefing,  the relevant legal authorities,
and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS as to
venue and judicial immunity and DENIES WITHOUT
PREJUDICE State Defendants' [7-1]
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint as to additional
grounds, GRANTS as to venue and DENIES WITHOUT
PREJUDICE Ocwen Defendants' [3-1] Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint as to additional grounds,
and GRANTS as to venue and DENIES WITHOUT
PREJUDICE Patel Defendant's  Motion to
Dismiss Complaint as to additional grounds. Rather than
dismiss all claims against Defendants, the Court shall, in
the interest of justice, transfer all claims, except the
claims against Judge Margaret Goodzeit, for which she is
judicially immune, to the U.S. District Court for the
District of New Jersey where venue is appropriate.
Court shall recite only those few allegations in the 
Complaint that are necessary to the resolution of this
matter. In tandem, the Court shall summarize the relevant
proceedings in this case.
filed this suit on May 22, 2018, against the State of New
Jersey, its state court administration, a state court judge,
and a state court clerk; two companies connected to the
mortgage lending business; and a private law firm. Compl.,
ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 42-47. Plaintiff's thirty-one
count Complaint pursues a variety of causes of action under
federal and New Jersey law that allegedly “arose from
an attempt of Plaintiff to expose fraudulent documents that
have been used on August 8, 2011, to steal Plaintiff's
private property at: 51 Hillcrest Blvd, Warren, NJ.”
Id. ¶ 4. The Complaint is not a model of clarity.
As best the Court can discern, however, Plaintiff objects to
actions purportedly associated with the foreclosure of his
home. See Id. ¶¶ 72-117.
State Defendants, Ocwen Defendants, and Patel Defendant each
filed a motion to dismiss this suit for, among other reasons,
improper venue. Plaintiff has submitted his opposition to
those motions, and each Defendant has filed a reply.
having concluded, the pending motions are ripe for
federal statute governing venue 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 [or] (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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1), (2).
Only “if there is no district in which an action may
otherwise be brought as provided in” Section 1391 may
the plaintiff pursue his claims in “any judicial
district in which any defendant is subject to the court's
personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.”
Id. § 1391(b)(3).
presented with a motion to dismiss for improper venue under
Rule 12(b)(3), 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.” James v. Verizon Servs.
Corp., 639 F.Supp.2d 9, 11 (D.D.C. 2009). “The
court, however, need not accept the plaintiff's legal
conclusions as true.” Id. “Because it is
the plaintiff's obligation to institute the action in a
permissible forum, the plaintiff usually bears the burden of
establishing that venue is proper.” Varma v.
Gutierrez, 421 F.Supp.2d 110, 113 (D.D.C. 2006) (quoting
Freeman v. Fallin, 254 F.Supp.2d 52, 56 (D.D.C.
2003)) (internal quotation marks omitted). “However, if
the plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the factual
allegations contained in [his] complaint should be held
‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.'” Id. (quoting
Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111,
1113 n.2 (D.C. Cir. 2000)). “Unless there are pertinent
factual disputes to resolve, a challenge to venue presents a
pure question of law.” Williams v. GEICO
Corp., 792 F.Supp.2d 58, 62 (D.D.C. 2011).
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). Before dismissing a
case for want of proper venue, a district court should
consider whether the “interest of justice”
standard warrants transfer. See Dugdale v. Ditech Fin.,
LLC, No. 17-7137, 2018 WL 1391724, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Feb.
21, 2018) (per curiam) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a);
Hayes v. Livermont, 279 F.2d 818, 818 (D.C. Cir.
1960) (per curiam)).
If by reason of the uncertainties of proper venue a mistake
is made, Congress, by the enactment of [Section] 1406(a),
recognized that “the interest of justice” may
require that the complaint not be dismissed but rather that
it be transferred in order that the plaintiff not be
penalized by what the late Judge Parker aptly characterized
as “time-consuming and justice-defeating
technicalities.” Goldlawr, Inc. v. Heiman, 369
U.S. 463, 467 (1962) (quoting, respectively, 28 U.S.C. §
1406(a); Internatio-Rotterdam, Inc. v. Thomsen, 218
F.2d 514, 517 (4th Cir. 1955)). “The decision whether a
transfer or a dismissal is in the interest of justice,
however, rests within the sound discretion of the district
court.” Naartex Consulting Corp. v. Watt, 722
F.2d 779, 789 (D.C. Cir. 1983).