Show Cause Order: Magistrate Judge Dolce Foster Targets Venue

Plaintiff Joanna Burke has been litigating issues concerning the validity of her mortgage for over a decade in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. [sic, Fifth Circuit].

Ms. Burke now seeks to continue that fight here, suing her mortgage servicer, the attorneys involved in her prior litigation, and an employee of the Fifth Circuit for actions taken during the course of the earlier litigation. (See generally ECF No. 1.)

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b),

A civil action may be brought in—

  • a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
  • 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
  • if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.

This District does not meet any of the requirements of section 1391(b).

Not one of the defendants is alleged to reside in Minnesota.

None of the events at issue took place in Minnesota.

Ms. Burke’s property is not located in Minnesota.

And at least one other District—the Southern District of Texas—would appear to supply an appropriate venue for this litigation under section 1391(b)(2).1

“The 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).

A district court may act sua sponte under section 1406(a).

See Trujillo v. Williams, 465 F.3d 1210, 1222 (10th Cir. 2006);

Bridges v. Director of Corrections, 1:23-cv-035, 2023 WL 2919864, at *2 (D.N.D. Mar. 17, 2023), report and recommendation adopted, 2023 WL 2914339 (D.N.D. Apr. 12, 2023).

Accordingly, Ms. Burke is ordered to show cause on or before August 16, 2023 why this matter should not be transferred or dismissed pursuant to section 1406(a).

In her response, Ms. Burke must establish how this District is an appropriate venue for this litigation under section 1391(b).

Failure to respond to the order to show cause on or before August 16, 2023 may result in a recommendation that this matter be transferred or dismissed without prejudice, as deemed more appropriate for the interests of justice.


Dated: July 17, 2023s/ Dulce J. Foster                                            Dulce J. Foster United States Magistrate Judge

1 Ms. Burke seems to favor this District as the venue for her lawsuit because:

(1) she has located case law from this District that she believes would be favorable to her case;


(2) she believes that this District will be amenable to virtual hearings.

Neither of these factors, however, changes whether this District is an appropriate venue for this litigation under § 1391(b), which is controlling.

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