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Ghaith v. Rauschenberger

April 22, 2010

FAWAZ GHAITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DON RAUSCHENBERGER, JR., IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MARION BREASBOIS, DAWN ROSE PORTER GHAITH, JERRY BREASBOIS, MICHAEL NEWSHAM, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MICHAEL E. BURCH, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, RICHARD I. DRESSER, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, SCOTT GORDON, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, SHERIFF JOHN E. MILLER, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BAY COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, AND BAY COUNTY DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John Feikens

OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE RANDON'S ORDER (Dkt. 31), OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS, AND TRANSFERRING VENUE TO NORTHERN DIVISION

I. INTRODUCTION

This cause of action arises out of Plaintiff's claim that Defendants conspired to falsely accuse him of various crimes, and caused him to be wrongfully jailed for more than six months. Plaintiff Fawath Ghaith is a Muslim American of Jordanian descent. He is suing eleven defendants, comprised of nine individuals (his former wife, her mother and step-father, two Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys for the Bay County Prosecutor's office, a Detective and two State Troopers for the Michigan State Police Department, and the Sheriff of Bay County), and two entities (Bay County, Michigan, and the Bay County Sheriff's Department).

Several of the Defendants moved, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to transfer this action from the Southern Division to the Northern Division of the Eastern District of Michigan. Magistrate Judge Randon held a hearing, granted the motion, and ordered the case transferred to the Northern Division. Plaintiff filed objections to Magistrate Judge Randon's Order. Judge Ludington of the Northern Division reassigned the case back to this Court pending consideration of Plaintiff's objections. For the reasons that follow, I AFFIRM Magistrate Judge Randon's Order, OVERRULE Plaintiff's objections, and ORDER this case to be transferred back to the Northern Division for adjudication.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges, generally, that the Defendants conspired to "circumvent the Jordanian immigration laws in order to have Plaintiff's son unlawfully removed from Jordan to the United States without Plaintiff's knowledge or permission." Specifically, he claims that his wife sought to end their marriage and move to the United States with their children. Her plan, however, was frustrated by her inability to obtain a passport for one of their children without Plaintiff's permission unless he "was deceased or confined in prison." As a result, Plaintiff alleges that "two or more of the Defendants" conspired to have him arrested and detained against his will in order to fraudulently obtain the requisite passport. Pursuant to this alleged conspiracy, Plaintiff claims that on September 2, 2008, without probable cause, he was arrested, interrogated, and confined for approximately 196 days. He claims that during his confinement, he was maliciously prosecuted on four counts of extortion. His first trial ended in a mistrial. All charges were dismissed on the eve of his second trial.

As Magistrate Judge Randon correctly noted,

1. "Each of the Thirteen Counts in Plaintiff's Complaint . . . [is] based on events that occurred entirely or substantially within the Northern Division -- none of which occurred in the Southern Division." (Dkt. 31 at 3);

2. "Plaintiff recently moved to the Southern Division where this action was, thus, properly filed." (Id.); and

3. "[A]ll of the individual defendants reside in the Northern Division . . . and Bay County is located in the Northern Division." (Dkt. 31 at 4).

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Review of Non-Dispositive Order of a Magistrate Judge

Non-dispositive orders issued by a magistrate judge are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). Collectively, these rules permit this Court to reconsider Magistrate Judge Randon's Order if Plaintiff has demonstrated that it is "clearly erroneous or contrary to law." A finding is "'clearly erroneous' when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court . . . is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Hagaman v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 958 F.2d 684, 690 (6th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted).

B. Magistrate Judge Randon's Order

The parties agree that a motion to transfer venue considers nine factors: (1) the convenience of the witnesses; (2) the location of the relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (3) the convenience of the parties; (4) the locus of the operative facts; (5) availability of process; (6) the relative means of the parties; (7) the forum's familiarity with the governing law; (8) the weight accorded plaintiff's choice of forum; and (9) trial efficiency and interests of justice, based on the totality of the circumstances. United States v. P.J. Dick. Inc., 79 F. Supp. 2d 803, 805-06 (E.D. Mich. 2000); Overland, Inc. v. Taylor, 79 F. Supp. 2d 809 (E.D. Mich. 2000).

Magistrate Judge Randon's analysis and Plaintiff's objections to ...


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