• February 17, 2015

640px-Pose_lake_MinnesotaPhil lives and works in Texas. Hunt lives and works in Minnesota. Phil hired Hunt to perform some work. Hunt performed the work. Phil did not pay Hunt. Hunt sued Phil in Minnesota.

Where did the alleged “wrongful act or omission” take place?

Say again?

The wrongful omission did not take place, right? The wrong was a non-event, an omission. So is the question where did the thing that did not happen happen? Or, to make that a little clearer, I guess, where did the omission take place?

Phil would likely suggest that the alleged wrongful omission “took place” in Texas. Hunt would likely argue that it “took place” in Minnesota.

Why? And who cares?


Big Tex on Fire, October 19, 2012, retouched photo by Christian Bradford

Phil Rock and Hunt Greene care because Minneapolis-based Greene Holcomb Fisher (where Hunt works) sued Texas-based Phillip A. Rock in Minnesota and Phillip Rock wants the U.S. District Court (D. Minn.) (Davis, C.J.) to transfer venue 1,000 miles-plus southward to the land of Big Tex.

For those of you who feel sympathy for Mr. Rock, a businessman in Texas, dragged up to this horrible climate to defend against GHF’s lawsuit, does it make a difference that Mr. Rock “was, at all times relevant, the president, CEO, and sole shareholder of ATM Network, Inc., a Minnesota corporation with its principal place of business in Minnesota“?

Maybe it is because my practice in recent years has been disproportionately on behalf of plaintiffs, but my sympathies tend to lie with plaintiffs in these disputes. To put it in common speech, “The guy rips me off and I have to travel to his home court to get my money????” (because we have to assume that is how it feels to GHF though presumably the defendant has some other view of the case).

But putting aside what some would call my bias, the venue rule provides, in part, that venue is proper in “a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred…” And, again, we’re back to the question of where something occurs if it never occurred and if two parties to the event or transaction that never happened are in different judicial districts.

I will hold my tongue on predicting how the Court will decide the question but I hope to keep track and update this post in days to come…

[Link to License for Photo: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/]

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