MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE

February 4, 2023

Regina R. Wims

(Plaintiff Pro Se)

PO Box 5471

Gainesville, FL 32627

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

ALACHUA COUNTY DIVISION

 

REGINA R. WIMSPlaintiff,

                vs.

ST. PATRICK INTERPARISH SCHOOL

DIOCESE OF SAINT AUGUSTINE, FRANK MACKRITIS, 

KRISTA WHITEHILL, 

GLENDA NOLAN, 

STACI WILLIAMS, 

VICTORIA GUAJARDO, 

CHRISTINA HASKO, 

DEACON SCOTT CONWAY, PAMELA DIAZ, 

LAURA JAROSIEWICZ, 

BETSY BOYLE,

LEXI JABLONSKI

A Catholic Educational institution

Defendants

Case No.: 1:21CV100 AW-GRJ                       

MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE

 

MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE

Now Comes the Plaintiff, REGINA R. WIMS, and moves this Court to change the venue of this matter to the Southern District of California pursuant to 28 U.S. Code § 1404. As grounds for this motion, Plaintiff states that: 

BACKGROUND

This Motion is based on Plaintiff’s cause of action, which arises from Defendants’ deliberately indifferent response to continuous, and ongoing hostile school environment, and discrimination against Plaintiff and her two children C. G. WIMS, and C. J. WIMS (minors) who are African-Americans. Defendants’ failure to promptly and appropriately investigate and respond to the conducts alleged subjected Plaintiff to further harassment and a hostile environment, effectively denying Plaintiff’s children access to educational opportunities.

In the prosecution of the case, Judge Jones has been BIASED. For instance, he failed to acknowledge the pro se status of Plaintiff and criticized her for her lack of legal experience. Judge Jones also made allegations and/or erroneous statements of fact in his response to Plaintiff. Notably, in response to Plaintiff’s request to have Defendant Besty Boyle (guidance counselor at St. Patrick Interparish School) refrain from Plaintiff’s husband’s business, Judge Jones erroneously stated that Plaintiff’s husband’s business was a barber shop. Also, Judge Jones erroneously stated that the child that accompanied Besty Boyle was Besty Boyle’s child. Plaintiff never stated that the child that accompanied Betsy Boyle was her child. In her submission to the Court, Plaintiff only stated that Betsy Boyle arrived at Plaintiff’s husband’s business with “a child.”  

There is also a conflict of interest in the case. The children of Judge Denise Ferrero, a sitting judge in the 8th Judicial Circuit, attended Saint Patrick Interparish School with Plaintiff’s children. Plaintiff’s children and Judge Denise Ferrero’s children participated in school-related activities and events outside of St Patrick Interparish School on many different occasions. The pictures that accompany this motion attest to this fact. Judge Denise Ferrero is not overseeing this case; however, there exists a conflict of interest in that regard.   

ARGUMENTS

  • Change of Venue

28 U.S. Code § 1404 (a) provides that “For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought or to any district or division…” (Emphasis added). 

“[T]he basic function of venue statutes is to set a fair and convenient location for trial.” Voit v. Madison Newspapers Inc., 116 Wis. 2d 217, 224, 341 N.W.2.d 693 (1984).  (Emphasis added). 

To support a motion for change of venue, the party must establish: (1) that venue is proper; (2) that the venue is one where the action might have been brought; and (3) that the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the interests of justice. See Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 820 F.Supp. 503, 506 (C.D. Cal.1992). 

Plaintiff contends that bias of a Judge is sufficient grounds for the change of venue. The American encyclopedia of law, Corpus Juris Secundum (Title 48A, “Judges”), while sidestepping the requirement for a concise definition, nonetheless provides this helpful summary of the law:

“(A) judge’s conduct must be free from impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and that both his official and personal behavior be in accordance with the highest standard society can expect. The standard of conduct is higher than expected of laypeople and also higher than that expected of attorneys. The ultimate standard must be conduct which constantly reaffirms fitness for the high responsibilities of judicial office, and judges must so comport themselves as to dignify the administration of justice and deserve the confidence and respect of the public” (Emphasis added).

 

Once venue is determined to be proper, courts evaluate the following factors to determine which venue is more convenient to the parties and the witnesses and will promote the interests of justice: (1) plaintiff’s choice of forum, (2) convenience of the parties, (3) convenience of the witnesses, (4) ease of access to the evidence, (5) familiarity of each forum with the applicable law, (6) feasibility of consolidation with other claims, (7) any local interest in the controversy, and (8) the relative court congestion and time of trial in each forum. See Williams v. Bowman, 157 F.Supp.2d 1103, 1106 (N.D. Cal. 2001). 

The party seeking the transfer must also satisfy the Court’s jurisdiction requirements. In federal law, jurisdiction is attained in two ways: Personal Jurisdiction, and Subject Matter Jurisdiction. Personal Jurisdiction refers to the power of a federal court to hear and determine a lawsuit involving a defendant by virtue of the defendant having some contact with the place where the court is located. See International Shoe v Washington, 326 US 310 (1945). This means, either the Defendant lives in that State or conducts business in that State. 

In Subject matter jurisdiction, the court must have jurisdiction over the dispute in the case. This means, there are specific cases that the federal courts hear. The two primary sources of the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts are diversity jurisdiction and federal question jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction generally permits individuals to bring claims in federal court where the claim exceeds $75,000 and the parties are citizens of different states. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. 

Federal question jurisdiction requires that the federal element appears on the face of a well-plead complaint, is a substantial component of the complainant’s claim, and is of significant federal interest. Federal question subject-matter jurisdiction is frequently derived from federal statutes granting a cause of action to parties who have suffered a particular injury. Furthermore, it is important to note that 28 U.S.C. § 1367 provides for supplemental jurisdiction in federal courts. Supplemental jurisdiction allows a federal court to adjudicate a claim over which it does not have independent subject-matter jurisdiction, on the basis that the claim is related to a claim over which the federal court does have independent jurisdiction. 

In the instant case, all Judge Jones conveys is condescending bias. Further, this court lost any presumption of impartiality and any semblance of basic professionalism and decency when it failed to acknowledge the pro se status of Plaintiff and criticized her for her lack of legal experience. The Judge also made allegations and/or erroneous statements of fact in his response to Plaintiff, as has been alleged hereinabove. In that regard, Plaintiff fears she will not receive a fair hearing, because of the Court’s continuing demonstrable prejudice against her. It would therefore be in the interest of justice to transfer the venue of this case to the Southern District of Florida. 

In light of the foregoing, Plaintiff contends that the venue is proper and that the Southern District of Florida would be convenient for all parties in the case. The Southern District of Florida also has personal jurisdiction of some of the Defendants.  Lastly, the Southern District of Florida has subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff’s claims involve the violation of rights guaranteed by the Constitution. 

  1. Conflict of interest

A conflict must be “actual, not merely hypothetical or speculative” as a “mere possibility of conflict of interest” is not substantial enough to violate the Sixth Amendment. Buenoano v. Singletary, 74 F.3d 1078, 1086 (11th Cir. 1996). 

The Eleventh Circuit has previously held that “[it] will not find an actual conflict unless [a defendant] can point to specific instances in the record to suggest an actual conflict.” Smith v. White, 815 F.2d 1401, 1404-05 (11th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted). 

The Courts have also held that even a potential conflict suffices for disqualification. See U.S. v. Ross, 33 F.3d 1523 (11th Cir. 1994). 

In the instant action, a conflict of interest exists between Judge Jones and Judge Denise Ferrero. They know each other and are both sitting Judges in the 8th Judicial Circuit. Notably, Honorable Judge Denise Ferrero’s children attended Saint Patrick Interparish School with Plaintiff’s children. Also, Plaintiff’s children and Judge Denise Ferrero’s children participated in school-related activities and events outside of St Patrick Interparish School on many different occasions. The pictures that accompany this motion attest to this fact. In that regard, the conflict of interest is actual, and it necessitates the change of venue of this action. 

 

WHEREFORE, these premises considered, Plaintiff moves this court to disqualify itself from presiding in this case, as no reasonable, sane person could possibly, reasonably conclude that this court will be anything but unfair to Plaintiff in light of the patent unfairness and mendacity evidenced by this court to date. Plaintiff also prays the venue of this Case be changed to the Southern District of Florida. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DATED: ______                                                                                   

 

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

 I hereby certify on the ____________day of _______________, 2021, that a true and correct copy of the foregoing Motion were served by placing a copy in the United States Postal Service, with postage prepaid, addressed upon the following:

 

SERVICE ON:

St. Patrick Interparish School

550 NE 16th Ave, Gainesville, 

FL 32601, United States

 

Diocese of Saint Augustine 

11625 Old St Augustine Rd, Jacksonville, 

FL 32258, United States

 

Frank Mackritis, Krista Whitehill, Glenda Nolan, Staci Williams, 

Victoria Guajardo, Lexi Jablonski, Christina Hasko, Deacon Scott Conway,

 Pamela Diaz, Laura Jarosiewicz, Betsy Boyle, 

550 NE 16th Ave, Gainesville, 

FL 32601, United States

 

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