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Hildale:Colorado City DOJ Case Motion to Change Venue

Hildale:Colorado City DOJ Case Motion to Change Venue

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Published by Lindsay Whitehurst
Motion to move from Arizona to Utah the federal civil rights lawsuit filed against Hildale and Colorado City, towns dominated my members of the polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs.
Motion to move from Arizona to Utah the federal civil rights lawsuit filed against Hildale and Colorado City, towns dominated my members of the polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs.

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Published by: Lindsay Whitehurst on Sep 12, 2012
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12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728PETER STIRBA, Utah Bar No. 3118R. BLAKE HAMILTON, Utah Bar No. 11395KATHLEEN ABKE, Utah Bar No. 12422 
STIRBA & ASSOCIATES
215 South State Street, Suite 750P.O. Box 810Salt Lake City, Utah 84110-0810Telephone: (801) 364-8300Facsimile: (801) 364-8355kabke@stirba.com Attorneys for Defendants City of Hildale, Utah, TwinCity Power and Twin City Water Authority, Inc.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTDISTRICT OF ARIZONA
United States of America,Plaintiff,v.Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and TwinCity Water Authority, Inc.,Defendants.Case No. CV-12-8123-PCT-HRH
HILDALE DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONFOR CHANGE OF VENUE(Oral Argument Requested)
Defendants City of Hildale, Utah (“Hildale”), Twin City Power (“TCP”), and TwinCity Water Authority, Inc. (“TCWA”) (collectively the “Hildale Defendants”) herebymove this Court for a change of venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Specifically, theHildale Defendants request that this Court transfer venue from the District of Arizona tothe District of Utah, for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interestlogistical efficiency. This Motion is supported by the following memorandum of pointsand authorities.
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
The United States alleges three causes of action against Hildale and the Town of Colorado City, Arizona, (collectively, the “Twin Cities”), and two utility agencies thatserve the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities are located approximately 40 miles east of St.
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George, Utah (“St. George”) on their respective side of the Utah-Arizona border. All of the events and incidents alleged in the Complaint are alleged to have occurred in one or  both of the Twin Cities and involve(d) residents of either Colorado City or Hildale. Sinceall of the witnesses and evidence are located in the Twin Cities area,
more than 300 miles
 from this Court, the Hildale Defendants respectfully request that this Court transfer thiscase to the Central District of Utah, which is a significantly more convenient venue for allof the parties.
I. THE FEDERAL CHANGE OF VENUE STATUTE.
The federal change of venue statute provides that for the convenience of partiesand witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to anyother district or division where it may have been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Thisstatute “serves as a statutory substitute for forum non conveniens in federal court when thealternative forum is within the territory of the United States.” Ravelo Monegro v. Rosa,211 F.3d 509, 512-13 (9th Cir. 2000).Despite the fact that the common law doctrine of forum non conveniens no longer applies to changes of venue within the United States, “forum non conveniensconsiderations are helpful in deciding a § 1404 transfer motion.” Decker Coal Co. V.Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986). However, “section1404(a) provides
 greater 
flexibility and discretion,” than the doctrine of forum nonconveniens. Berry v. Potter, 2006 WL 335841, *3 (D. Ariz. 2006) (unpublished opinion)(citing Piper Aircraft Co. V. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 253 (1981)) (emphasis added).To decide a section 1404 transfer motion, a court must “balance the preferenceaccorded to the plaintiff’s choice of forum with the burden of litigating in an inconvenientforum.” Decker Coal, 805 F.2d at 843 (citing Mizokami Bros. of Arizona v. MobayChemical Corp., 660 F.2d 712, 718 (8th Cir. 1981)). In doing so, the court should consider  both public and private factors affecting a forum’s convenience. See id. Public factorsinclude the logistical and practical issues “that make trial of a case easy, expeditious andinexpensive,” such as ease of access to evidence and information, availability of 
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compulsory process for attendance of witnesses, and the cost of obtaining witnesses. 805F.2d at 843 (quoting Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508 (1947)). Public factorsinclude considerations such as court congestion, “local interest in having localizedcontroversies decided at home,” conflict of laws issues, and “the unfairness of burdeningcitizens in an unrelated forum with jury duty.” 805 F.2d at 843 (quoting Piper Aircraft,454 U.S. at 241 n. 6 (quoting Gulf Oil Corp., 330 U.S. at 509)).Here, both the relevant public and private factors support the transfer of this case tothe District of Utah.
II. THE DISTRICT OF UTAH IS AN APPROPRIATE ALTERNATIVEVENUE TO THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA.
Under section 1404, a district court may only transfer a case to another districtwhere the case could have been filed in the first place. See 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Pursuantto the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)
1
, a civil action may be brought in “a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to theclaim occurred,” or “any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).The United States alleges numerous incidents and events in support of its threecauses of action, but does not specify whether said events occurred within the State of Arizona or the State of Utah and does not differentiate between the Twin Cities, simplyreferring to them as the “Cities.”
2
In fact, only one allegation - that regarding an incidentat the Holm School - actually identifies the location of the alleged dispute, which was inHildale.
3
The Complaint does not identify the allegedly aggrieved individuals at all, muchless as residents of either Arizona or Utah. Furthermore, the majority of the Complaint’sallegations are based upon the alleged actions and conduct of the Marshal’s Office, a law
1
The “general venue statute,” 28 U.S.C. § 1391, applies to all of the causes of actionalleged in the Complaint.
See
42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), stating specifically that the generalvenue statute applies to the United States’
2
See, generally, Doc. 1, at ¶¶ 2, 4, 5, 16-50.
3
Id. at ¶ 28.
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