United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
OPINION & ORDER
COKE MORGAN, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Weigh Down Workshop
Ministries, Inc.'s ("Weigh Down"); Gwen
Shamblin's ("Shamblin"); and "Weigh Down
Ministries's ("WDM") (collectively,
"Defendants'") Motion to Transfer Venue to the
Middle District of Tennessee (the "Motion"), filed
on June 25, 2018. Doc. 3. The Court held a hearing on this
matter on February 7, 2019. For the reasons set forth herein,
the Court DENIES the motion.
declaratory judgment-copyright case arises out of a dispute
as to whether Plaintiffs weight-loss book, titled Waist
Away the Chantel Ray Way, infringes on the weight-loss
books published by Defendants. Plaintiffs book provides
advice to readers on weight loss and a healthier life. Doc. 1
("Compl.") ¶ 11. Defendants own rights to
evidently similar weight-loss books. Doc. 3-1 ¶¶
lives and works in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Doc. 8
("Finch Decl.") ¶ 2. Plaintiff claims that, in
her book, she describes her personal struggle with weight
loss and her interviews with over 1, 000 "thin
women." Compl. ¶10. She claims that she conducted
these interviews, researched the majority of her relevant
information, and wrote the majority of her book in Virginia
Beach. Finch Decl. ¶¶ 6-7. She claims that she
wrote and published this book in 2017 and did not discover
Defendants' materials until after she published her book.
Compl. ¶ 9; Finch Decl. ¶ 8.
are businesses organized under the laws of Tennessee with
their principle place of business in the Middle District of
Tennessee. Doc. 3-1 ¶ 3. Defendant Shamblin is a
resident of the Middle District of Tennessee. Doc. 3-2 ¶
Defendants learned of Plaintiffs work, Defendants issued a
cease and desist letter ("the Letter") to
Plaintiff, telling her that Defendants were aware of her
work, claiming that she was infringing on their works, and
asking her to stop her "infringing activities."
Doc. 3-1 ¶ 8. Defendants claim that this is the only
communication they had with Plaintiff prior to this lawsuit.
Id ¶ 9.
than respond to the Letter, Plaintiff filed this declaratory
judgment action, asking this Court to declare that she has
not infringed on any copyrights owned by Defendants.
Defendants filed this motion to transfer venue. Defendants
argue that under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) and
28 U.S.C. § 1406, this Court should transfer this
lawsuit to the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville
Division. Doc. 3. at 1. In the Motion, Defendants ask only
that this Court transfer this case to the Middle District of
Tennessee under rule 12(b)(3) and section 1406. Id.
Plaintiff filed her response opposing the Motion on July 6,
2018. Doc. 7. Defendants filed their reply on July 12, 2018.
On February 7, 2019, this Court held a hearing to hear oral
arguments on the Motion.
WHETHER VENUE IS PROPER IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF
primary issue currently before the Court is whether venue is
proper in the Eastern District of Virginia.
in copyright cases is usually governed by 28 U.S.C. §
1400. However, because this is a declaratory judgment action,
the general venue statute applies. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b), venue is proper in a judicial district if that
district meets one of the following criteria:
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if
all defendants are residents of the State in which the
district is located;
(2) 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 ...