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Lumbo v. Liberty Credit Acceptance Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 22, 2017

ROMEO LUMBO and ERLINDA LUMBO, Plaintiffs,
v.
LIBERTY CREDIT ACCEPTANCE INC., and TDARC ASSET RECOVERY, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT LIBERTY CREDIT ACCEPTANCE, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR IMPROPER VENUE; OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, TRANSFER (DOC. NO. 3)

          Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Liberty Credit Acceptance, Inc.'s (Liberty) motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, transfer. (Doc. No. 3.) Because the Court finds jurisdiction in this venue is appropriate, the Court DENIES Liberty's motion.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Defendants challenge whether plaintiffs Romeo and Erlinda Lumbo have sufficiently demonstrated that a “substantial part” of their Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“Rosenthal Act”) claim arose in this judicial district for the purpose of establishing venue. Plaintiffs reside in San Diego, California, (Doc. No. 6 at 4), and Liberty's principal place of business is in Wilmington, County of Los Angeles, California, (Doc. No. 3-1 at 2). Plaintiffs financed a vehicle in Los Angeles County from Pacific Motors dealership, whom is not a party to this action. (Docs. No. 3-1 at 2, 6 at 4.) Pacific Motors then assigned the loan to Liberty. (Id.) Liberty began collecting on the vehicle loan through letters and a telephone call (Docs. No. 6 at 4, 1 ¶ 42.) Additionally, Defendants Liberty and TDARC physically repossessed the vehicle from Plaintiffs' San Diego residence. (Docs. No. 6 at 4, 1 ¶ 37.)

         Plaintiffs commenced this action in the Southern District of California (SDCA) alleging Liberty violated the Rosenthal Act by engaging in unfair practices of debt collection. (Doc. No. 1.) Separate and apart from this action, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Pacific Motors, alleging overcharges of licensing fees in violation of California Vehicle Code § 11616. (Doc. No. 6 at 4.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Title 28 of the United States Code § 1391 is the general statute governing actions brought in district court to determine the propriety of venue. Section 1391(b) establishes that venue is proper in the following instances:

(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 subject of the action is situated; or
(3) any judicial district in which any action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.

28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1)-(3). Thus, venue is generally proper either where the defendants reside or where a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1)-(2). Section 1391(b) is disjunctive, accordingly, the analysis of venue under the first subsection is of no consequence to the other subsections. See Sapan v. Dynamic Network Factory, Inc., No. 13-CV-1966-MMA(WVG), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192266, at *5 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2013).

         In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(3), the “pleadings need not be accepted as true, and facts outside the pleadings may be considered.” Doe 1 v. AOL LLC, 552 F.3d 1077, 1081 (9th Cir. 2009); Argueta v. Banco Mexicano, S.A., 87 F.3d 320, 324 (9th Cir. 1996). The plaintiff bears the burden of proving the propriety of venue in the chosen judicial district. See Piedmont Label Co. v. Sun Garden Packing Co., 598 F.2d 491, 496 (9th Cir. 1979).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Venue in the Southern ...


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