Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hambleton v. Eminent Spine, L.L.C.

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

March 29, 2018

BRANDI R. HAMBLETON, Plaintiff,
v.
EMINENT SPINE, LLC, and RON OMAN, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CLAIRE V. EAGAN UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Now before the Court is defendants Eminent Spine, LLC's, and Ron Oman's motion to dismiss for improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer venue (Dkt. # 21). Plaintiff has filed a response (Dkt. # 22) and defendants have replied (Dkt. # 24).

         I.

         Plaintiff Brandi R. Hambleton resides in Tulsa County, Oklahoma and resided in Rogers County, Oklahoma when a substantial part of the events giving rise to her claims allegedly took place. Dkt. # 2-7, at 1. Eminent Spine, an eleven-person company that produces biomechanical medical devices, has its sole office in Georgetown, Texas. Dkt. # 21-1, at 1. For over five years, Oman has been Eminent Spine's sales manager. Id. at 2.

         In January 2015, Eminent Spine hired plaintiff as a medical sales trainee. Dkt. # 2-7, at 2. At that time, she moved to The Colony, Texas, to train and learn about Eminent Spine's products. Dkt. # 21-1, at 2. In April 2015, Eminent Spine hired plaintiff as a salesperson. Id. Thereafter, she worked for Eminent Spine in the Dallas/Forth Worth area for approximately two months, then in Slidell, Louisiana for a short period of time, then, finally, in Claremore, Oklahoma (where she is from and has family connections). Id.

         While working in Claremore, Oklahoma, plaintiff secured the use of Eminent Spine's products for a surgery at Claremore Indian Hospital. Dkt. # 22, at 3.[1] In addition, plaintiff alleges that Oman made numerous, sexually suggestive and harassing calls to her residence in Claremore and traveled to Tulsa to meet her at a hotel, where he terminated her employment after, according to plaintiff, she rebuffed his sexual advances. Id.

         On December 18, 2017, plaintiff filed her petition in the District Court of Rogers County, State of Oklahoma, alleging four claims: sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. against both defendants (count one); negligence against Eminent Spine (count two); intentional infliction of emotional distress against both defendants (count three); and malicious interference with a contractual relationship against Oman (count four). Dkt. # 2-7. On January 16, 2018, defendants removed this case to this Court. Dkt. # 2.

         II.

         Defendants' motion to dismiss for improper venue falls under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). In the Tenth Circuit, “it has long been held” that Title VII's special venue provision, rather than the general venue statute, “governs venue in Title VII actions.” Pierce v. Shorty Small's of Branson Inc., 137 F.3d 1190, 1191 (10th Cir. 1998). This provision reads in pertinent part:

Such an action may be brought in any judicial district in the State in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed, in the judicial district in which the employment records relevant to such practice are maintained and administered, or in the judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice, but if the respondent is not found within any such district, such an action may be brought within the judicial district in which the respondent has his principal office. For purposes of sections 1404 and 1406 of Title 28, the judicial district in which the respondent has his principal office shall in all cases be considered a district in which the action might have been brought.

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) (emphasis added).

         Defendants argue that venue is improper in the Northern District of Oklahoma because the unlawful employment practice plaintiff complains of is not alleged to have occurred in this district, Eminent Spine's employment records are maintained in Texas, and this district is not the judicial district in which plaintiff would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice. Dkt. # 21, at 5-6. Plaintiff responds that venue is proper here because Oman sexually harassed and retaliated against her in Oklahoma, and, accordingly, venue is proper in any district in the state, including the Northern District. Dkt. # 22, at 6.

         The Court finds that venue is clearly proper in this district. Defendants cast 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) as requiring the satisfaction of three conditions for venue to be proper in a given district. But this is not so. Immediately prior to listing the third condition that renders venue proper, the statute includes the word “or.” Obviously, this indicates that a party need satisfy only one of the three conditions listed. And, with respect to her Title VII claim, plaintiff has done so. In fact, she has satisfied two conditions: she clearly alleges that Oman unlawfully harassed and retaliated against her in Oklahoma, and that she would have worked there but for Oman's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.