You have to pick the right court. Good luck.
Boudouin v. Dept. of the Navy, et al., Civil Action No. C 09-4958 SBA (N.D. Cal. March 4, 2010) on transfer, Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-00109-JBF-TEM (E.D. Va. March 8, 2010). Boudouin sued the Navy under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and alleged that the Navy had failed to promote him on account of his age and race and had retaliated against him for filing discrimination claims. Plaintiff’s home port was San Diego, and he resided in Oakland. After Plaintiff brought the suit in the Northern District of California, the Navy filed a motion to transfer venue, that is, the geographical location of the presiding court. The Court found (and, to an extent, the Plaintiff alleged) that the Navy’s personnel decisions were made in Virginia and his employment records were kept there as well. The Court also found that, had Boudouin been promoted, his home port would have been in Virginia. In any event, the Court found, Boudouin’s work would take place at sea, and not in any state. Under the general venue statute, actions against an officer or employee of the United States acting in his official capacity may be brought where (1) a defendant in the action resides, (2) a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim arose, or (3) the plaintiff resides. However, Title VII has its own special venue statute, which provides that such an action may be brought (1) in the state in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed, (2) in the judicial district in which the employment records relevant to such practice are maintained and administered, or (3) in the judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice. The Court held that, because the third prong of the test did not apply, venue for Boudouin’s Title VII claims could only be in the Eastern District of Virginia. Boudouin’s ADEA claims, however, could properly be heard in the Northern District of California, where he lived. The California Court noted that, when confronted with conflicting venue statutes, some federal courts have ruled that the lawsuit must proceed where venue exists for both claims. Other federal courts have held that the claim with the most restrictive venue provision controls. In this case, the California Court transferred the matter to Virginia, because venue could be proper in Virginia under either venue statute.