United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
LAWRENCE C. REVIS, JR., Plaintiff,
T&A FARMS, TIMOTHY DALE DAVIS, ALPHINE DAVIS, and STACEY DINWIDDIE, Defendants.
GODBEY WOOD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT JUDGE
Lawrence C. Revis, Jr.'s motion to transfer venue and
examine jurors will be DENIED, but his motion to submit voir
dire questions will be GRANTED. Dkt. No. 105.
Sheila Smallwood, and her husband John Smallwood are suing
Defendants, their former employers, alleging race
discrimination and retaliation. Nos. 5:14-CV-86 (S.D. Ga.),
5:14-CV-87 (S.D. Ga.), 5:14-CV-88 (S.D. Ga.). Their suits are
being litigated in the Southern District of Georgia's
Smallwood's trial took place there on April 24-26, 2017.
Dkt. Nos. 106-08, No. 5:14-CV-87 (S.D. Ga.). Of the fourteen
impaneled jurors, four were African-American. One was excused
for cause with the consent of both parties. Three were
stricken by Defendants. Dkt. No. 113, No. 5:14-CV-87 (S.D.
Ga.). One was reinstated following John Smallwood's
successful challenge under Batson v. Kentucky, 476
U.S. 79 (1986). Dkt. Nos. 106, 113, No. 5:14-CV-87 (S.D.
Ga.). The jury unanimously reached a verdict finding
Defendants not liable. Dkt. No. 117, No. 5:14-CV-87 (S.D.
trial is set for July 12, 2017. Dkt. No. 104. On May 15,
2017, his attorneys moved to transfer venue, examine jurors,
and modify voir dire questions. Dkt. No. 105.
the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to
any other district or division where it might have been
brought . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). This decision
is discretionary. Ross v. Buckeye Cellulose Corp.,
980 F.2d 648, 654 (11th Cir. 1993). The party seeking
transfer of venue bears the burden of "establish[ing]
that the suggested forum is more convenient." In re
Ricoh Corp., 870 F.2d 570, 573 (11th Cir. 1989) (per
curiam). The court must first determine whether the action
could have been brought in the suggested forum. Osgood v.
Discount Auto Parts, LLC, 981 F.Supp.2d 1259, 1263 (S.D.
Fla. 2013). Then, it must weigh "(1) the convenience of
the parties; (2) the convenience of the witnesses; and (3)
the interest of justice." Greely v. Lazer
Spot, Inc., No. CV 411-096, 2012 WL 170154, at *2
19, 2012) (citation omitted). "[T]he fact that Plaintiff
[ ] requested the transfer can be considered as one factor in
favor of allowing a change of venue." Id. at
for . . . attorneys not being allowed to directly question
the venire members, a district court has discretion about how
to conduct voir dire, including whether to have counsel
submit questions in writing." United States v.
Hill, 643 F.3d 807, 831 (11th Cir. 2011).
The court may permit the parties or their attorneys to
examine prospective jurors or may itself do so. If the court
examines the jurors, it must permit the parties or their
attorneys to make any further inquiry it considers proper, or
must itself ...