Bates v. C & S Adjusters, Inc.

Dispute

Plaintiff Bates sued defendant C & S Adjusters, Inc. under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Personal and subject matter jurisdiction were proper. Plaintiff sued in the Western District of New York, his residence, where he had received allegedly unfair collection notices forwarded from a prior address. The district court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue, and plaintiff appealed to the Second Circuit.

Questions of law

What does “a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events…giving rise to the claim occurred” include?

Conclusions

The 1966 law change was intended to close venue gaps and should not be read more broadly than necessary to close those gaps. The 1990 amendment was a marginal expansion but permits multiple possible venues.

The statutory standard for venue depended not on whether the defendant made a deliberate contact, as it would with an analysis of personal jurisdiction, but on the location where the event occurred, which was the Western District of New York. Reversed and remanded.

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