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Moore v. Kittitas County Fire District No. 8

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

February 10, 2015

MONTY L. MOORE, Plaintiff,
v.
KITTITAS COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT No. 8, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) for improper venue, or, in the alternative, for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Dkt. #13. Defendants argue that the actions giving rise to the claims did not occur in this District and that they are not domiciled in this District, and therefore the matter should have been brought in the Eastern District of Washington. Id. Alternatively, Defendants assert that Plaintiff fails to state any plausible claims for relief. Id. Plaintiff responds that two of the three individual Defendants are domiciled in this District, and therefore the matter is properly brought here. Dkt. #15. Plaintiff further argues that his claims have been properly pled and are not subject to dismissal. Id. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

This case arises from allegations of wrongful discharge from employment. Plaintiff Monty Moore is the former Fire Chief for Kittitas County Fire District No. 8. Dkt. #1 at ¶ 3.1. According to Plaintiff, he was employed in that position from 1995 until May 4, 2013.[1] Id. Plaintiff's employment with the Fire District was under a contract that contained a "For Cause" termination clause. Id. at ¶ 3.4 and Ex. 1 at ¶ 4.

In 2012, Plaintiff was going through a divorce. Id. at ¶ 3.8. During the divorce proceedings, a domestic restraining order was issued. Id. Plaintiff and his wife had contacts considered to be violations of the restraining order. Id. at ¶ 3.9. As a result, Plaintiff was arrested on July 19, 2012. Id. at ¶ 3.10. On July 29, 2012, the Fire District placed Plaintiff on paid administrative leave pending a decision on the charges.[2] Id. at ¶ ¶ 3.10-3.11. Upon his leave, the Fire District wrote to Plaintiff that it hoped the matter would be positively resolved and that he would be able to return to normal duty. Id. at ¶ 3.11.

Plaintiff Moore went to a jury trial on the charges related to the alleged violations of the restraining order. Id. at ¶ 3.13. The trial concluded on April 26, 2013, and he was found not guilty on all charges. Id. The same day, Plaintiff requested to resume his duties at the Fire District. Id. at ¶ 3.14.

On May 4, 2013, after entering into executive session to discuss the request, the Fire District asked Plaintiff to resign. Id. at ¶ 3.15. Plaintiff was also apparently told that if he did not resign, he would be investigated for his conduct over the previous years. Id. He was told no information about what was being investigated or how the investigation would be conducted. Id. However, Plaintiff declined to resign.

Fire Commissioner Teri Sittauer then moved to terminate Plaintiff's employment with the District, which the Board approved. Dkt. #1 at ¶ 3.17. The Board informed local media that Plaintiff had been terminated for personnel reasons. Id. at ¶ 3.18. Plaintiff requested a pretermination hearing, but the request was rejected. Id. at ¶ ¶ 3.19-3.20. Plaintiff was informed that he has not been terminated for any disciplinary reason and no allegations of misconduct had been heard. Id. at ¶ 3.20. The instant matter followed.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standards of Review

1. Motions Under 12(b)(3)

Rule 12(b)(3) authorizes a court to dismiss an action for improper venue. Fed. R. Civ.

P. 12(b)(3). Plaintiff has the burden of proving that venue is proper in the district in which the suit was initiated. Piedmont Label Co. v. Sun Garden Packing Co., 598 F.2d 491, 496 (9th Cir. 1979). 28 U.S.C. § 1391 governs venue in civil actions, and provides that "[a] civil action may be brought in (1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located; [or] (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...". "[I]n the absence of an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to withstand [a 12(b)(3)] motion to dismiss." Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, 606 F.3d 1124, 1127 (9th Cir. 2010) (quotation omitted). The Court may consider evidence outside the pleadings when determining venue, and the presence ...


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