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Civil Resource Manual

41. Venue -- Government Officers And Agencies As Defendants

Suits against government officers acting in their official capacities or under color of office or legal authority, and against government agencies or the United States, may be brought, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e), in any judicial district in which:

A. A defendant in the action resides;

B. 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; or

C. The plaintiff resides if no real property is involved in the action.

Section 1391(e) of Title 28 is a venue statute and confers no jurisdiction upon the court. See Andrus v. Charlestone Stone Products Co., Inc., 436 U.S. 604, 608 n.6 (1978). A suit for money damages to be paid by an individual who is or was a federal employee "is not encompassed by the venue provisions of § 1391(e)." Stafford v. Briggs, 444 U.S. 527, 542 (1980); see also Micklus v. Carlson, 632 F.2d 227, 240-41 (3d Cir. 1980). This section may not be used to obtain venue over a former employee, where the federal employment had terminated as of the date suit was filed or the individual was joined as a defendant. See Sutain v. Shapiro and Lieberman, 678 F.2d 115, 117 (9th Cir. 1982).

For purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(1), the residence of federal officers is that place where the officers perform their official duties. See Reuben H. Donnelley Corp. v. F.T.C., 580 F.2d 264, 266 n.3 (7th Cir. 1978). The presence of an agency regional office within a judicial district does not make the agency a resident of the district for venue purposes. Id. at 267. Only one of the plaintiffs need reside in the district for venue to be proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(3). Exxon Corp. v. F.T.C., 588 F.2d 895, 899 (3d Cir. 1978).

However, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) was only intended to apply to Executive Branch employees, and not to Members of Congress or their employees. Liberation News Service v. Eastland, 426 F.2d 1379 (2d Cir. 1970). 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) does not apply to suits filed in the Canal Zone. See Drummond v. Bunker, 560 F.2d 625, 626 (5th Cir. 1977).

[cited in USAM 4-2.200]