Vo v. Gee, 032317 LAEDC, C. A. 16-15639

Court:United States District Courts, 5th Circuit
Party Name:VIET ANH VO v. REBEKAH E. GEE, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL
Case Date:March 23, 2017
Docket Nº:Civil Action 16-15639
 
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VIET ANH VO

v.

REBEKAH E. GEE, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL

Civil Action No. 16-15639

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 23, 2017

         SECTION “B” (5)

          OPINION

         Before the court are Defendant Perret's “Motion to Transfer Pursuant to 28 U.S.C section 1404(a)” (Rec. Doc. 50), Plaintiff's “Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant Louis J. Perret's Motion to Transfer Venue” (Rec. Doc. 61), Defendants Broussard and Thibodeaux's “Motion to Transfer Pursuant to 28 U.S.C section 1404(a)” (Rec. Doc. 48) and Plaintiff's “Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Diane Meaux Broussard and Michael Thibodeaux's Motion to Transfer Venue” (Rec. Doc. 62), Defendants Broussard and Thibodeaux's “Rule 12 (b)(6) Motion to Dismiss” (Rec. Doc. 47), Plaintiff's “Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Broussard and Thibodeaux's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss” (Rec. Doc. 59), Defendant Perret's “Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss” (Rec. Doc. 49), Plaintiff's “Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant Perret's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss” (Rec. Doc. 60), “Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec. Doc 37), Defendants Gee and George's “Incorporated Pre-Trial Brief and Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec. Doc. 55), Defendant Perret's “Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec Doc. 57), “Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec. Doc. 66), “Brief of Constitutional Accountability Center as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec. Doc. 43), “Brief of Amicus Curiae the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Louisiana in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec. Doc. 44), “Brief of Amici Curiae National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and LAMBDA Legal in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction” (Rec. Doc. 45). For the reasons set forth below, IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' Motions to Transfer and Motions to Dismiss are DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Plaintiff has brought a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against Defendant Rebekah Gee, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals for the State of Louisiana, Defendant Devin George, State Registrar and Director of the Office of Vital Records, Defendant Michael Thibodeaux, Clerk of Court for Iberia Parish, Defendant Diane Meaux Broussard, Clerk of Court for Vermilion Parish and Defendant Louis J. Perret, Clerk of Court for Lafayette Parish.

         Plaintiff, Viet “Victor” Anh Vo was born in an Indonesian refugee camp after his parents (both Vietnamese nationals) fled Vietnam as refugees (Rec. Doc. 1). Given this circumstance, Indonesian and Vietnamese authorities have never recognized his birth and consequently he has never been issued a birth certificate from a government entity (Rec. Doc. 1). Plaintiff has resided in Louisiana since he was three months old and became a naturalized citizen when he was eight years old (Rec. Doc. 1). In 2016, Plaintiff and his girlfriend (a fellow United States citizen) decided to get married and applied for a marriage license from the state of Louisiana (Rec. Doc. 1).

         Plaintiff was denied a marriage license pursuant to Act 436 which requires that all applicants for a marriage license provide a certified birth certificate, a valid and unexpired passport, or an unexpired visa accompanied by a Form I-94 (Rec. Doc. 1). Act 436 has a waiver of the birth certificate requirement but in order to qualify for the waiver an applicant must be a U.S. citizen that was born in the United States or one of its territories. Plaintiff was born outside of the United States and is naturalized citizen and therefore did not qualify for the waiver (Rec. Doc. 1). Plaintiff provided other official documents to the Clerk of Court including a social security number and a Louisiana state driver's license, but without a birth certificate as required by Act 436, the state of Louisiana refused to issue him a marriage license (Rec. Doc. 1).

         II. FACTUAL AND LEGAL FINDINGS

         A. Defendants' Motions to Transfer

         Defendants Brossard, Thibodeaux and Perret jointly bring a motion to transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1404(a). Under the statute venue may be transferred to any other district where the action might have been brought for “the convenience of the parties of witnesses and in the interest of justice.” Id. However, “the plaintiff's privilege to choose, or not to be ousted from, his chosen forum is highly esteemed. The burden of proof in a motion to transfer is on the moving party. Unless the balance of factors strongly favors the moving party, the plaintiff's choice of forum generally should not be disturbed.” Carpenter v. Parker Drilling Offshore United States, Case No. 05-365, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11979, at*5 (E.D. La. June 16, 2005).

         In the Fifth Circuit the court looks at eight primary factors when determining if a transfer is appropriate. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304 (5th Cir. 2008). There are four private interest factors and four public interest factors. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304. The private interest factors are: “(1) the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (2) the availability of compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses; (3) the cost of attendance for willing witnesses; and (4) all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.” Id. The four public interest factors are: “(1) the administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion; (2) the local interest in having localized interests decided at home; (3) the familiarity of the forum with the law that will govern the case; and (4) the avoidance of unnecessary problems of conflict of laws [or in] the application of foreign law.” Id. None of the factors can be said to be of dispositive weight. Id. Nonetheless, in analyzing the eight factors collectively, this Court finds that the Defendants' motion for a transfer...

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