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New York v. Pruitt

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20084
Nos. 18-CV-1030, -1048, (S.D.N.Y., 05/29/2018) (Oetken, J.)

A district court denied the U.S. government's request to transfer to the Southern District of Texas two cases challenging the Trump Administration's delay of the Clean Water Rule. One lawsuit was brought by the state of New York, and the other was brought by environmental groups; both were against EPA and its Administrator. The government argued transfer was proper because venue would have been proper in Texas. But the defendants do not “reside” in Texas for the purposes of the venue statute. Nor did the events leading up to the lawsuits occur in Texas. In addition, while efficiency and risk of inconsistent decisions weigh slightly in favor of transfer, convenience and choice of forum weigh more heavily against transfer. The government's strongest argument is that these suits could have been asserted as cross-claims in another lawsuit challenging the clean water rule that was filed in the Texas federal court. But only two of the plaintiffs—the environmental groups—are parties in the Texas litigation. The New York plaintiffs did not intervene in the Texas case and are not parties in that case. Their claims, therefore, could not have been brought in Texas, and it would make no sense to transfer one case but not the other. The court, therefore, denied the request.