San Jose, CA asked in Consumer Law and Personal Injury for Oregon

Q: Can a Jane Doe civil action be transfered between federal venues while maintaining Jane's anonymity?

In a federal diversity civil action brought in the District of Vermont (location of plaintiff), can the Jane Doe defendant, through her counsel, petition for a change of venue to the District of Oregon (her residence) while preserving her anonymity or must she reveal her identity to move the case?

Also, could an Oregon attorney petition fir the change or only one admitted to the Vermont district court?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Brad  Holbrook
Brad Holbrook
  • Newberg, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Your questions rasie some questions. You mentioned "civil action" without specifically referencing what type of claim it is and why the Vermont has any jursidiction. If you have no ties to Vermont, then you cannot be subjected to personal jurisdiction there unless you consent and/or somehow availed yourself to the state in such a way that it would not be unjust to force you to defend yourself there. It sounds like you might have a lawyer? I would suggest that you find a lawyer who is admitted to the federal court in that state. If the forum is more convenient in Oregon, and there are factors that make it appropriate (accident/injury occurred there, contract signed there, etc), the court would likely grant it. If the move is simply to make the case more difficult on the plaintiff, and Vermont is an appropriate forum, then it might be tough to move it over here. As far as filing a motion to change venue without the other parties knowing it is you, I think that would be hard to do because you would have to serve it on the other side and give them a chance to respond. I hope this guides you, it is tough to provide concrete answers without more details. You'll most likley need to consult with an attorney on this matter. Federal court varies from state court in many ways, and not all attorneys practice in federal court. It has different filing time, and requirments, so find an attorney who can help you in the federal system. I wish you the very best on this matter.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: One option could be to check with the clerks of the applicable courts. In federal practice, venue is governed by 28 U.S. Code § 1391, but I'm not aware of anything in the statute that addresses anonymity. Good luck

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