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Mickelson v. Mickelson

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Lexington

February 23, 2017

JUDITH MICKELSON, Plaintiff,
v.
JULIAN MICKELSON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiff Judith Mickelson brought suit against numerous defendants arising out of their alleged misconduct involving her inheritance. (DE 1). Judith[1] proceeds in this matter pro se.

         Currently before the Court are motions to dismiss filed by all defendants. (DE 16; DE 17; and DE 19). Also before the Court is Judith's motion for injunctive relief (DE 36), her motion for immediate injunctive relief (DE 40), and her motion to correct exhibits (DE 39). For the following reasons, all of the defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED, Judith's motion for injunctive relief and her motion for immediate injunctive relief are DENIED, and her motion to correct exhibits is DENIED as moot.

         I. Background

         A lengthy discussion of the underlying facts is not necessary to dispose of the matters pending before the Court. Judith is the daughter of Ralph and Shirley Mickelson and the sister to Jerome, Julian, and Jonathon.

         Judith represents that Ralph's will and testament specifically called for the creation of four trusts upon Shirley's death-one named for each child-and Jerome was named as co-trustee on each trust with the other children named as co-trustees on their respective trust.[2]All of the trusts were to be equally funded.

         In her complaint, Judith claims that the combined estates of Ralph and Shirley were valued at more than $20 million and that Jerome was named as the independent administrator and executor of the parents' estates.

         In 2011, Judith brought suit against Jerome in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for his actions regarding the handling of her trust. The Northern District of Illinois disposed of Judith's claims and granted summary judgment to Jerome. See Mickelson v. Mickelson, No. 11 C 5061, 2013 WL 3774004, at *1 (N.D. Ill. July 18, 2013). The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, describing the case as “a bitter dispute over the inheritances of Judy Mickelson and her three brothers.” See Mickelson v. Mickelson, 577 F. App'x 613 (7th Cir. 2014) (Mem).

         Judith has now brought suit against her three brothers, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.[3], and Lloyd Chatfield, who served as her attorney during part of the earlier litigation. In her complaint, Judith pleads seven counts: conversion, conspiracy, fraud, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and abuse of process.

         All defendants-the Mickelson brothers (DE 16), The PrivateBank & Trust Co. (DE 17), and attorney Chatfield (DE 19)-have filed motions to dismiss Judith's complaint with prejudice.

         II. Defendants' motions to dismiss

         The motions to dismiss cite three grounds by which the Court could dispose of Judith's claims: (1) her claims are barred by res judicata; (2) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3), the Eastern District of Kentucky is an improper venue; and (3) under Rule 12(b)(6), Judith has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         The Court will address the defendants' improper venue argument first, for if venue is improper in the Eastern District of Kentucky, the Court “shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).

         As a threshold matter, the Court notes that Judith did not address the issue of venue in her complaint. Nonetheless, the defendants bear the burden to establish that venue in the Eastern District of Kentucky is improper. See Means v. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 836 F.3d 643, 652 n.7 (6th Cir. 2016).

         Venue, and the question of whether it is wrong or improper, is governed generally by 28 U.S.C. § 1391. See Atl. Marine Constr. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for W. Dist. Of Texas, 134 S.Ct. 568, 577 (2013). ...


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