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Many individuals who want to file a mandamus case for a delayed immigration application are not aware of the importance of the choice of venue, or where to file the lawsuit. There are 94 different federal district courts and in many cases, there are multiple options to choose from regarding where to file. For example, they can file where they reside (if they live in the US), where the service center handling their case is located, or where the agency defendants are headquartered. Given its importance, clients should be sure to address venue with their attorneys before filing a case.
Mandamus cases are, almost by definition, all about timing. As a result, you want to file your case where you are most likely to get the quickest result or adjudication. That means trying to maximize the cooperation of the government attorney assigned to your case and minimize the odds that you will get a motion to transfer or strong government opposition to your request for an adjudication.
This is where experienced counsel comes in. Those with federal court expertise will instinctively survey the venue options and the current filing trends in each of the potential district courts in play. These trends change rapidly. Counsel should then try and find out how the local US Attorney’s offices (these are the lawyers who represent the government in immigration lawsuits) are defending mandamus cases. A good attorney will also consider the case law in the various courts to see how they might affect your case.
This type of due diligence, while prudent, cannot ensure a successful outcome. Nothing in litigation is guaranteed. That said, selecting the proper venue can be a major factor in weighing the odds of success. The evaluation and strategizing of a planned mandamus lawsuit is not complete without thoroughly and thoughtfully considering where to file it.