Gonzalez et al v. Aircraft Guaranty Holdings & Trust, LLC et al. DO NOT DOCKET IN 4:11cv3257. CASE IS CONSOLIDATED UNDER 4:11cv3256.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS MOTION TO TRANSFER 17 AND TRANSFERRING CASES TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS. Signed by Judge Joan A. Lenard on 8/30/2011. Associated Cases: 1:11-cv-21930-JAL, 1:11-cv-21931-JAL, 1:11-cv-21941-JAL, 1:11-cv-21943-JAL, 1:11-cv-21944-JAL(dpv)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 11-21930-CIV-LENARD
CASE NO. 11-21931-CIV-LENARD
CASE NO. 11-21941-CIV-LENARD
CASE NO. 11-21943-CIV-LENARD
CASE NO. 11-21944-CIV-LENARD
ASNALDO DEL VALLE
GONZALEZ AND CARMEN M.
YANEZ DE GONZALEZ,
HOLDINGS & TRUST, LLC,
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO TRANSFER (D.E. 17)
AND TRANSFERRING CASES TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Defendant Aircraft Guaranty Holdings and
Trust, LLC’s Motion to Transfer Venue to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Texas (D.E. 17), filed on August 11, 2011. Plaintiffs Asnaldo Del
Valle Gonzalez and Carmen M. Yanez De Gonzalez, as co-representatives for the Estate
of Yessenia Coromotoa Gonzalez Yanez, filed their Notice of Non-Objection to
Defendant’s Motion to Transfer Venue (D.E. 28) on August 29, 2011.
This action stems from a plane crash that occurred on April 28, 2008 in Venezuela.
Plaintiffs’ decedent perished tragically in this crash, and Plaintiffs brought suit in the
Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial District in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida,
on April 29, 2011. Defendant then removed to this Court on May 27, 2011. Defendant
now moves for transfer of this action and all consolidated cases to the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Defendant, a Delaware Corporation
with its principle place of business in Texas, contends that Texas is the most convenient
forum for this litigation and this action could have been filed there originally. (Mot. at 4.)
The Motion to Transfer is unopposed.1
Title 28 of the United States Code section 1404(a) places within the discretion of
the district court the power to “transfer any civil action to any other district or division
where it might have been brought,” “[f]or the convenience of parties . . . [or] in the
interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C. 1404(a); see Brown v. Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co., 934
F.2d 1193, 1197 (11th Cir. 1991). The transfer analysis is two-pronged: “First the
alternative venue must be one in which the action could have originally have been
brought by the plaintiff. The second prong requires courts to balance private and public
factors to determine if transfer is justified.” Mason v. Smithkline-Beecham Clinical
Laboratories, 146 F.Supp.2d 1355, 1359 (S.D. Fla. 2001). Additional factors for the
Court’s consideration are the convenience of witnesses, location of relevant documents
and ease of access to sources of proof, the convenience of the parties, the locus of
operative facts, the availability of process to compel attendance of unwilling witnesses,
the relative means of the parties, the forum’s familiarity with governing law, the
Defendant Lycoming Engines/AVCO Corporation, previously opposed to
transfer, has been dismissed from this action by this Court’s August 29, 2011 Order (D.E. 27).
deference to plaintiff’s chosen forum, trial efficiency and the interests of justice. Manuel
v. Convergys Corp., 430 F.3d 1132, 1135 (11th Cir. 2005).
As a preliminary matter, the Court finds that this action could have been brought
by Plaintiffs in the Southern District of Texas – the forum in which Defendant’s principle
place of business is located. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a)(3).
The remaining public and private interest factors also weigh in favor of transfer to
the Southern District of Texas. Plaintiff’s choice of forum – originally Florida – has been
superseded by their acquiescence to Texas as the more appropriate forum. The parties
agree that witnesses and documents, i.e., sources of proof, are located in Texas at
Defendant’s headquarters or can easily be produced there. The parties also concur that
the law to be applied is Texas law2 or Venezuela law, therefore Texas is the forum with
the greater familiarity with governing law and has the greater interest in this action. The
locus of operative facts is arguably Venezuela, although Texas retains the slight edge over
Florida on this factor in that Defendant entered into relevant contracts in Texas. The
convenience of the parties, availability of process and means of parties bear little weight
in favor or transfer, as the Venezuelan Plaintiffs instead will have to travel to Texas and
contend with its courts rather than Florida’s. Similarly, trial efficiency and the interests
of justice are lightly impacted by a transfer to Texas.
Because (1) this action could have been brought originally in the Southern District
Defendant plans to add the operator of the aircraft as an essential party. The
operator’s contract with Defendant stipulates to the application of Texas law.
of Texas, (2) the parties are in agreement that it is the more appropriate forum and (3) the
balance of public and private factors weighs in its favor, the Court finds that transfer is
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
CASE NO. 11-21930-CIV-LENARD and its companion cases, CASE NO.
11-21931-CIV-LENARD, CASE NO. 11-21941-CIV-LENARD, CASE
NO. 11-21943-CIV-LENARD and CASE NO. 11-21944-CIV-LENARD,
are TRANSFERRED to the SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS in
All pending motions are DENIED as moot.
The aforementioned cases are now CLOSED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, this 30th day of August,
JOAN A. LENARD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE