Restoration Industry Association Inc. v. ThermaPure, Inc.

Filing 23

ORDER by Judge Thomas S. Zilly. Defendant's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative to transfer, docket no. 13 , is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. For the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and in the interest of justice, this case is hereby TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The motion to dismiss is DENIED without prejudice. (CL)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 6 7 8 RESTORATION INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION INC, Plaintiff, 9 10 11 v. C13-122 TSZ ORDER THERMAPURE, INC., et al., Defendants. 12 13 THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant’s motion to dismiss or, in 14 the alternative, to transfer, docket no. 13. Having reviewed all papers filed in support of 15 and in opposition to the motion, the Court enters the following order. 16 Plaintiff Restoration Industry Association, Inc. is a professional trade organization 17 with its principal place of business in Rockville, Maryland. Complaint at ¶¶ 5, 10, docket 18 no. 1. Defendant Thermapure Inc. is a corporation with its principal place of business in 19 Ventura, California. Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff filed this declaratory judgment action seeking a 20 ruling that six of Defendant’s patents are invalid on January 22, 2013. Id. at ¶ 2. 21 22 23 ORDER - 1 1 On February 14, 2013, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint under 2 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6), or in the alternative, to transfer the case 3 to the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Docket no. 13. 4 Plaintiff did not file a response, but did file an amended complaint, adding Mr. David 5 Hedman as a defendant on February 28, 2013. First Amended Complaint, docket no. 16. 6 The amended complaint is intended to cure the deficiencies identified in Defendant’s 7 motion to dismiss. Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant Thermapure’s Reply, docket 8 no. 21. 9 Defendant filed a reply, reiterating its request that the Court transfer the case to the 10 Central District of California. Docket no. 20. Defendant argues that (1) Plaintiffs have 11 not responded to its motion to transfer, (2) both Thermapure and Mr. Hedman are located 12 in the Central District of California, (3) all of the key witnesses, evidence and other 13 sources of proof are located in the Central District of California, and (4) the Central 14 District of California is the most convenient forum for the witnesses and the parties. 15 Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative to Transfer at 9-10; Reply, docket no. 21. 16 Plaintiff then, without notice to the Court, filed a surreply. 17 18 I. Discussion “For the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interests of justice, a 19 district court may transfer any civil matter to any other district or division where it might 20 have been brought.” 18 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Under this statute, the Court has discretion to 21 adjudicate motions for transfer according to an “individualized, case-by-case 22 consideration of convenience and fairness.” Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 23 ORDER - 2 1 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing Stewart Org. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)); see 2 also Lou v. Belzberg, 834 F.2d 730, 734 (9th Cir. 1987) (noting that review on appeal is 3 for abuse of discretion). 4 The statute has two requirements: (1) that the district to which Defendants seek 5 transfer is one in which the action “might have been brought,” and (2) that the transfer is 6 “for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and in the interests of justice.” 7 Amazon.com v. Cendant Corporation, 404 F. Supp. 2d 1256, 1259 (W.D. Wash. 2005). 8 Here, both Thermapure Inc. and Mr. Hedman are located in the Central District of 9 California. Hedman Decl. at 1, docket no. 14. As such, the suit “might have been 10 brought” in the Central District of California. Thus, the only issue before the Court is 11 whether to transfer the suit “for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and in the 12 interests of justice.” Amazon.com, 404 F. Supp. 2d at 1259. 13 This declaratory judgment action seeks a ruling that six of Defendant’s patents are 14 invalid. Complaint at ¶ 2. Both of the defendants are located in the Central District of 15 California. Hedman Decl. at ¶¶ 2-4. All documents related to the prosecution of the six 16 patents, as well as the attorneys who prosecuted the patents-in-suite are also located in 17 the Central District of California. Id. at ¶¶ 3, 5. Neither Plaintiff’s amended complaint 18 nor their surreply dispute these facts. Based on the uncontroverted evidence that the key 19 witnesses and evidence are located in the Central District of California, the Court finds 20 that it will be more convenient for the parties and the witnesses if the case is transferred 21 to the Central District of California. Hedman Decl. at 1-2; 22 23 ORDER - 3 1 2 II. Conclusion Defendant’s motion to dismiss or, in the alternative to transfer, docket no. 13, is 3 GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. For the convenience of the parties and 4 witnesses, and in the interest of justice, this case is hereby TRANSFERRED to the 5 United States District Court for the Central District of California. The motion to dismiss 6 is DENIED without prejudice. 7 Dated this 14th day of March, 2013. A 8 9 THOMAS S. ZILLY United States District Judge 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 ORDER - 4