Parker v. The Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission
OPINION AND ORDER: it is the ORDER, JUDGMENT, AND DECREE of the court that the 19 motion to transfer filed by dft Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission is granted and this lawsuit is transferred in its entirety to the United States District Cour t for the Northern District of Alabama; All other pending motions remain for resolution by the transferee court; DIRECTING the clerk to take appropriate steps to effect the transfer; This case is closed in this court. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 12/14/2015. (wcl, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION
THE ALABAMA SPACE SCIENCE
EXHIBIT COMMISSION d/b/a
U.S. Space And Rocket
CIVIL ACTION NO.
OPINION AND ORDER
against his employer, defendant Alabama Space Science
position on the basis of his age, in violation of the
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (‘ADEA’),
specifically, 29 U.S.C. § 623(a), and then retaliated
against him when he complained of this treatment, in
Jurisdiction is proper under 29 U.S.C. § 626 (ADEA) and
28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question).
This matter is before the court on the Commission’s
motion to dismiss the case in its entirety or, in the
alternative, to transfer venue to the Northern District
In its motion, the Commission argues that
Parker’s first amended complaint should be dismissed
because, as a state agency, it is an arm of the State
and is therefore protected by sovereign immunity.
reasons that will be explained, the Commission’s motion
to transfer venue will be granted.
Because the case
will be transferred, the court need not address the
substance of the motion to dismiss.
28 U.S.C. § 1404 gives district courts authority to
transfer any civil action to any district in which it
could have been brought originally for “the convenience
of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.”
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); see McGlathery v. Corizon, Inc.,
2012 WL 1080789, at *1 (M.D. Ala. 2012) (Thompson, J.).
England v. ITT Thompson Indus., Inc., 856 F.2d 1518,
1520 (11th Cir. 1988).
In deciding whether a transfer is proper, courts
WL 1080789, at *1 (quoting
Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988))
(internal quotation marks omitted).
The court conducts
whether the case could “originally have been brought in
the proposed transferee district court.”
Id. at *1.
convenience favors transfer.”
As to the second
relevant factors, including
“(1) the convenience of the witnesses;
(2) the location of relevant documents
and the relative ease of access to
sources of proof; (3) the convenience
of the parties; (4) the locus of
operative facts; (5) the availability
of process to compel the attendance of
unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative
means of the parties; (7) a forum's
familiarity with the governing law;
(8) the weight accorded a plaintiff's
justice, based on the totality of the
(11th Cir. 2005).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391, “[a] civil
action may be brought in ... a judicial district in
which a substantial part of the events or omissions
giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial
part of property that is the subject of the action is
located in Huntsville, Alabama, which is within the
Northern District’s jurisdiction and geographic area.
The court must therefore turn to the balance of the
Because the parties do not rely on--and
have not provided evidence related to--the availability
of process to compel witnesses’ attendance at trial,
the means of the parties, or either forum’s familiarity
with applicable law, the court will consider only the
The Commission relies on the fact that located in
facts” and, it appears from the parties’ filings, all
accessibility of sources of proof and the convenience
of all witnesses testifying to the merits of the claims
Instead, he argues that, because witnesses
and documents relevant to the Commission’s argument for
dismissal are located in Montgomery, Alabama, which is
within in the Middle District, the Commission’s motion
to transfer venue should be denied.
In other words,
Parker contends that, because he must rely on witnesses
and documents in the State’s capital, Montgomery, to
prove that the Commission is not an arm of the State,
reason why the court should inconvenience the witnesses
accommodate witnesses and discovery on a narrow, albeit
testimony in determining whether [the convenience of
the witnesses] weighs in favor of transfer.”
v. Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., 558 F. Supp. 2d
699, 704 (E.D. Tex. 2007) (Schell, J.).
Because only a
issue in the case would benefit from the case being
heard in the Middle District, this factor militates in
favor of transfer.
(Indeed, it is debatable whether
the jurisdictional issue will turn on witness testimony
(as opposed to documentary evidence and statutes) at
Further, the interests of justice and the public
interest weigh in favor of the case being heard in the
Northern District, where the Commission is located and
where the relevant events occurred.
As the Supreme
Court has held, “[t]here is a local interest in having
localized controversies decided at home.”
Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 509 (1947); see also
Finally, it appears that Parker himself resides in the
See Mem. Law. Supp. Plf.’s Resp.
Mot. Dismiss or Transfer Venue (doc. no. 16), at 17 n.5
Plaintiff and the Defendants’ witnesses who reside in
the Northern District of Alabama should be required to
drive to Montgomery for trial.”) (internal quotation
While the plaintiff’s choice of forum
deference is lessened--as is the defendant’s burden of
persuasion--when the plaintiff himself does not reside
connected to, the district in which the suit was filed.
See Patel v. Howard Johnson Franchise Systems, Inc.,
928 F. Supp. 1099, 1101 (M.D. Ala. 1996) (DeMent, J.).
Based on these facts, a transfer of venue is warranted.
Accordingly, it is the ORDER, JUDGMENT, AND DECREE
of the court that the motion to transfer (doc. no. 19)
Commission is granted and this lawsuit is transferred
in its entirety to the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Alabama.
All other pending motions remain for resolution by
the transferee court.
appropriate steps to effect the transfer.
This case is closed in this court.
DONE, this the 14th day of December, 2015.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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