Viera v. Mastercorp, Inc.

Filing 12

ORDER by Judge Joseph C. Spero denying 5 Motion to Transfer Case (jcslc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/2/2011)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 TERESA VIERA, 8 Plaintiff, 9 v. No. C-11-01794 JCS ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) [Docket No. 5] MASTERCORP., INC., 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 Defendant. ___________________________________/ 13 14 I. 15 INTRODUCTION This action arises out of an accident that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plaintiff Teresa 16 Viera is a resident of California. Defendant Mastercorp, Inc. (“Mastercorp”) is a Tennessee 17 corporation with its principal place of business in Tennessee. Mastercorp provides cleaning services 18 at the premises where the accident occurred. Plaintiff initiated this action in California superior 19 court. Subsequently, Mastercorp removed the action to federal court on the basis of diversity 20 jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441(b). The parties have consented to the 21 jurisdiction of the undersigned magistrate judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Mastercorp brings 22 a Motion to Transfer Venue Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (“the Motion”) requesting that the 23 Court transfer the action to the district of Nevada for the convenience of the witnesses. The Court 24 finds that the Motion is suitable for determination without oral argument, pursuant to Civil L. R. 7- 25 1(b). Accordingly, the hearing set for Friday, June 3, 2011 is vacated. For the reasons stated 26 below, the Motion is DENIED. 27 II. 28 BACKGROUND Mastercorp asks the Court to transfer this action to the district of Nevada pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) on the basis that many of the witnesses reside there. Motion at 2. In support of the request, Defendant has submitted a transcript of Plaintiff’s recorded statement describing the 1 accident, as well as hospital records from the emergency room in Henderson, Nevada, where 2 Plaintiff was initially treated. See Declaration of Norman LaForce in Support of Motion to Transfer 3 Venue Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (“LaForce Decl.”), Exs. A & B. In her statement, Viera 4 recounted that a maid witnessed the accident and found a security guard, who in turn called an 5 ambulance. LaForce Decl., Ex. A at 3. Defendant asserts that a transfer is warranted because 6 witnesses to the accident, including the maid, as well as the doctor who first treated Plaintiff, are in 7 Nevada. 8 9 Plaintiff opposes the Motion, pointing out that numerous witnesses are residents of California, including: 1) the two friends who were with her at the time of the accident and who helped care for Viera during her recovery, after she returned home to California; 2) the orthopaedic 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 surgeon who operated on her wrist following the accident; 3) the neurologist who also provided 12 care in connection with the injury; 4) Viera’s husband, who also cared for her during her recovery; 13 and 5) Viera’s occupational therapist, who conducted extensive occupational therapy to assist Viera 14 in regaining use of her wrist. Declaration of James J. O’Donnell in Opposition to Motion to Change 15 Venue (“O’Donnell Decl.”), ¶¶ 1-8. 16 III. ANALYSIS 17 Section 1404(a) allows a court to transfer the action “[f]or the convenience of the parties and 18 witnesses [or] in the interests of justice. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The purpose of section 1404(a) is “to 19 prevent the waste of time, energy, and money and to protect litigants, witnesses and the public 20 against unnecessary inconvenience and expense.” Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616 (1964). 21 A court has discretion in deciding whether to transfer pursuant to the statute. See Stewart Org., Inc. 22 v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988). In assessing whether to exercise its discretion, the Court 23 considers both public factors that relate to the interest of justice, and private factors that relate to the 24 interests of the parties and witnesses. Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 616. The factors a court may consider 25 include: 26 27 28 (1) plaintiff’s choice of forum; (2) convenience of the parties; (3) convenience of the witnesses; (4) ease of access to the evidence; (5) familiarity with of each forum with the applicable law; (6) feasibility of consolidation with other claims; (7) any local interest in the controversy; and (8) the relative court congestion and time of trial in each forum. 2 1 Royal Queentex Enters. Inc. v. Sara Lee Corp., 2000 WL 246599 at *2 (N.D. Cal., March 1, 2000) 2 (citing Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986)). The 3 burden of showing that transfer is appropriate is on the moving party. Williams v. Bowman, 157 F. 4 Supp. 2d 1103, 1106 (N.D. Cal. 2001); see also Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 366 (1960) (“[T]he 5 defendant must satisfy a very substantial burden of demonstrating where ‘justice’ and ‘convenience’ 6 lie, in order to have his objection to a forum . . . respected.”); Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. 7 Vigman, 764 F.2d 1307, 1371 (9th Cir. 1985). 8 9 Having considered the factors set forth above, the Court concludes that Mastercorp has not demonstrated that a transfer to the district of Nevada is in the interest of justice or convenience. While some witnesses reside in Nevada, many others reside in California. In addition, the Plaintiff’s 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 choice of forum is given substantial weight. Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 12 F.2d at 843. Accordingly, the Motion is DENIED. 13 14 Dated: June 2, 2011 15 16 JOSEPH C. SPERO United States Magistrate Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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