ARORA v. BUCKHEAD FAMILY DENTISTRY, INC. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: Upon consideration of Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company's renewed motion to dismiss 33 , it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED; and it is further ORDERED that Cigna is DISMISSED as a defendant in th is action; and it is further ORDERED that Cigna's motion to rule on its renewed motion to dismiss 45 is DENIED as moot. In light of the parties' responses to the Court's order to show cause why this action should not be transferred t o the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia 37 , it is further ORDERED that this case be TRANSFERRED to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 1/8/2018. (lcrdm2, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Civil Action No. 16-1806 (RDM)
BUCKHEAD FAMILY DENTISTRY, INC.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company’s renewed
motion to dismiss, Dkt. 33, and the Court’s Order to Show Cause why this case should not be
transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Dkt. 37. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will GRANT Cigna’s motion to dismiss and will ORDER that the
remainder of the action be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631.
The Court recounted the facts giving rise to this dispute in its prior opinion, see Arora v.
Buckhead Family Dentistry, Inc., 263 F. Supp. 3d 121, 125–26 (D.D.C. 2017), and will,
accordingly, only briefly outline the allegations relevant for present purposes. In considering
Cigna’s motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual allegations set forth in the amended
complaint as true. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
While living in Atlanta, Georgia in 2013, Plaintiff Sanjay Arora sought treatment for a
cracked tooth from Dr. Travis Paige of Buckhead Family Dentistry. Dkt. 6 at 4–5 (Am. Compl.
¶ 15). Dr. Paige installed a permanent crown, which was manufactured by Global Dental
Solutions LLC. Id. at 9 (Am. Compl. ¶ 48). The procedure was covered by Cigna Health and
Life Insurance Company, Arora’s dental insurance provider at the time. Id. at 4 (Am. Compl.
¶ 12). Soon afterwards, Arora began to experience intense discomfort and pain in the area
surrounding the crown. Id. at 5–6 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 22–24). The crown, it turned out, was not the
“high noble metal crown” for which Arora and Cigna paid. Id. at 5, 7–8 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 17, 36,
41). Instead, according to the invoice Global sent Buckhead Family Dentistry, Arora received a
non-noble crown of lower quality. Id. at 8–9 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 47–48).
Arora “demand[ed] a full refund” of his portion of the dentist’s fee (presumably, his copayment) from Cigna so that he could have the crown replaced. Id. at 7 (Am. Compl. ¶ 39). In a
letter dated July 10, 2014, Cigna described the procedure at issue as receipt of a “high noble
metal crown on tooth #30.” Id. at 8 (Am. Compl. ¶ 41). In addressing Arora’s complaints,
Cigna stated that it “investigate[s] and take[s] appropriate action on all quality of care concerns,”
id. at 7 (Am. Compl. ¶ 40), and acknowledged its “continuing effort to provide quality of care
and service,” id. at 9 (Am. Compl. ¶ 49). It declined, however, to refund to Arora the
“applicable patient copay[.]” Id. (Am. Compl. ¶ 41). Meanwhile, Arora switched dentists and
had the crown removed. Id. (Am. Compl. ¶ 45). He eventually moved to the District of
Columbia. Id. at 3 (Am. Compl. ¶ 8).
Proceeding pro se, Arora brought this diversity action against (1) Dr. Paige and
Buckhead Family Dentistry (collectively, “Buckhead”); (2) Global Dental Solutions, LLC, and
Global’s President, Brad Abramson (collectively, “Global”); and (3) Cigna. As relevant here,
the amended complaint asserts claims for breach of fiduciary duty and negligent
misrepresentation against Cigna, as well as a conspiracy claim against Cigna, Dr. Paige, and
Buckhead. Id. at 20–23, 26–27 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 115–36, 155–60).
Buckhead, Global, and Cigna each moved to dismiss, Dkt. 7; Dkt. 11; Dkt. 18; Dkt. 33,
and Arora responded to all three motions, 1 Dkt. 15; Dkt. 16; Dkt. 24. In resolving those motions,
the Court first concluded that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Buckhead and Global under
D.C.’s long-arm statute. Arora, 263 F. Supp. 3d at 128. But, rather than simply dismissing
Arora’s claims against those defendants, the Court directed that the parties address whether the
case should be transferred to the Northern District of Georgia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 given
Buckhead and Global’s ties to Atlanta and the fact that “most, if not all, of the alleged events
relevant to Arora’s claims occurred in Atlanta.” Arora, 263 F. Supp. 3d at 128. The Court
further concluded that Arora had “failed to carry his burden of showing that he . . . properly
effected service of process” on Cigna. Id. at 129. The Court, as a result, did not reach the merits
of Cigna’s arguments that Arora’s complaint failed to state a claim and, instead, gave Arora a
further opportunity to effect service on Cigna. Id. at 134.
Each defendant opposed transfer on the ground that Arora’s claims lack merit and that
transfer, therefore, would be futile. See Dkt. 38 at 2–3; Dkt. 39 at 2; Dkt. 40 at 4. Arora,
concerned about potential statute of limitations difficulties, requested transfer. Dkt. 41 at 6–7.
He also filed a purported proof of service indicating that he had served “Cigna’s Legal
Department” and “Cigna’s Attorney o[f] Record.” Dkt. 42 at 1. Because Cigna had previously
requested that the Court consider the merits of its previously-filed motion to dismiss “if [Arora]
file[d] proof of service,” Dkt. 40 at 3, the Court asked Cigna to clarify whether it intended to
After Arora filed his opposition to Cigna’s motion, Cigna submitted a corrected motion to
dismiss and reply, Dkt. 33; Dkt. 34, making non-substantive edits. See Dkt. 28 at 3.
contest service and, if not, whether the Court should treat its motion to dismiss as renewed,
Minute Order (Aug. 10, 2017). Cigna, in response, waived any objection to service and renewed
its earlier motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Dkt. 43 at 1–2. Arora filed a
supplemental opposition. Dkt. 46.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint “must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is
plausible if the plaintiff pleads “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Although “detailed factual
allegations” are not required, the complaint must contain “more than labels and conclusions, [or]
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The
Court must “assume [the] veracity” of “well-pleaded factual allegations,” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679,
and must “grant [the] plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged,” Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal
quotation marks omitted). The Court, however, need not accept “a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Cigna’s Motion To Dismiss
Choice of Law
Because Arora has brought a diversity action, the Court “must apply the choice-of-law
rules of the forum state—here, the District of Columbia.” In re APA Assessment Fee Litig., 766
F.3d 39, 51 (D.C. Cir. 2014); see Orchin v. Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co., 133 F. Supp. 3d
138, 146 (D.D.C. 2015). The District of Columbia uses “a modified governmental interests
analysis[,] which seeks to identify the jurisdiction with the most significant relationship to the
dispute.” In re APA Assessment, 766 F.3d at 51 (quoting Washkoviak v. Student Loan Mktg.
Ass’n, 900 A.2d 168, 180 (D.C. 2006)). The Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws, § 145,
supplies the four factors relevant to this inquiry: (1) “the place where the injury occurred;” (2)
“the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred;” (3) “the domicile, residence,
nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties;” and (4) “the place where
the relationship is centered.” District of Columbia v. Coleman, 667 A.2d 811, 816 (D.C. 1995).
Applying these factors, Cigna argues that “the substantive law of Georgia applies”
because “the alleged injury, the alleged conduct that caused the injury, and the relationship
between the parties all occurred in Georgia.” Dkt. 33 at 12. Arora has not raised any objection
to the application of Georgia law. The Court agrees with Cigna that the substantive law of
Georgia governs this action because, by any measure, Georgia has “the most significant
relationship” to the dispute. In addition to the considerations Cigna has identified, both
Buckhead and Global are based in Atlanta, Georgia. Dkt. 6 at 3 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9, 11). The
only conceivable basis for applying D.C. substantive law is the fact that Arora eventually moved
to the District of Columbia. See id. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8). That fact may mean that litigating in
Georgia is inconvenient for Arora, but it has only marginal bearing on the relationship of the
District of Columbia to the underlying dispute.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim
The amended complaint alleges that Cigna breached its fiduciary duty to Arora because
Cigna (1) “knew or should have known that Arora was (fraudulently) charged for a higher
quality, more expensive crown,” (2) “failed to do additional due diligence on [Buckhead] even
after Cigna became aware of . . . fraud and overbilling by [Buckhead],” and (3) “continued to
include [Buckhead] in Cigna’s vetted and approved network of dentists.” Dkt. 6 at 20 (Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 117–19). Cigna, in turn, contends that these allegations fail as a matter of law
because, under Georgia law, “[i]t is well settled that there is no fiduciary relationship between
the insured and the insurer or the insurer’s agent.” Dkt. 33 at 13 (quoting Nash v. Ohio Nat’l Life
Ins. Co., 597 S.E.2d 512, 518 (Ga. Ct. App. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Arora counters with two arguments, neither of which is persuasive. First, he maintains
that an insurance company owes a fiduciary duty to an insured when the insured has “retain[ed]
[the] insurance company as part of an employer[-]sponsored plan governed” by the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and the insurer “exercises discretion” in
administering the plan. Dkt. 24 at 17. But the amended complaint does not allege that Arora’s
dental insurance plan was subject to ERISA. See Dkt. 6 at 4 (Am. Compl. ¶ 12) (asserting only
that Cigna “was Arora’s dental insurance carrier in 2012 and 2014”). And, if the plan did fall
within ERISA’s scope, Arora’s state law claim for breach of fiduciary duty might well be
preempted. See 29 U.S.C. § 1144(a); Pilot Life Ins. Co. v. Dedeaux, 481 U.S. 41, 47–48 (1987).
Second, Arora asserts that Cigna created a “self-imposed fiduciary duty,” Dkt. 24 at 10,
because its website states that it “do[es] what is right for . . . customers,” id. (quoting Cigna’s
website), and Arora “reasonably relied” on that representation, id. As an initial matter, the Court
is unconvinced that such a representation—even assuming that Arora did, in fact, rely on it—
would suffice to establish a fiduciary duty. See Willis v. Allstate Ins. Co., 740 S.E.2d 413, 418
(Ga. Ct. App. 2013). But Arora’s argument suffers from an additional flaw: it relies on factual
assertions presented for the first time in his opposition to Cigna’s motion to dismiss. Because
these allegations are not included in the amended complaint, they are not properly before the
Court on a motion to dismiss. 2 See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). For both of these reasons, the Court
can discern no basis to deviate from Georgia’s rule that “[g]enerally, no fiduciary relationship
exists between an insured and his or her insurer.” Willis, 740 S.E.2d at 417.
Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Arora’s breach of fiduciary duty claim against Cigna.
Negligent Misrepresentation Claim
To state a claim for negligent misrepresentation under Georgia law, Arora must allege (1)
that Cigna negligently (and foreseeably) supplied him with false information; (2) that he
reasonably relied upon that false information; and (3) that as a proximate result of that reliance,
he sustained an economic injury. See Hardaway Co. v. Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade &
Douglas, Inc., 479 S.E.2d 727, 729 (Ga. 1997). In an effort to meet this test, Arora asserts that
Cigna negligently misrepresented that Dr. Paige and Buckhead Family Dentistry “were qualified,
honest and ethical” when it included them in its list of “vetted, approved and recommended . . .
dentists.” Dkt. 6 at 22 (Am. Compl. ¶ 126). Moreover, he continues, “instead of disqualifying
and removing” them from the list after it “became aware of [their] fraud and overbilling,” Cigna
“continued its negligent misrepresentation” by continuing to include them on the list. Id. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 129). And, finally, Arora alleges that Cigna knew or should have known that these
representations were false and that he “justifiably relied on [these] misrepresentations . . . to his
injury.” Id. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 131, 133).
Cigna argues that the amended complaint fails on each element of negligent
misrepresentation. According to Cigna: (1) Arora’s “claims regarding Cigna’s knowledge of
[Buckhead’s] activities” are unsubstantiated and conclusory; (2) Arora fails to state “why [his]
For the same reason, the Court will not consider the additional evidence attached to Arora’s
opposition. See Dkt. 24 at 22–53.
reliance was justified;” and (3) any allegations concerning Cigna’s conduct after Arora’s injury
“could not have contributed to [that] injury.” Dkt. 33 at 14–16. Arora, for his part, does not join
issue with any of these contentions but, instead, merely asserts—in a conclusory fashion—that
“Cigna neglected and failed to properly audit [Buckhead] and disclose pertinent, accurate, and
critical information related to Arora’s quality of health care.” Dkt. 24 at 18; see Dkt. 46 (same).
Although the Court does not agree with all of Cigna’s contentions, it does agree that the
complaint lacks sufficient “factual content [to] allow the [C]ourt to draw the reasonable
inference that [Cigna] is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. It fails to
allege any specific facts that, if true, would have put Cigna on notice before Arora’s crown was
installed that Dr. Paige or Buckhead Family Dentistry was not “qualified, honest and ethical.”
Dkt. 6 at 22 (Am. Compl. ¶ 126). And, he fails to allege facts sufficient to permit the Court to
infer that Cigna’s failure to remove Buckhead from its list of approved providers after he
complained to Cigna about Buckhead caused him any of the injuries he alleges.
The Court will, accordingly, dismiss Arora’s claim for negligent misrepresentation for
failure to state a claim.
Finally, Arora alleges that Cigna, Dr. Paige, and Buckhead Family Dentistry conspired to
commit fraud. A conspiracy “is a combination of two or more persons to accomplish an
unlawful end.” Dyer v. Honea, 557 S.E.2d 20, 25 (Ga. Ct. App. 2001) (citation omitted). In
civil actions, the conspiracy itself “furnishes no cause of action;” rather, “[t]he gist of the action”
is “the tort committed against the plaintiff and the damage thereby done.” First Fed. Sav. Bank
v. Hart, 363 S.E.2d 832, 833 (Ga. Ct. App. 1987) (citation omitted). To prove fraud, Arora must
establish “(1) a false representation by a defendant, (2) scienter, (3) intention to induce the
plaintiff to act or refrain from acting, (4) justifiable reliance by plaintiff, and (5) damage to
plaintiff.” Engelman v. Kessler, 797 S.E.2d 160, 166 (Ga. Ct. App. 2017).
Arora accuses Cigna, Dr. Paige, and Buckhead Family Dentistry of conspiring “to
conceal [the] fraudulent substitution” of the “higher quality crown” that Arora was “promised”
with a “lower quality crown.” Dkt. 6 at 27 (Am. Compl. ¶ 157). According to the amended
complaint, Cigna “knew or should have known” of the substitution yet “intentional[ly]”
concealed it in two ways. Id. at 27 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 157–58). First, Cigna “document[ed]” that
he received a higher-quality crown in connection with his claim for a refund. Id. at 7–8 (Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 39–41); see Dkt. 24 at 19 (“Cigna . . . confirmed that [Arora] was invoiced for a
[h]igher [q]uality [c]rown . . . .”). Second, Cigna knew of Buckhead’s fraudulent substitution but
“continued” to represent that Dr. Paige and Buckhead Family Dentistry were “qualified and duly
vetted dental professionals” by including them on its “list of approved” dentists. Dkt. 24 at 18.
Again, Arora fails to allege any specific facts that would permit the Court “to draw the
reasonable inference that” Cigna made any intentional or negligent misrepresentations to him,
which he relied upon to his detriment. He fails to allege any facts even suggesting that Cigna
had reason to believe that Dr. Paige and Buckhead Family Dentistry would provide him with an
inferior-quality crown, while charging him and Cigna for a more expensive crown. He fails to
allege any facts even suggesting that Cigna later became aware of any such wrongdoing and took
steps to mislead him about it. And, he fails to allege any facts even suggesting that Cigna was
operating in cahoots with Dr. Paige and Buckhead Family Dentistry or that it helped to perpetrate
or to conceal their purported misconduct.
Arora’s failure to allege any facts that would support the inference that Cigna conspired
with others to defraud him must also be understood in light of Rule 9(b), which requires that a
party alleging fraud “must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 9(b). A claim alleging conspiracy to commit fraud—no less than a claim alleging fraud
alone—implicates the heightened pleading standards of Rule 9(b). See Geier v. Conway, Homer
& Chin-Caplan, P.C., 983 F. Supp. 2d 22, 42 (D.D.C. 2013); Busby v. Capital One, N.A., 932 F.
Supp. 2d 114, 141 (D.D.C. 2013). Here, Arora offers no details about how Cigna purportedly
conspired to defraud him, and thus this claim cannot stand.
The Court will, therefore, dismiss Arora’s conspiracy claim against Cigna under Rules
12(b)(6) and 9(b).
The Court previously determined that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Global,
Abramson, Buckhead, and Dr. Paige and directed that the parties address whether this action
should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1631 or 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). See Arora, 263 F. Supp. 3d at 128–29. Having
considered the parties’ respective positions, the Court now concludes that transfer is warranted
under 28 U.S.C. § 1631.
In enacting 28 U.S.C. § 1631, Congress sought to “aid litigants who [are] confused about
the proper forum for review” and file suit in the wrong place. Am. Beef Packers, Inc. v. ICC, 711
F.2d 388, 390 (D.C. Cir. 1983). Section 1631 provides:
Whenever a civil action is filed in a court . . . and that court finds that there is a
want of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest of justice, transfer such
action . . . to any other such court in which the action . . . could have been brought
at the time it was filed . . . .
28 U.S.C. § 1631. In other words, § 1631 requires transfer where three conditions are met: first,
the transferring court lacks jurisdiction; second, the transferee court has jurisdiction; and third,
transfer would serve the ends of justice. See Janvey v. Proskauer Rose, LLP, 59 F. Supp. 3d 1,
4–5 (D.D.C. 2014).
The Court has already concluded that it lacks personal jurisdiction over Global,
Abramson, Buckhead, and Dr. Paige. See Arora, 263 F. Supp. 3d at 128. The Court is also
convinced that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia would have personal
jurisdiction over those defendants; Arora alleges that each of them is located in Atlanta, Georgia,
and none of them disputes that assertion. See Dkt. 38; Dkt. 39; Dkt. 40. They do, however,
contend that the federal courts—including this Court and the District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia—lack subject matter jurisdiction because the amount in controversy does not
exceed $75,000, as required to establish diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332; see also
Dkt. 38 at 2; Dkt. 39 at 2; Dkt. 40 at 3 n.1. That contention faces a high hurdle, which it fails to
“When a plaintiff invokes federal-court jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s amount-in-controversy
allegation is accepted if made in good faith.” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, 135
S. Ct. 547, 553 (2014). To justify dismissal, “[i]t must appear to a legal certainty that the claim
is really for less than the jurisdictional amount.” Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v.
Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 276 (1977) (quoting St. Paul Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 289
(1938)). Here, Arora has pled that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, Dkt. 6 at 2 (Am.
Compl. ¶ 5), and it is not apparent to “a legal certainty” that his “claim is really for less than”
$75,000. To be sure, Arora has failed to identify any theory of actual damages that comes close
to $75,000. But he also seeks punitive damages, see, e.g., id. at 12–13 (Am. Compl. ¶ 72), which
are available under Georgia law, see Ga. Code Ann. § 51-12-5.1. It may seem a stretch that
Arora would be entitled to such a large judgment, even were he to prevail on the merits.
Likelihood of success, however, is not the standard, and Arora has pled enough to invoke
Finally, the Court concludes that transfer to the Northern District of Georgia would serve
the interest of justice. As a pro se plaintiff, Arora is precisely the type of litigant Congress aimed
to assist in enacting § 1631. Courts have concluded that transfer is warranted when “the original
action was misfiled by a pro se plaintiff.” Janvey, 59 F. Supp. 3d at 7; see, e.g., Evans v. U.S.
Marshals Serv., 177 F. Supp. 3d 177, 182 (D.D.C. 2016). Here, moreover, dismissal—as
opposed to transfer—could cause Arora substantial prejudice, while the only prejudice that
transfer would cause the defendants is the time and cost of defending the action. As the Court
has previously observed, if it were to dismiss the action, the relevant statutes of limitations might
preclude Arora from pursuing his claims. Arora, 263 F. Supp. 3d at 132–33. The interest of
justice would not be served by inflicting that penalty on a pro se litigant merely because he
mistakenly filed in the wrong venue. See Burnett v. N.Y. Cent. R.R. Co., 380 U.S. 424, 430
(1965) (“If by reason of the uncertainties of proper venue a mistake is made . . . ‘the interest of
justice’ may require that the complaint . . . be transferred in order that the plaintiff not be
penalized by . . . time-consuming and justice-defeating technicalities.” (quoting Goldlawr, Inc. v.
Heiman, 369 U.S. 463, 467 (1962) (internal quotation marks omitted)); Sinclair v. Kleindienst,
711 F.2d 291, 294 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (noting that “[t]ransfer is particularly appropriate where . . .
without a transfer the cause of action would be barred by the running of the applicable statute of
limitations”). And, although the time and cost that defendants will incur in defending the action
are undoubtedly burdensome, they do not constitute the type of burden that typically weighs
Defendants focus their argument against transfer on the principal exception to this final
point: where a case plainly lacks merit, transfer would do little to assist the plaintiff and would
impose unnecessary burdens on the defendants. As the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
has put it, “there is no reason to raise false hopes and waste judicial resources by transferring a
case that is clearly doomed.” Phillips v. Seiter, 173 F.3d 609, 610 (7th Cir. 1999); see also
Daniels v. Dep’t of Interior, No. 94-5131, 1995 WL 364505 (D.C. Cir. 1995); Boultinghouse v.
Lappin, 816 F. Supp. 2d 107, 113 (D.D.C. 2011). At the same time, however, where a court has
concluded that it lacks personal jurisdiction, the interest of justice inquiry under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1631 ought not open the door to a full-throttled review of the legal adequacy of the plaintiff’s
claims. Rather, a court considering whether to transfer an action need only—and should only—
engaged in “a limited review of the merits,” Boultinghouse, 816 F. Supp. 2d at 113, and ask
whether transfer would constitute a “waste” of the parties’ and the courts’ resources, Daniels,
1995 WL 364505, at *1.
Defendants have failed to meet that burden—or, indeed, to show that Arora is unlikely to
prevail. Although a number of his claims are questionable, at base he alleges that he received
negligent dental care and that he was fraudulently charged for a more expensive crown than he
actually received. There is nothing novel about either claim, and the Court cannot conclude
based on what is now before it whether Arora is likely to prevail. The interests of justice would
be served, however, by providing him with the opportunity to try.
The Court will, accordingly, order that the case be transferred to the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of Georgia, where the remaining defendants will be free to raise their
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Cigna’s renewed motion to
dismiss, Dkt. 33, is GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED that Cigna is DISMISSED as a defendant in this action; and it is further
ORDERED that Cigna’s motion to rule on its renewed motion to dismiss, Dkt. 45, is
DENIED as moot; and it is further
ORDERED that this case be TRANSFERRED to the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Georgia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631.
/s/ Randolph D. Moss
RANDOLPH D. MOSS
United States District Judge
Date: January 8, 2018
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?