Sashington v. Georgia-Pacific LLC
ORDER AND REASONS. It is ORDERED that Defendant's 9 Motion for Transfer of Venue is DENIED. Signed by Judge Carl Barbier. (gec) Modified file date on 4/14/2017 (gec).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
SECTION: “J” (5)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is a Motion to Transfer Venue (Rec. Doc. 9)
filed by Georgia-Pacific LLC (“Defendant”), an opposition thereto
filed by Antwoan Sashington (“Plaintiff”) (Rec. Doc. 11), and a
reply filed by Defendant (Rec. Doc. 14).
Having considered the
motion and legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law,
the Court finds that the motion should be DENIED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
This case arises from an injury Plaintiff sustained while
working at a facility owned by Defendant.
Plaintiff alleges that
he is a resident of Alabama and was employed by Envirovac Holdings,
LLC (“Envirovac”) of McIntosh, Alabama as a general laborer at all
times relevant to this litigation.
(Rec. Doc. 1 at 1.)
that on or about January 5, 2017, Envirovac sent him to a facility
owned by Defendant in Zachary, Louisiana to perform industrial
Id. at 2.
Plaintiff alleges that a piece of
equipment fell and hit a boiler near where he was working, causing
hot ash to blow out of the boiler and cover him.
alleges that he has suffered severe burning which has and will
continue to require extensive medical treatment.
Id. at 2-3.
Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant on January 24, 2017,
alleging that the incident was caused by Defendant’s negligence.
Id. at 2.
On March 14, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion
to change venue (Rec. Doc. 9), requesting that the Court transfer
the action to the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Louisiana (“Middle District”).
LEGAL STANDARD AND DISCUSSION
Defendant requests a transfer to the Middle District pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which provides the Court with discretion
convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
District courts have broad
discretion when making this determination.
In re Volkswagen of
Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 311 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc) (Volkswagen
II). The party requesting a venue transfer must make a threshold
showing that venue is proper in the transferee venue, and also
must show “good cause” for the transfer.
Id. at 315 n.10.
cause exists when the movant demonstrates that the requested venue
plaintiff. Id. at 315. But “when the transferee venue is not
clearly more convenient than the venue chosen by the plaintiff,
the plaintiff's choice should be respected.” Id.
Plaintiff does not dispute that this case could have been
brought in the Middle District.
Accordingly, the relevant inquiry
is whether Defendant has demonstrated good cause by establishing
that the Middle District is clearly more convenient than the
Courts determine the relative convenience of
Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315 (adopting factors first
articulated in Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501 (1949) in
the context of forum non conveniens). The private interest factors
(1) the relative ease of access to sources of proof;
(2) the availability of compulsory process to secure the
attendance of witnesses;
(3) the cost of attendance for willing witnesses; and
(4) all other practical problems that make trial of a
case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.
Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315 (line breaks added). The public
interest factors are:
(1) the administrative difficulties flowing from court
(2) the local interest in having localized interests
decided at home;
(3) the familiarity of the forum with the law that will
govern the case; and
(4) the avoidance of unnecessary problems of conflict of
laws [or in] the application of foreign law.
Id. (brackets in original) (line breaks added). These factors are
Private Interest Factors
Defendant argues that the private interest factors support
transfer to the Middle District.
In particular, Defendant argues
that because its facility is approximately 100 miles from the
Eastern District Court, certain witnesses needed for a trial or
deposition may possibly be outside the Court’s subpoena power.
Because of this distance, Defendant also argues that a potential
trial would expensive and inconvenient for any of its employees or
However, application of the private interest factors does not
support Defendant’s argument that the Middle District is clearly
more convenient than the Eastern District.
Access to Proof
This first factor often turns “upon which party will most
probably have the greater volume of documents relevant to the
MGT Gaming, Inc. v. WMS Gaming, Inc., 978 F. Supp.
2d 647, 668 (S.D. Miss. 2013).
The incident giving rise to this
litigation took place in the Middle District and it follows that
evidence relating to the incident would be found there.
other hand, Plaintiff is being treated for his injuries in Alabama,
so evidence concerning his medical treatment will be found outside
of both the Eastern and Middle Districts.
See Perry v. Autocraft
Investments, Inc., No. 4:13-CV-01959, 2013 WL 3338580, at *2 (S.D.
Tex. July 2, 2013) (granting a motion to transfer when the accident
occurred in the transferee district and the plaintiff was receiving
treatment in that district).
Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant’s headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. 1
about the entity.
See Broussard v. First Tower Loan, LLC, 135 F.
Supp. 3d 540, 546 (E.D. La. 2015) (“Typically, documents concerning
corporate parties are located at the corporation's headquarters.”)
Thus, it is likely that any documentation about Defendant is
located outside both the Eastern and Middle Districts.
different locations that relevant documents are likely to be found,
this factor weighs only slightly in favor of transfer.
The second factor takes into account the relative subpoena
power of the venues.
See In re Genentech, Inc., 566 F.3d 1338,
1345 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
Rule 45(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure provides two scenarios whereby a person residing outside
the district may be commanded by subpoena “to attend a trial,
hearing, or deposition.”
First, all persons who reside, are
Defendant states that it is an LLC with all its members domiciled outside of
Louisiana (See Rec. Doc. 9-1 at 1.)
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is a
“national corporation” with its principal place of business and headquarters in
Atlanta, Georgia, and Defendant does not rebut this allegation in its reply.
(See Rec. Doc. 11 at 4 and Rec. Doc. 14.)
employed, or regularly transact business within 100 miles of the
Court may be commanded by subpoena.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c)(1)(A).
Second, a subpoena may command the attendance of any person who
resides, is employed, or regularly transacts business in the State
and is either a party to the case, a party’s officer, or “is
Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c)(1)(B)(i)-(ii).
Neither party disputes that Defendant’s Zachary 2 facility is
located 99.7 miles away from this Court, falling barely within the
100 mile radius of Rule 45 (c)(1)(A).
Therefore, all employees of
Defendant who are employed at the facility would be subject to
this Court’s subpoena power. Defendant asserts that it is possible
that certain witnesses may be outside the Court’s subpoena power,
but provides no specific examples.
Because the incident giving
rise to this litigation occurred just shy of 100 miles from this
Court, this factor does not weigh in favor of transfer.
Cost of attendance for willing witnesses
The convenience of the witnesses is an important factor in a
venue transfer analysis.
See Modern Am. Recycling Servs., Inc. v.
Dunavant, No. CIV. A. 10-3153, 2011 WL 1303136, at *6 (E.D. La.
Mar. 31, 2011).
The convenience of nonparty witnesses is more
Defendant argues that its facility is actually located in Port Hudson,
Louisiana, which Defendant avers is adjacent to Zachary. (Rec. Doc. 9-1 at 1.)
However, Defendant does not argue in either memorandum that the facility is
located more than 100 miles from the Eastern District Court.
important and entitled to more weight than the convenience of party
Remmers v. United States, No. CIV. A. 1:09-CV-345,
2009 WL 3617597, at *5 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 28, 2009).
In order for
the Court to weigh this factor in favor of transfer, the moving
party “must identify the key witnesses to be called and present a
generalized statement of what their testimony would include.”
(citing Williams v. Southern Towing Co., No. Civ. A. 03-2688, 2004
WL 60314, at *2 (E.D. La. Jan. 8, 2004)).
Here, Defendant fails to identify any key nonparty witnesses
for whom the cost of attendance would be burdensome. Additionally,
Plaintiff asserts that employees or representatives of Envirovac
will likely be implicated in this litigation and that the company’s
headquarters are in Georgia. 3
Plaintiff argues that the Eastern
District is a more convenient location than the Middle District
District is closer to Georgia. Finally, Plaintiff is being treated
for injuries in Alabama and the traveling to the Eastern District
will be less costly for him and his treating physicians.
factor weighs against transfer.
The Court notes that Plaintiff’s complaint states that Envirovac is a McIntosh,
Alabama company (see Rec. Doc. 1 at 1), but states that Envirovac is
“headquartered in Georgia” in its opposition to the instant motion (see Rec.
Doc. 11 at 6).
All other Practical Problems
Defendant does not argue that the current venue creates any
other practical problems and there is no reason to believe any
problems would be mitigated by a venue transfer.
This factor is
neutral and does not weigh in favor of transfer.
Public Interest Factors
Defendant does not specifically argue how the public interest
factors support a change of venue, and none of these factors weighs
in favor of transfer.
First, Defendant does not argue that the
adjudication process is likely to proceed more quickly in the
Middle District than the Eastern District.
However, even if
speculative than the others and there is no indication that this
case would move more quickly in the Middle District.
See Doe v.
Marine-Lombard, No. CV 16-14876, 2016 WL 6602572, at *4 (E.D. La.
Nov. 8, 2016).
Nor is the local interest in having localized
interests decided at home implicated in this case, since all
Finally, both Courts are in Louisiana and are equally familiar
with the Louisiana law to be applied and there is no reason to
believe a conflict of law issue exists here.
A review of the private and public interest factors reveals
that Defendant has failed to demonstrate good cause for a transfer
of venue to the Middle District.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Transfer of
Venue (Rec. Doc. 9) is DENIED.
CARL J. BARBIER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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?