LITCOFSKY et al v. FRONTIER AIRLINES, INC.
MEMORANDUM OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Mary L. Cooper on 4/25/2016. (mmh)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
SUSAN LITCOFSKY, et al.,
FRONTIER AIRLINES, INC.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-404 (MLC)
THE COURT ordered the parties to show cause why this action should not be
transferred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (“Section 1404(a)”) to the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Florida. (See dkt. 6.) The Court assumes that
the parties are familiar with the contents of the Order to Show Cause, and thus the Court
will not repeat the facts or the legal arguments set forth therein. (See id. at 1–3.) The
Court has reviewed the responses of the parties. (See dkt. 8 (plaintiffs’ response); dkt. 9
(defendant’s response).) The Court will address the Order to Show Cause on the papers.
See L.Civ.R. 78.1(b). The Court intends to: (1) grant the Order to Show Cause; and
(2) transfer this action pursuant to Section 1404(a) to the Southern District of Florida.
THE PLAINTIFF Susan Litcofsky (“Primary Plaintiff”): (1) is a Pennsylvania
citizen; (2) boarded a commercial flight in New Jersey; and (3) allegedly sustained
injuries (“Injuries”) while disembarking the flight at an airport in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, which is within the Southern District of Florida. (See dkt. 1; dkt. 8 at 2.)
THIS ACTION would have been more properly brought in the Southern District
of Florida because: (1) the underlying accident (“Accident”) and the Injuries arose there;
(2) the personnel maintaining the jetbridge upon which the Primary Plaintiff fell live and
work in the Southern District of Florida (see dkt. 9 at 1); (3) the witnesses who are not the
defendant’s employees live and work in the Southern District of Florida (id.); (4) the
Primary Plaintiff “received emergency room care . . . in Clearwater, Florida” (dkt. 8 at 2);
(5) the defendant can be found there, since it provides commercial flights there; (6) the
district court there generally will have more of an interest in the conduct underlying the
allegations, because the Accident occurred there; and (7) the district court there can easily
apply what may be controlling Florida law. See Peller v. Walt Disney World Co., No. 096481, 2010 WL 2179569, at *1–2 (D.N.J. May 28, 2010) (transferring action brought by
New Jersey citizen to Florida district court); see also Lauria v. Mandalay Corp., No.
07-817, 2008 WL 3887608, at *5 (D.N.J. Aug. 18, 2008) (transferring action to Nevada
because (1) claim arose in Nevada, (2) Nevada has local interest in determining local
negligence issue, (3) Nevada court is more familiar with Nevada law, and (4) relevant
evidence in Nevada); Decker v. Marriott Hotel Servs., No. 06-3191, 2007 WL 1630097,
at *1 (E.D. Pa. June 4, 2007) (transferring action to Virginia because defendant ran
facility at issue, and accident occurred, in Virginia); see also In re Christian, 403
Fed.Appx. 651, 652 (3d Cir. 2010) (denying petition for writ of mandamus to compel
Pennsylvania district court to vacate order transferring case to Virginia district court, as,
inter alia, substantial part of events arose in Virginia).
THE PLAINTIFFS argue that the Primary Plaintiff received follow-up medical
treatment for the Injuries in Pennsylvania, and thus a New Jersey district court would be
more convenient. (See dkt. 8 at 2.) However, the place where the Primary Plaintiff
received subsequent treatment for the Injuries is not a controlling factor. See Rahwar v.
Nootz, No. 94-2674, 1994 WL 723040, at *2 (D.N.J. Dec. 27, 1994); Nanni v. Meredith
Paving Corp., No. 94-7260, 1995 WL 128033, at *1–2 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 24, 1995).
THE COURT also notes that the plaintiffs’ choice of a New Jersey venue is
accorded little deference, as the plaintiffs are not New Jersey citizens. See Piper Aircraft
Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 255–56 (1981).
FOR GOOD CAUSE APPEARING, the Court will issue an appropriate order.
s/ Mary L. Cooper
MARY L. COOPER
United States District Judge
Dated: April 25, 2016
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