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Pineda v. Ratliff

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 15, 2019

RAMON DE JESUS PINEDA, MIRIAN DIAZ PINEDA, TIM NAY, in his capacity as Conservator for FRANKLIN PINEDA, ANGELA PINEDA DE FIGUEROA, as Guardian Ad Litem for ANDY PINEDA, Plaintiffs,
v.
GEREN RATLIFF, PRIDE TRANSPORT, INC., HOWARD PELS, PROGRESSIVE LOGISTICS, INC., doing business as GILTNER, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          STACIE F. BECKERMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs Ramon De Jesus Pineda (“Ramon”), Mirian Diaz Pineda (“Mirian”), Tim Nay (in his capacity as Conservator for Franklin Pineda (“Franklin”)), and Angela Pineda De Figueroa (as Guardian Ad Litem for Andy Pineda (“Andy”)) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) bring this personal injury action against Defendants Geren Ratliff (“Ratliff”), Pride Transport, Inc. (“Pride”), Howard Pels (“Pels”), and Progressive Logistics, Inc., doing business as Giltner, Inc. (“Giltner”). (ECF No. 1.)

         Pending before the Court is Ratliff and Pride's (together, “Defendants”) motion to transfer venue to the Pendleton Division under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). (ECF No. 28.) Alternatively, Defendants move to transfer venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (ECF No. 28.) The Court has jurisdiction over this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, and all parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a U.S. Magistrate Judge under Fed.R.Civ.P. 73(b). For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendants' motion to transfer venue.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs allege that on January 7, 2017, Ratliff was driving southbound on Highway 97 in Sherman County, Oregon in a semi-truck owned by Pride during whiteout conditions. (Compl. ¶ 7.) At around the same time and in the same area, Pels was driving northbound on Highway 97 in a semi-truck owned by Giltner. (Compl. ¶ 8.) Ramon and his three passengers-Mirian, Franklin, and Andy-were traveling just behind Pels in a Toyota 4Runner. (Compl. ¶ 9.)

         At approximately 2 p.m., Ratliff's and Pels' semi-trucks collided with each other. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Due to the impact from the collision, Ratliff's semi-truck swerved into the northbound lane and hit the Toyota 4Runner. (Compl. ¶ 10.)

         Ramon and his three passengers sustained serious injuries. Ramon had “broken bones in both legs, ” “multiple rib fractures, ” and a “kidney disorder.” (Compl. ¶ 12.) Mirian suffered a “broken collarbone, ” “broken bones in her hand and leg, ” and “multiple rib fractures.” (Compl. ¶ 15.) Franklin's injuries included a “fractured humerus, ” a “lacerated spleen and kidney, ” “vertebral fracture, ” and “acute respiratory failure.” (Compl. ¶ 20.) Andy suffered “bruising, contusions, and abrasions.” (Compl. ¶ 22.)

         On August 6, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleging five claims for negligence against the defendants. (ECF No. 1.) On September 6, 2018, Defendants timely removed this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (ECF No. 1.) This motion followed. (ECF No. 28.)

         ANALYSIS

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Transfer of Venue Under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a)

         If a district court determines that a case has been filed in a district or division where venue is improper, it may either dismiss or transfer the case to a proper venue. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Venue is generally proper in any “judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of the property that is the subject of the action is situated.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). By contrast, 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) “expressly provides that the proper venue of a removed action is the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” Polizzi v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., 345 U.S. 663, 666 (1953) (quotation marks omitted).

         B. Transfer of Venue Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a district court may transfer a civil case to any district or division in which the parties could have originally brought the case after considering “the convenience of parties and witnesses” and the “interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). At the first step of the analysis, a district court must find that “the requested venue is one in which the case might have originally been brought[.]” Summit Foods, Inc. v. Viking Packaging Techs., Inc., No. 3:18-cv-1470-SI, 2018 WL 4690364, at *4 (D. Or. Sept. 28, 2018). At the second step, courts must “weigh the relevant factors and decide whether, on balance, a transfer would serve ‘the convenience of parties and ...


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