United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
DAVID N. PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,
HENRY SCHEIN INC., Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
D. Clarke United States Magistrate Judge.
David Phillips brings this cause of action against Defendant
Henry Schein, Inc. alleging that the company failed to
accommodate his disability during his employment in
Placentia, California. After initiating this lawsuit,
Plaintiff moved to Spokane, Washington. The Court granted
Plaintiff appointment of pro bono counsel, and made three
attempts to appoint counsel, but was unsuccessful. Plaintiff
now seeks to transfer the action to the Eastern District of
Washington, Spokane Division. For the reasons below, this
motion (#44) is GRANTED.
motion to transfer venue is governed by 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a), which provides that "[f]or the convenience of
parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district
court may transfer any civil action to any other district or
division where it might have been brought[, ]" The
purpose of section 1404(a) is to "prevent the waste of
time, energy and money and to protect litigants, witnesses
and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and
expense." Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612,
616 (1964) (internal citation and quotation omitted).
motion to transfer lies within the broad discretion of the
district court and must be determined on a case-by-case
basis. Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495,
498 (9th Cir. 2000). The burden is on the moving party to
demonstrate that the balance of conveniences favoring the
transfer is high. Dole Food Co. v. Watts, 303 F.3d
1104, 1118 (9th Cir. 2002).
court employs a two-step analysis to determine whether
transfer is proper. First, the court asks "whether the
transferee district was one in which the action 'might
have been brought' by the plaintiff." Hoffman v.
Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 343-44 (1960). Second, if this
threshold showing is made, the court may consider
'"individualized, case-by-case consideration[s] of
convenience and fairness.'" Stewart Org., Inc.
v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988) (quoting
Barrack, 376 U.S. at 622). The Court's
case-by-case consideration involves the assessment of a
number of factors, such as (1) the plaintiffs choice of
forum; (2) the convenience of the parties; (3) the
convenience of the witnesses; (4) ease of access to the
evidence; (5) familiarity of each forum with the applicable
law; (6) feasibility of consolidation of other claims; (7)
any local interest in the controversy; and (8) the relative
court congestion and time of trial in each forum.
Jones, 211 F.3d at 498-99.
This case could have been brought in the Eastern District of
section 1404(a) only allows transfer to another district
where the action might have been brought, the Court must
first determine whether this case could have been brought in
the Eastern District of Washington. Venue is proper in any
judicial district where (1) a defendant resides, as long as
all defendants are residents of the state in which the
district is located; (2) a substantial part of the events or
omissions leading to the claim or claims occurred, or where a
substantial portion of the property subject to the action is
located; or (3) if no other district exists, a district where
the defendant or defendants are subject to the court's
personal jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
all of the events or omissions leading to the claim or claims
occurred in California. Plaintiff contends that Defendant is
"ranked at #238 on the fortune 500 list" and will
"have no problem with the transfer." Defendant
makes no argument concerning whether Henry Schein, Inc, may
be considered to "reside" in either the District of
Oregon or the Eastern District of Washington. There is no
indication by either party regarding whether Defendant is
subject to personal jurisdiction in either district.
Therefore, the Court considers the defense of personal
jurisdiction to be waived. Because the Defendant is subject
to personal jurisdiction in the Eastern District of
Washington, this action could have been brought in that
Considerations of convenience and fairness militate in favor
outset, the Court notes that most of the applicable factors
are neutral or irrelevant. First, the Court is unaware of any
pending claims that may be consolidated with this case.
Second, the Court has been presented with no evidence to
suggest the Eastern District of Washington is any more or
less burdened by its caseload than is this District, nor
should it be any more or less familiar with the applicable
law. Third, because the events at issue in this case took
place in Placentia, California;, ease of access to the
evidence, and any local interest in the controversy
will not be any greater or less in Spokane, Washington than
it would be in Medford, Oregon.
argues that the convenience of the witnesses weighs against
transfer, but it did not present any cognizable reason for
why Medford, Oregon should be any more convenient for
witnesses located over 700 miles away in Southern California.
Medford might be closer in actual geographic distance to
Placentia, but getting on an airplane from Los Angeles to
Spokane is just as easy as getting on one to Medford.
Additionally, there are no facts to suggest that the District
of Oregon could compel unwilling non-party witnesses ...