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Davila v. Alcoa World Alumina LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Victoria Division

January 9, 2017

ANTHONY DAVILA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ALCOA WORLD ALUMINA LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY F. ATLAS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is before the Court on the Motion for Inter-Divisional and Intradistrict Transfer (“Transfer Motion”) [Doc. # 80] filed by Plaintiffs Anthony and Michelle Davila. Defendant Alcoa World Alumina LLC (“Alcoa”) filed a Response [Doc. # 82], and Plaintiffs filed a Reply [Doc. # 83].[1] Having reviewed the record and the applicable legal authorities, the Court denies the Transfer Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Anthony Davila (“Davila”), a resident of Port Lavaca, Texas, worked as a supervisor for W-S Industrial Services, Inc. (“WSI”). Alcoa hired WSI to perform industrial cleaning services at Alcoa's facility in Point Comfort, Texas. Port Lavaca and Point Comfort are located in the Victoria Division of the Southern District of Texas. On October 23, 2013, Davila was seriously injured while working for WSI at the Alcoa facility.

         On December 31, 2013, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in state court in Calhoun County, Texas. Defendant filed a timely Notice of Removal [Doc. # 1], removing the case to the Victoria Division, in which Calhoun County is located. On November 29, 2016, Plaintiffs filed the pending Transfer Motion seeking transfer of this case from the Victoria Division to the Houston Division.[2] The Transfer Motion has been fully briefed and is now ripe for decision.

         II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARD

         “For 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 . . ..”[3] 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Subject to the provisions of § 1404(a), district courts have “broad discretion in deciding whether to order a transfer.” In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 311 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc). The party seeking to transfer venue bears the burden to “satisfy the statutory requirements and clearly demonstrate that a transfer is ‘[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.'” Id. at 315. Transfer is appropriate if the movant demonstrates that the transferee venue is a clearly more convenient venue. See In re Radmax, Ltd., 720 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir. 2013); In re Volkswagen, 545 F.3d at 315. To “clearly demonstrate” that transfer is proper, the movant must support the transfer request with detailed sworn statements addressing the relevant § 1404(a) factors discussed below. See Jelec USA, Inc. v. Safety Controls, Inc., 2006 WL 3358896, *5 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 17, 2006) (Miller, J.).

         To determine whether the movant has satisfied the burden to demonstrate good cause for a transfer of venue, the Court considers certain private and public interest factors. See In re Volkswagen, 545 F.3d at 315. The private interest factors are “(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.” Id. The Court also considers the public interest factors: “(1) the administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion; (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. These factors “are not necessarily exhaustive or exclusive” and “none . . . can be said to be of dispositive weight.” Id.

         Additionally, the Court “must also give some weight to the plaintiffs' choice of forum.” Atl. Marine Constr. Co., Inc. v. United States Dist. Court for Western Dist. of Tex., ___ U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct. 568, 581 n.6 (2013); see also Weber v. PACT XPP Tech., AG, 811 F.3d 758, 767 (5th Cir. 2016).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Plaintiffs' Choice of Venue

         In this case, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in Calhoun County, in the Victoria Division of the Southern District of Texas, where they resided at the time and where they currently reside. Now, more than three years after the lawsuit was filed in a state court in the Victoria Division, Plaintiffs seek to change their choice of venue and have the case transferred to Houston. Particularly in light of Plaintiffs' status as movant, the Court will give some weight to their original choice of venue.

         B. Private Interest Factors

         Plaintiffs concede that the relative ease of access to sources of proof is a neutral factor, and that there are unlikely to be unwilling witnesses who are required to testify at trial. As ...


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