Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bedrock Logistics, LLC v. Braintree Laboratories, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

April 28, 2017

BEDROCK LOGISTICS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
BRAINTREE LABORATORIES, INC. and AFFORDABLE PHARMACEUTICALS, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          BARBARA M. G. LYNN, CHIEF JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or Transfer Venue (ECF No. 6). For the reasons stated below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         I. Procedural and Factual Background

         On September 15, 2016, Braintree Laboratories, Inc. and its subsidiary Affordable Pharmaceuticals (collectively “Braintree”) sent a demand letter to Bedrock Logistics, LLC, asserting that Bedrock had engaged in a deceptive kickback scheme to obtain and maintain business with Braintree. Braintree's letter included an offer of settlement to avoid litigation, with a response deadline of September 26, 2016. On September 19, 2016, instead of settling or otherwise responding, Bedrock filed suit in Texas state court, seeking collection of its invoices owed by Braintree. On September 27, 2016, Braintree filed suit against Bedrock in federal court in Massachusetts. On October 4, 2016, Braintree removed the Texas state court action to this Court. Bedrock then moved to transfer the Massachusetts action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The Massachusetts federal court denied that motion, holding that the § 1404(a) factors weighed against transfer to Texas, and rejecting Bedrock's first-to-file argument. Braintree Labs., Inc. v. Bedrock Logistics, LLC, 16-11936-IT, 2016 WL 7173755 (D. Mass. Dec. 8, 2016). The parties will thus continue to litigate a case in Massachusetts involving the same transactions and witnesses at issue here. On November 8, 2016, Braintree moved to dismiss this case for lack of personal jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, to transfer this action to the District of Massachusetts (ECF No. 6). Bedrock argues that venue is proper here, and that the first-to-file rule prevents transfer to the District of Massachusetts.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Venue Transfer

         A district court may transfer a civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In the Fifth Circuit, a district court is to grant transfer if the party seeking a change of venue has demonstrated that the transferee venue “is clearly more convenient” than the plaintiff's chosen venue. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., (Volkswagen II ) 545 F.3d 304, 311 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc). A court must consider a number of private and public interest factors when analyzing a motion to transfer venue. The private interest factors include: “(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.” In re Volkswagen AG, (Volkswagen I ) 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir. 2004). The public interest factors include: (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 regarding conflict of laws or the application of foreign law. Id. A plaintiff's choice of venue is not a distinct factor in the § 1404(a) analysis, but “when the transferee venue is not clearly more convenient than the venue chosen by the plaintiff, the plaintiff's choice should be respected.” Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 311. The parties do not dispute that the suit could have been filed in the District of Massachusetts. Thus, the Court must determine whether, in the interests of justice, the private and public interest factors support a transfer to the District of Massachusetts.

         B. First-to-file Rule

         The first-to-file rule provides that when related cases are pending in two district courts, the court with the later-filed action can refuse to hear the case, if the issues raised by both cases “substantially overlap.” Cadle Co. v. Whataburger of Alice, Inc., 174 F.3d 599, 603 (5th Cir. 1999). The first-to-file rule is a discretionary doctrine, the aim of which is to “avoid the waste of duplication, to avoid rulings which may trench upon the authority of sister courts, and to avoid piecemeal resolution of issues that call for a uniform result.” Save Power Ltd. v. Syntek Fin. Corp., 121 F.3d 947, 950 (5th Cir. 1997). However, courts may choose not to apply the first-to-file rule when compelling circumstances exist. Mann Mfg., Inc. v. Hortex, Inc., 439 F.2d 403, 407 (5th Cir. 1971).

         Compelling circumstances exist when the first action was an anticipatory suit, meaning it was designed to preempt the second filer's suit and to secure the first filer's forum choice. See Raz Imports, Inc. v. Luminara Worldwide, LLC, No. 3:15-CV-02223-M, 2015 WL 6692107, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 3, 2015) (Lynn, J.). Anticipatory suits “deprive a potential plaintiff of his choice of forum, and are also one of the compelling circumstances courts cite when declining to apply the first-filed rule.” Paragon, 2008 WL 3890495, at *4. In these cases, deferring to the plaintiff's choice of forum incentivizes and rewards the winner of a race to the courthouse. Id. Courts thus disfavor anticipatory suits as constituting improper forum-shopping. See Mission Ins. Co. v. Puritan Fashions Corp., 706 F.2d 599, 602 n.3 (5th Cir. 1983).

         III. Analysis

         A court typically decides personal jurisdiction questions before considering any venue challenges. However, if there is a sound prudential justification for doing so, a court may reverse the normal order. See Leroy v. Great W. United Corp., 443 U.S. 173, 180 (1979) (explaining that “neither personal jurisdiction nor venue is fundamentally preliminary”). Here, “resolution of the venue issue renders the personal jurisdiction problem moot and avoids the need to address constitutional questions. It is thus appropriate to consider venue as an initial matter.” Nuttall v. Juarez, 984 F.Supp.2d 637, 642 (N.D. Tex. 2013) (Lynn, J.).

         A. Venue Transfer

         Private ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.