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Lawson-Kennedy v. Corinth Health Care LLC

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

May 10, 2017

LINDA LAWSON-KENNEDY, individually and on behalf of the Estate of Katherine Lawson Plaintiff,
v.
CORINTH HEALTH CARE LLC d/b/a CORINTH REHABILITATION SUITES ON THE PARKWAY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JANE J. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Corinth Health Care LLC d/b/a Corinth Rehabilitation Suites on the Parkway's Motion to Transfer Venue. Doc. 9. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED, and the case is TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         This is a medical negligence case stemming from Defendant's care of decedent Katherine Lawson while she was a resident at Corinth Rehabilitation Suites on the Parkway. Doc. 1-2, Pl.'s Orig. Pet. ¶¶ 9, 19-27. Plaintiff originally filed the suit in the 362nd Judicial District Court in Denton County, Texas. Doc. 1, Notice of Removal ¶ 2. Defendant then removed the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Id.

         After Defendant filed an Answer, the Court ordered the parties to confer and submit a Joint Status Report. Doc. 5, Status Report Order. In their Report, the parties indicated that they planned on filing an agreed motion to transfer venue because Defendant's Notice of Removal was inadvertently filed in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division rather than the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division. Doc. 6, Joint Status Report ¶ 3. Based on this representation, the Court gave the parties a deadline to file a motion to transfer venue. Doc. 7, Order. Defendant then filed its Motion to Transfer Venue within the deadline and requested that the Court transfer the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division. Doc. 9, Def.'s Mot. to Transfer Venue ¶ 2. The Motion, however, was not styled as an “agreed” or “joint” motion as parties indicated that it would be in their Report, and it did not contain a certificate of conference as required by the Local Civil Rules.[1] Therefore, the Court considers it to be opposed by Plaintiff. While the Court considers the Motion to be opposed, Plaintiff did not respond. The Motion is ripe for the Court's review.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Section 1404(a) 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 . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The movant bears the burden of proving both that the civil action could have been brought in the proposed district and that transfer would be for the convenience of parties and witness, in the interest of justice. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008).

         Venue in removed cases is governed solely by the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), not § 1391, the general venue statute. Republic Capital Dev. Grp., L.L.C. v. A.G. Dev. Grp., Inc., No. H-05-1714, 2005 WL 3465728, at *8 (S.D. Tex. Dec. 19, 2005) (citing Polizzi v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., 345 U.S. 663, 665 (1953)). The removal statute provides that a “civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).

         To demonstrate that transfer would be for “the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice” under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a movant must show good cause. In re Volkswagen, 545 F.3d at 315 (citing Humble Oil & Ref. Co. v. Bell Marine Serv., Inc., 321 F.2d 53, 56 (5th Cir. 1963)). To determine whether a movant has shown good cause, courts examine a number of private and public interest factors. In re Volkswagen, 545 F.3d at 315 (citing Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501 (1947)). “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. (quoting In re Volkswagen AG, 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 of conflict of laws [or in] the application of foreign law.” Id. “When the transferee forum is no more convenient than the chosen forum, the plaintiff's choice should not be disturbed.” Thomas v. City of Fort Worth, No. 3:07-cv-1689-O, 2008 WL 4225556, at * 2 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 15, 2008); see also In re Volkswagen, 545 F.3d at 315.

         III.

         ANALYSIS

         In order to rule on Defendant's Motion, the Court must make the following two determinations: (1) whether the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division is a proper venue; and (2) whether transfer would be for the ...


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