United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division
MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING MOTION TO
C Hanks Jr. United States District Judge.
Jermaine Hines, filed this lawsuit on September 22, 2016, to
recover for injuries sustained while he was working on an
offshore platform. Hines is a resident of Louisiana. Hines
alleges that each of the Defendants have their principal
place of business within the Southern District of Texas.
Hines alleges that he “sustained serious injuries to
his back, neck, and other parts of his body when he was
required to operate heavy equipment that was owned and
maintained by the Defendants, ” and contends that the
Defendants were negligent for, among other things, failing to
train and supervise crew and employees, failing to provide
safety equipment, failing to provide a safe work environment,
instructing crew members to perform their jobs in an unsafe
manner, failing to provide adequate lifting assistance, and
failing to maintain the platform.
Energy XXI GOM, LLC, Energy XXI Holdings, Inc., and Energy
XXI Services, LLC (collectively, “the Energy
Defendants”) have filed a motion to transfer this case
to the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Texas, Houston Division. Dkt. 29.
Energy Defendants allege that transfer of this case is
warranted because Houston is a clearly more convenient venue
under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Hines is opposed to the
FOR CONVENIENCE TRANSFERS
U.S.C. § 1404(a) allows a district court to transfer a
civil action “for the convenience of parties and
witnesses, in the interest of justice ... to any other
district or division where it might have been brought.”
The statute is intended to save “time, energy, and
money while at the same time protecting litigants, witnesses,
and the public against unnecessary inconvenience.”
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). Motions to transfer venue under §
1404(a) are committed to the sound discretion of the district
court. Jarvis Christian College v. Exxon Corp., 845
F.2d 523, 528 (5th Cir. 1988). The party seeking transfer has
the burden of showing good cause for the transfer. In re
Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir.
2008) (en banc). The burden on the movant is
“significant, ” and for a transfer to be granted,
the transferee venue must be “clearly more convenient
than the venue chosen by the plaintiff.” Id.
Could this lawsuit have been filed in Houston?
threshold question for a district court considering a motion
to transfer venue under 28 U.S.C. 1404(a) is whether the suit
could have been filed in movant's desired transfer venue.
In re Volkswagen AG, 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir.
2004); see also Wells v. Abe's Boat Rentals
Inc., No. CIV.A. H-13-1112, 2014 WL 29590, at *1 (S.D.
Tex. Jan. 3, 2014).
parties do not dispute that venue would be proper in the
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, and the
Court finds that this lawsuit indeed could have been brought
Balancing of Private and Public Factors
the Court must determine whether on balance the transfer
would serve “the convenience of parties and
witnesses” and “the interest of justice”
under 28 U.S.C. §1404(a) by weighing a number of private
and public interest factors. In re Volkswagen Am.,
Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008). The private
concerns 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. The public concerns 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 of the application of foreign
law. Id. No one single factor is given dispositive
weight. See Wells, 2014 WL 29590 at *1 (quoting
Action Indus., Inc. v. U.S. Fidelity & Guar.
Co., 258 F.3d 337, 340 (5th Cir. 2004)). The Court
analyzes these factors below.
Private Interest Factors
Court first considers the private interest factors: relative
ease of access to sources of proof; the availability of
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses; the
cost of attendance for willing witnesses; and all other