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Univest Capital Inc. v. Akiode Transitions MHT LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Texas

September 6, 2017

UNIVEST CAPITAL, INC. Plaintiff,
v.
AKIODE TRANSITIONS MHT LLC; OLADIMEJI AKIODE; and, ASCENTIUM CAPITAL, LLC Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          C. Darnell Jones, II J.

         I. Introduction

         Currently pending before this Court are Defendant Akiode and Individual Physician Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and/or Transfer Venue (ECF Nos. 14, 17.)[1], [2] Upon consideration of said Motions in conjunction with Plaintiff's Response, this Court finds that it is in the interests of justice to transfer this case (as well as all matters consolidated therewith) to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Accordingly, Defendants' Motions to Transfer Venue shall be granted.

         II. Background

         This matter arises from contracts for loans Plaintiff entered into with individual doctors and their guarantors. Said Defendants allegedly defaulted on the loans and are now claiming insolvency.[3]

         Plaintiff, a business with its principal place of business in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and incorporated in Pennsylvania, entered into these contracts with Defendants- none of whom reside or conduct business in Pennsylvania. Instead, most of the defendants are located, or conduct their business, in Texas. In fact, it is in Texas, where numerous Defendants in this case have several class actions currently pending, all of which directly involve the underlying facts of this case.[4] Subsequent to three of those lawsuits being filed, Plaintiff herein commenced twenty-six law suits in this District, against the same parties. Because of the related nature of the Texas lawsuits that were filed before the instant lawsuit was commenced and/or notice of same was served upon all Defendants, United States District Judge Sam A. Lindsay of the Northern District of Texas in Dallas determined that consolidation was appropriate and is currently presiding over all such matters. (Indv. Defs.' Br. Supp. Mot. Ex. F.)

         III. Standard of Review

         “For the convenience of the 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). “Section 1404(a) transfers are discretionary determinations made for the convenience of the parties and presuppose that the court has jurisdiction and that the case has been made in the correct forum.” Lafferty v. Gito St. Riel, 495 F.3d 72, 76 (3d Cir. 2007). “The burden of establishing the need for transfer . . . rests with the movant.” Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995). The court should consider the following factors when weighing a request to transfer venue on the basis of convenience, including:

[T]he plaintiff's forum preferences; Defendant's preferences; whether the claim arose elsewhere; the convenience of the parties as indicated by their relative physical and financial conditions; the convenience of witnesses, but only to the extent that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in one of the fora, and the location of books and records...[e]nforceability of judgment; practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious or inexpensive; the relative administrative difficulty in the two fora resulting from court congestion, the local interest in deciding local controversies at home, the public policies at the fora, and the familiarity of trial judges with the state law for diversity cases.

Aamco Transmission Inc. v. Johnson, 641 F.Supp.2d 464, 466 (E.D. Pa. 2009) (citing Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995)). “Whether to transfer a case is generally committed to the discretion of the district courts.” In re United States, 273 F.3d 380, 387 (3d Cir. 1995).

         IV. Discussion

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), venue is proper in (1) “a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;” (2) “a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred, ” or (3) “if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.” For purposes of § 1391(b), a corporate defendant resides in “any judicial district in which such defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to the civil action in question.” Id. § 1391(c)(2).

         In support of maintaining the instant ligation in this District, Plaintiff relies upon the Forum Selection Clause contained within the contracts signed by Defendants. Said Clause reads in pertinent part as follows:

THIS IPA SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA WITHOUT REGARD TO CONFLICT OF LAW PRINCIPLES. YOU AGREE THAT ANY ACTION OR PROCEEDING TO WHICH WE ARE A PARTY ARISING DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FROM THIS IPA SHALL BE LITIGATED, AT OUR OPTION, IN ANY STATE OF FEDERAL COURT HAVING SITUS WITHIN BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA AND THAT ...

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