United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Romulus, Inc.'s motion to transfer
venue. Doc. 7. For the reasons that follow, the Court
GRANTS the motion.
a personal-injury case. In August 2016, Plaintiff Yevonne
Buckner allegedly slipped and fell in an IHOP restaurant in
San Angelo, Texas. Doc. 1, Compl., ¶ 5. In February
2018, she brought this negligence and premises-liability suit
in the Court's Dallas Division. Id. ¶¶
18-32. Romulus, the entity that runs the San Angelo IHOP,
seeks to transfer this case to the San Angelo Division
because (1) the IHOP is in San Angelo; (2) the fall allegedly
happened in San Angelo; and (3) Buckner and those who
witnessed her fall reside in San Angelo. Doc. 7, Mot. to
Transfer, 1-3. Buckner opposes the motion, id. at 4,
but has not responded to Romulus's motion, which is now
ripe for consideration.
district court may transfer a civil action to another
district or division if (1) the plaintiff could have brought
that action there originally and (2) the transfer would be
for “the convenience of parties and witnesses, and in
the interest of justice . . . .” 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a). The movant bears the burden of proving both
elements. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d
304, 314 n.10 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc); Calloway v.
Triad Fin. Corp., No. 3:07-CV-1291-B, 2007 WL 4548085,
at *2 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 27, 2007).
plaintiff could have brought an action in a district or
division initially if, at the time he filed the action, (i)
either he or defendant resided in that district or division
and (ii) both resided within the state. 28 U.S.C. §
demonstrate that transfer would be for “the convenience
of parties and witnesses, and 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.
To determine whether a movant has shown good cause, courts
examine a number of private and public factors. Id.
“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 are: ‘(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. No one factor is
dispositive, although the most significant factor is the cost
of attendance to witnesses. Davis v. City of Fort
Worth, No. 3:14-CV-1698-D, 2014 WL 2915881, at *3 (N.D.
Tex. June 25, 2014). In total, however, the balance of these
factors must clearly weigh in favor of transferring to the
new venue. In re Volkswagen of Am., 545 F.3d at 315.
“[If] 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.
and private factors aside, a court must also independently
consider how much weight to assign a plaintiff's choice
of forum. Davis, 2014 WL 2915881, at *2. That amount
changes depending on whether a plaintiff has filed suit
within h[is] home forum or outside of it. “A
plaintiff's choice is normally entitled to deference, but
when she files suit outside her home forum, the weight
accorded to the choice is diminished.” Id. at
initial matter, the Court agrees with Romulus that venue
would have been proper in San Angelo under 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b)(1) had Buckner originally brought her claims there
because she lived in the San Angelo Division when she filed
suit. And the Court gives little weight to Buckner's
choice to file suit in the Dallas Division because everything
relevant to this case is in San Angelo, including Buckner.
Indeed, “when [the plaintiff] files suit outside her
home forum, the weight accorded to the choice is
diminished.” Davis, 2014 WL 2915881, at *2.
private and public factors weigh in favor of transferring.
The private factors warrant transfer because Buckner, the
IHOP, the sources of proof, and witnesses are in San Angelo.
And the public factors are either not applicable or weigh in
favor of transferring; nothing suggests that the court in San
Angelo is overly congested, transferring the case would
affect the controlling law or raise a conflict-of-law issue,
or that the Dallas Division is more familiar with the
applicable laws than the San Angelo Division. And to the
extent there is a local interest in having localized
interests decided at home, transferring this case would
achieve that interest because the restaurant is located in
San Angelo, as are Buckner and the witnesses.
Court GRANTS Romulus's motion to