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Clark v. American Airlines, Inc.

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

July 10, 2019

JUDY D. CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          IRMA CARRILLO RAMIREZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         By Order of Reference dated February 20, 2019 (doc. 14), before the Court for determination is Defendant American Airlines Inc's Opposed Motion to Transfer Venue and Brief in Support Thereof, filed February 19, 2019 (doc. 10). Based on the relevant filings, evidence, and applicable law, the motion to transfer venue is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 24, 2018, Judy D. Clark (Plaintiff) was terminated from her employment at American Airlines Inc. (Defendant) as a result of a reduction in force. (doc. 3 at 4-5.)[1] She sued Defendant on January 11, 2019, for race, sex, and color discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and age discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. (See id.) Plaintiff resides in Cedar Hill, Texas, which is located in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas. (Id. at 1.)

         On February 19, 2019, Defendant answered and moved to transfer the action to the Fort Worth Division for the convenience of the parties and witnesses. (doc. 10 at 1-2; doc. 12.) Its corporate office is located in Tarrant County, Texas, which is located in the Fort Worth Division. (doc. 11-1 at 2.) Plaintiff previously worked at Defendant's Flight Attendant Services Center (FASC), which is also located in Tarrant County, and the events that gave rise to her claims all occurred there. (Id.) All decisions regarding Plaintiff's employment were made in Tarrant County, and that is where the person who made the decision regarding her termination worked during her employment, although he is now located in California. (Id. at 2-3.) The other witnesses that Defendant will likely call to testify at trial are employed in Tarrant County, and several also reside there. (Id. at 3.) Defendant's “relevant files, payroll records, personnel polices and procedures (including employee handbooks and policies related to hiring, Equal Employment Opportunity and anti-discrimination policies and company rules) were formulated and are located and maintained in Tarrant County.” (Id.) Plaintiff's personnel records are also maintained at the corporate office in Tarrant County. (Id. at 2-3.)

         Plaintiff did not respond to the motion to transfer, and it is now ripe for consideration.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A district court may transfer any civil case “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice…to any other district or division where it may have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). As a threshold matter, § 1404(a) requires a determination of whether the proposed transferee district is one in which the suit might have been brought. In re Horsehoe Entm't, 337 F.3d 429, 433 (5th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Once this threshold has been met, § 1404(a) requires consideration of “the convenience of the parties and witnesses” and “the interests of justice.” In re Volkswagen AG, 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir. 2004) (Volkswagen I); In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008) (Volkswagen II). The movant must show that based on these considerations, the transferee venue is “clearly more convenient.” Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315. Courts have broad discretion under § 1404(a) in deciding whether to order a transfer. Id.

         A. Proposed Transferee District

         Plaintiff sues for employment discrimination under Title VII, which has a special venue provision:

[A]n action may be brought in any judicial district in the State in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed, in the judicial district in which the employment records relevant to such practice are maintained and administered, or in the judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice, but if the respondent is not found within any such district, such an action may be brought within the judicial district in which the respondent has his principal office. For purposes of sections 1404 and 1406 of Title 28, the judicial district in which the respondent has his principal office shall in all cases be considered a district in which the action might have been brought.

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3).[2] She also sues under the ADEA, to which the general federal venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391, applies. Tucker v. U.S. Dept. of Army, 42 F.3d 641 (5th Cir. 1994).

         Section 1391(b) provides:

A civil action may be brought 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 claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; 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.

28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(West Supp. 2014). Venue must be proper as to each cause of action. Id. ...


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