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CPM Consulting LLC v. Capsugel US, LLC

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

August 9, 2019

CPM CONSULTING LLC and MARTINO RIVAPLATA
v.
CAPSUGEL US, LLC

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN GREN SCHOLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This Order addresses Defendant Capsugel US, LLC's ("Defendant") Amended Motion to Dismiss and to Transfer Venue (the "Motion") [ECF No. 30]. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the Motion and transfers the above-captioned matter to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff CPM Consulting, LLC ("CPM") is a Texas limited liability company whose sole member and owner is Plaintiff Martino Rivaplata ("Rivaplata"). See Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, 6. CPM and Rivaplata (collectively, "Plaintiffs") executed an agreement with Robert Half Technology ("RHT") in April 2017 to provide Defendant with a SAP HANA Data Modeler. See Id. ¶ 7. Although the agreement was allegedly negotiated and executed in Texas, Rivaplata needed to relocate to New Jersey-where Defendant is located-to perform the contract. See Id. ¶¶ 3, 8, 15, 17. Plaintiffs were allegedly assured by RHT and Defendant that the project would last at least six months. See Id. ¶¶ 8, 25. Nonetheless, Defendant terminated Plaintiffs three months early, allegedly in favor of hiring three Indian nationals. See Id. ¶¶ 11-12.

         Based on these allegations, Plaintiffs contend that the termination violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD"), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq. See Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiffs further contend that, by terminating Plaintiffs early, Defendant tortiously interfered with Plaintiffs' contract with RHT. See Id. ¶ 26. In the Motion, Defendant moves to dismiss the tortious interference claim and to transfer the remaining NJLAD claim to the New Jersey district court.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         To defeat a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell AH. Corp. v. Twombty, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Reliable Consultants, Inc. v. Earle, 517 F.3d 738, 742 (5th Cir. 2008). To meet this "facial plausibility" standard, a plaintiff must "plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Plausibility does not require probability, but a plaintiff must establish "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. The court must accept well-pleaded facts as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Sonnier v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., 509 F.3d 673, 675 (5th Cir. 2007). However, the court does not accept as true "conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions." Ferrer v. Chevron Corp., 484 F.3d 776, 780 (5th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). A plaintiff must provide "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations omitted). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level... on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. (internal citations omitted).

         The ultimate question is whether the complaint states a valid claim when viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Great Plains Tr. Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 312 (5th Cir. 2002). At the motion to dismiss stage, the court does not evaluate the plaintiffs likelihood of success. It only determines whether the plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. Mann v. Adams Realty Co., 556 F.2d 288, 293 (5th Cir. 1977).

         B. Transfer of Venue

         28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides, "For 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." As a plaintiffs original choice of forum is ordinarily entitled to some deference, the party seeking transfer must "demonstrate[] that the transferee venue is clearly more convenient." In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008). The plaintiffs choice of forum is not, however, "an independent factor within ... the § 1404(a) analysis." Id., 314n.l0.

         In applying § 1404(a), the Court must first determine "whether the judicial district to which transfer is sought would have been a district in which the claim could have been filed." In re Volkswagen AG, 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Once this determination is made,

[the Court] turn[s] to the language of ยง 1404(a), which speaks to the issue of "the convenience of parties and witnesses" and to the issue of "in the interest of justice," The determination of "convenience" turns on a number of private and public interest factors, none of which are given dispositive weight. 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) ...

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