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Single Box, L.P. v. Valle

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

September 19, 2019

SINGLE BOX, L.P., ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
BRETT DEL VALLE, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN MCBRYDE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Came on for consideration the motion by defendants, Brett Del Valle, PRP Menifee, LLC, and Peninsula Retail Partners V, LLC, to dismiss on the basis of forum non conveniens. The court, } having considered the motion, the response, the reply, the record, and applicable authorities, finds that the motion should f be denied. I

         I.

         Background

         On February 13, 2019, plaintiffs, Single Box, L, P. and SB AB West Loop, L.P. f/k/a SB Finco AB, L.P., initiated this breach of I contract action in Tarrant County, Texas. Doc. 5 at l.[1] The contract relates to a construction project in Riverside County, | California, but plaintiffs filed suit in Tarrant County pursuant I to forum selection clauses in the contracts. Doc. 17 at 1; Doc. f 18 at 15, 20, 36. On February 25, 2019, plaintiffs initiated nonjudicial foreclosure against defendants in California. Doc. 17 at 1. In the following months, third parties filed suit against plaintiffs and defendants in the Superior Court of Riverside County, California for damages arising out of the same construction project. Doc. 18 at 109, 122, 130, 139, 148. Defendants subsequently removed this action to this court and moved to dismiss on the basis of forum non conveniens. Doc. 1; Doc. 16.

         II. Grounds of the Motion

         Defendants allege that dismissal is appropriate under the doctrine of forum non conveniens because the Superior Court of Riverside County, California is a more convenient forum than the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Doc. 17, p. 6. Defendants argue that the forum selection clauses do not control because (I) plaintiffs waived the forum selection clauses by initiating foreclosure in California and (ii) even if plaintiffs did not waive, the court should still find that private and public factors outweigh the forum selection clauses. Doc. 17 at 18-21.

         III.

         Legal Standards

         A plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be disturbed. Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 241 (1981) (citations omitted). However, a district court has the discretion to dismiss under the doctrine of forum non conveniens when (I) the claims may be heard in an available and adequate alternative forum and (ii) the balance of the Gulf Oil public- and private-interest factors favors dismissal. Id. at 241, 254 n.22. The Gulf Oil public-interest factors include:

(1) Administrative difficulties arising from congested courts;
(2) Imposition of jury duty on people of a community unrelated to the litigation;
(3) Local interest in having localized controversies decided at home; and
(4} Interest in having the trial of a diversity case in a forum that is "at home" with the law that ...

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