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Trans World Logitec, Inc. v. Samsung SDS Global SCL America, Inc.

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

October 15, 2019

TRANS WORLD LOGITEC, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
SAMSUNG SDS GLOBAL SCL AMERICA, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JANE J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Samsung SDS Global SCL America, Inc.'s (Samsung's) Motion to Transfer Venue Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (Doc. 9), filed on July 16, 2019. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is DENIED.

         I.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of a dispute between Plaintiff Trans World Logitec, Inc. (TWL) and Samsung. Doc. 5, Pl.'s First Am. Compl., ¶ 1. Specifically, TWL provided logistics services to Samsung for washing machines manufactured by Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEHA). Id. The logistics services included the movement of SEHA products from Newberry, South Carolina. Id. ¶ 13. Samsung allegedly refused to pay for the services as agreed upon. Id. ¶ 3.

         TWL subsequently filed this suit in Texas state court, and Samsung removed the case to federal court. Doc. 1, Notice of Removal. TWL filed an amended complaint alleging breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment. Doc. 5, Pl.'s First Am. Compl., 8-11. After its removal, Samsung filed this motion to transfer the case to the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division. Doc. 9, Mot. to Transfer Venue. TWL then filed its Response (Doc. 13), and Samsung its Reply (Doc. 15). The Court subsequently ordered supplemental briefing on where the alleged misconduct took place (Doc. 20). The parties have submitted their supplemental briefing (Docs. 21 & 22). This motion is now ripe for review.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a district court may transfer a civil action to another district or division if (1) the Plaintiff(s) could have brought that action there originally and (2) the transfer would be for “the convenience of parties and witnesses, and in the interests of justice . . . .” 28 U.S.C. §1404(a). The party seeking transfer bears the burden of proving both elements. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc. (Volkswagen II), 545 F.3d 304, 314 n.10 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc); Calloway v. Triad Fin. Corp., 2007 WL 4548085, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 27, 2007).

         The parties do not dispute element (1) above. Therefore, the only issue is whether the transfer would be for the convenience of parties and witnesses, and in the interests of justice.

         In making this determination, courts engage in a multi-factor test. Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315 (citing Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501 (1947)). “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 (Volkswagen I), 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir. 2004)). The public interest factors include: “(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. The balance of these factors must clearly weigh in favor of transferring to the new venue. Id. “[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, 2008 WL 4225556, at * 2 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 15, 2008); see also Volkswagen I, 545 F.3d at 315.

         A court must also independently consider how much weight to assign a plaintiff's choice of forum. Davis v. City of Fort Worth, 2014 WL 2915881, at *2 (N.D. Tex. June 25, 2014). “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. (quoting Sivertson v. Clinton, 2011 WL 4100958, at *4 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 14, 2011) (internal citations omitted)).

         III.

         ANALYSIS

         Samsung requests a transfer to the Columbia Division of the District of South Carolina. As set forth above, to obtain such relief Samsung must first show that TWL could have originally filed this suit in the District of South Carolina. The parties do not dispute that the District of South Carolina would have been a proper forum. Thus, the only issue before the Court is whether granting a transfer would serve the interests of convenience and justice. The Court will first analyze the relevant private interest factors, and subsequently address the proper public interest factors.

         As discussed in detail below, only one factor, the availability of compulsory process, arguably weighs in favor of transfer. And, that factor is most likely neutral. Therefore the Court denies the motion to transfer venue (Doc. 9).

         A. The Private Interest Factors

         1. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum “A plaintiff's choice of forum is normally entitled to deference, but when she files suit outside her home forum, the weight accorded to the choice is diminished.” Davis, 2014 WL 2915881, at *2 (quoting Sivertson, 2011 WL 4100958, at *4) (internal citations omitted). Because TWL's state of incorporation and principal place of business are both Georgia, Doc. 13, Pl.'s Br., 2, TWL is not at home in Texas. Therefore, its decision to file the suit in Texas is afforded little-to-no weight.

         2.Relative Ease of Access to ...


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