United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
ESI/EMPLOYEE SOLUTIONS, L.P., HAGAN LAW GROUP L.L.C, and STATE OF TEXAS
CITY OF DALLAS; T.C. BROADNAX, in his official capacity as City Manager of the City of Dallas; and BEVERLY DAVIS in her official capacity as Director of the City of Dallas Office of Equity and Human Rights
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
D. JORDAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants City of Dallas, T.C. Broadnax, and
Beverly Davis's (collectively “the City”)
Motion to Transfer Venue. (Dkt. #10). The Motion requests
that the Court transfer this case to the Northern District of
Texas-Dallas Division. The Plaintiffs, ESI/Employee
Solutions, L.P. (“ESI”), Hagan Law Group, L.L.C.
(“Hagan”), and the State of Texas, filed a
Response in Opposition to the Motion (Dkt. #27), to which the
City filed a Reply (Dkt. #31). After a hearing on the matter
on October 8, 2019, the parties filed supplemental briefing.
(Dkt. #45-46). The Court, having considered the Motion,
responses, record, and applicable law,
DENIES the Motion. The Court further
DENIES as moot the City's Supplemental
Motion to Change Venue. (Dkt. #45).
case arises from the enactment of a municipal ordinance
(“the Ordinance”) by the City of Dallas on April
24, 2019, that requires certain employers to provide paid
sick leave to employees working within Dallas. (Dkt. #1);
Dall. City Code § 20-4(a). The Ordinance, which became
effective for “medium or large employers” on
August 1, 2019, and will become effective for “small
employers” on August 1, 2021, requires employers to
grant one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours
worked by an employee within Dallas, regardless of the
employer's location. Id. § 20-4(a)-(b). The
Ordinance caps the amount of paid sick leave for each
employee working in Dallas at sixty-four hours per year for
medium or large employers and forty-eight hours per year for
small employers, although employees with a collective
bargaining agreement may bargain to modify the yearly cap.
Id. § 20-4(c)(1)-(2), (e). The Ordinance also
includes administrative and reporting requirements for
employers related to the sick-leave time. Id. §
20-7. Failure to comply with the Ordinance will result in a
fine. Id. § 20-11(a).
Plaintiffs include the State of Texas and two Collin
County-headquartered employers with employees who perform
work in Dallas. The Plaintiffs claim that the Ordinance is
preempted by state law and, therefore, violates the Texas
Constitution. (Dkt. #1). The employer-plaintiffs also claim
that the Ordinance violates their constitutional rights to
freedom of association, freedom from unreasonable searches
and seizures, and equal protection under the law. (Dkt. #1).
City has filed a Motion to Transfer Venue. (Dkt. #10). In its
Motion and at the venue hearing, the City contested venue in
the Eastern District of Texas as improper. See (Dkt.
#10 at 2- 4) (stating in a section titled “Plaintiffs
Failed to Allege Proper Venue” that “allegations
for venue are unsupported and unsustainable”); (Dkt.
#31 at 1) (arguing in a section titled “Plaintiffs
Failed to Allege Proper Venue” that venue is improper
under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2)). The City also made an
alternative argument for a convenience transfer under 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a). In its supplemental briefing, however,
the City has affirmatively abandoned its improper venue
arguments and asks only for a § 1404(a) convenience
transfer to the Northern District of Texas-Dallas Division.
(Dkt. #45). Accordingly, the Court will address only the
issue of whether a § 1404(a) convenience transfer is
statutes “are drawn with necessary generality and
usually give a plaintiff a choice of courts, so that he may
be quite sure of some place in which to pursue his
remedy.” Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S.
501, 507, 67 S.Ct. 839, 91 L.Ed. 1055 (1947). Although
“a plaintiff has the privilege of filing his claims in
any judicial division appropriate[, ] . . . § 1404(a)
tempers the effects of the exercise of this privilege”
by allowing courts to transfer a case that subjects the
defendant to a venue that is inconvenient under its terms.
In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 313
(5th Cir. 2008) (en banc) [hereinafter Volkswagen
II]. A court has “broad discretion in deciding
whether to order a transfer.” Id. at 311.
1404(a) states that, “[f]or 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 . . . .” 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a). Under § 1404(a), the moving party
must first establish that the case might have been brought in
the prospective transferee district. See
Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 312. A case “might
have been brought” in a district if venue is proper
there. See id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1391). Venue
is determined under the general venue statute where the cause
of action alleged in a case does not implicate a special
venue statute. Id. Under the general venue statute,
venue is proper 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 . . .;
(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).
establishing proper venue in the prospective transferee
district, the moving party must “clearly
demonstrate” that transfer would be convenient for the
parties and witnesses. See Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d
at 312, 315. Convenience is “clearly
demonstrate[d]” when the movant overcomes a
“significant burden . . . to show good cause for the
transfer.” Id. at 314 n.10. As the Fifth
Circuit has explained, “when the transferee venue is
not clearly more convenient than the venue chosen by the
plaintiff, the plaintiff's choice should be
respected.” Id. at 315.
convenience analysis turns on the application of private and
public interest factors set forth in Gilbert.
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