United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Waco Division
BLAKELEY TURNER, DAMON BROOKS, DEANDRA SIMPSON, SHAMIYAN WALTON, MICHAEL HARRIS, AND ANITA SIMPSON, Plaintiffs,
THE CINCINNATI INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
ALBRIGHT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Cincinnati Insurance Company's
(“CIC” or “Defendant”) Opposed Motion
to Transfer (ECF No. 2), Plaintiffs Blakeley Turner, Damon
Brooks, Deandra Simpson, Shamiyan Walton, Michael Harris, and
Anita Simpson's (collectively, “Plaintiffs”)
Response (ECF No. 4), and Defendant's Reply (ECF No. 5).
After having reviewed the parties' briefs, case file, and
applicable law, the Court has determined that Defendant
CIC's Motion to Transfer should be
September 20, 2019, Plaintiffs brought suit in the
170th Judicial District Court of McLennan County,
Texas. Def.'s Not. of Removal and Corporate Disclosure
Statement (hereinafter “Notice of Removal”), ECF
No. 1. Plaintiffs allege breach of contract claims against
CIC relating to a final judgment Plaintiffs obtained in a
state court negligence suit against ATI Enterprises, Inc.,
CIC's insured. Id. at 1. Plaintiffs allege CIC
wrongfully denied Plaintiffs' claim for insurance
coverage. See ECF No. 1, Ex. 2 ¶¶ 18-27.
CIC removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a) on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Notice
of Removal at 2.
removing the action to this Court, CIC filed a Motion to
Transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Def. Cincinnati
Insurance Company's Opposed Mot. to Transfer Venue
(hereinafter “Mot. to Transfer”), ECF No. 2. In
CIC's Motion to Transfer, CIC argues transfer to the
Northern District of Texas is proper because: (1) the lawsuit
could have been originally filed in the proposed transferee
venue and (2) the convenience of the parties and interests of
justice weigh in favor of transfer. Id. at 4. On
December 10, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a response to CIC's
Motion. Pls' Opp'n to Def. The Cincinnati Insurance
Company's Mot. to Transfer Venue (hereinafter
“Resp.”), ECF No. 4. On December 17, 2019, CIC
filed a reply. Def. Cincinnati Insurance Company's Reply
in Support of Mot. to Transfer (hereinafter
“Reply”), ECF No. 5.
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). Courts
maintain discretion to adjudicate motions to transfer venue
on an individualized, case-by-case basis that considers
convenience and fairness. Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh
Corp. 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988).
movant in a motion to transfer bears the burden of
establishing good cause for the proposed transfer. Humble
Oil & Refining Co. v. Bell Marine Serv., Inc., 321
F.2d 53, 56 (5th Cir. 1963); see also In re Volkswagen of
Am., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008)
(“Volkswagen II”). Good cause, when
viewed in the context of § 1404(a), means the movant
must clearly demonstrate that a transfer is for the
convenience of parties and witness, as well as in the
interest of justice, in order for the movant to support its
claim for a transfer. Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at
315. Quite simply, when the movant demonstrates the
transferee venue is clearly more convenient by weighing
certain private and public interest factors, good cause
exists, and the district court should grant the motion.
Id. However, if the movant fails to show the
proposed venue is clearly more convenient than the
plaintiff's chosen venue, the plaintiff's choice
should prevail. Id.
have adopted the private and public interest factors first
enunciated in Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S.
501 (1947) to determine whether a § 1404 venue transfer
is clearly more convenient and in the interest of justice.
Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315. The relevant private
interest factors 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.” Id. (internal
quotes omitted). The relevant 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. (internal quotes
omitted). These factors are not necessarily exhaustive nor
exclusive. Id. Moreover, a court may cannot say any
of the factors alone have dispositive weight. Id.
one listed factor from Gulf Oil carries far less
weight in a § 1404 transfer. Gulf Oil stated an
interest to consider (and the one most likely pressed) was
the private interest of the plaintiff regarding its choice of
forum. See Gulf Oil, 330 U.S. at 508. However,
Gulf Oil was a fourm non conveniens case,
which inherently implicates potential dismissal of the
plaintiff's case. See generally Id. Because
transfer through § 1404(a) avoids dismissal unlike
forum non conveniens, the choice of forum factor set
out in Gulf Oil receives far less weight from
courts. Humble Oil, 321 F.2d at 56. The difference
is such because the “good cause” burden discussed
above “reflects the appropriate deference to which the
plaintiff's choice of venue is entitled.”
Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315.
Court now turns to examine Defendant CIC's § 1404(a)
arguments. CIC argues the Northern District of Texas is both
a proper and more convenient venue for this action. Mot. to
Transfer at 8-12. CIC must show that the balance between the
private interests and public interests described by the
Supreme Court in Gulf Oil clearly establishes the
Northern District of Texas as a more convenient venue than
the present one. See Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315.
order to determine whether CIC has clearly shown the
transferee venue is more convenient, consequently
demonstrating good cause, the Court must weigh the private
and public interest factors catalogued in Gulf Oil.
If, when added together, the relevant private and public
interest factors are in equilibrium, or even if they do not
clearly lean in favor of the transferee venue, the motion
must be denied. Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315. Once
again, the Court's ultimate inquiry is which forum will
best serve the convenience of the parties and the interests
of justice. Koster v. Am. Lumbermens Mutual Casualty
Co., 330 U.S. 518, 527 (1947). In this case, the
relevant factors do not support CIC's motion to transfer
Private Interest Factors Do Not Clearly Establish the
Northern District of ...