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EDWARDS v. TEXACO

August 18, 1988

HERBERT EDWARDS
v.
TEXACO, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLAK

 POLLAK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Defendant has moved for transfer of this action to the United States District Court for the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Plaintiff's claim is for damages for an injury he allegedly sustained while employed as a seaman by the defendant on a ship. He brings this action pursuant to the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688 et seq. In an Order entered on April 10, 1987, I directed both parties to file evidentiary submissions relevant to the propriety of transfer. *fn1" Defendant has filed an affidavit and exhibits in support of its motion, and plaintiff a responsive submission. *fn2"

 The governing statute provides, in relevant part:

 
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.

 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). See also American Medicorp, Inc. v. Humana, Inc., 445 F. Supp. 573, 582-83 (E.D. Pa. 1977).

 This case meets the threshold requirement of § 1404(a), that the action might have been brought in the proposed district for transfer. Neither party questions that the Central District of California court could properly entertain this action. The subject matter jurisdiction for this action is based on a federal question, the Jones Act. Personal jurisdiction over the defendant seems assured, given Texaco's extensive business activity in California and the fact that the ship, upon which the plaintiff alleges his injury occurred, is moored in Estero Bay, California, in the jurisdiction of the Central District. *fn3" Mahoney Affidavit paras. 1, 2 & 8 (April 13, 1987); Defendant's Motion to Transfer at 3.

 Application of the remaining statutory criteria of § 1404(a) is based on an "individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness." Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622, 11 L. Ed. 2d 945, 84 S. Ct. 805 (1964). In evaluating the convenience of the parties in this action, I look first at the parties' locations. Both parties have strong contacts with the Central District of California. Several documents, including plaintiff's report of the alleged injury, his 1983 and 1984 tax returns, and his 1985 wage statement, indicate that plaintiff was a resident of Long Beach for several years up to and including the date of the alleged injury. Defendant's Exhibits A-D. Long Beach is in the jurisdiction of the Central District of California. Defendant's affidavit of April 1987 states, in the present tense, that plaintiff "resides" in Long Beach. Mahoney Affidavit para. 3 (April 13, 1987). Plaintiff has denied that he resides in Long Beach, Plaintiff's Answer to Motion to Transfer para. 1 (Nov. 21, 1986), but claims no other residence.

 Defendant Texaco, a New York corporation, admits to doing business in Pennsylvania sufficient to support the jurisdiction of this court. However, Pennsylvania apparently has no relation to this action other than being a state in which defendant corporation conducted business at all times relevant to this case. Complaint para. 2; Answer at 1. The defendant also claims and documents business activity in California that it acknowledges is sufficient to provide sufficient contacts in the proposed district. See supra n.3. This business in California, unlike that of Pennsylvania, relates directly to the incident giving rise to this action.

 Plaintiff's alleged injury occurred on board the vessel "Texaco Minnesota" when it was docking at Estero Bay, in the Central District of California. Defendant's Exhibit A (Edward's Report of Personal Injury). The home port of the "Texaco Minnesota" is Long Beach, California, also in the Central District. Mahoney Affidavit paras. 1, 8 (April 13, 1987). Plaintiff does not deny these statements. To the contrary, he avers that he was employed on the "Texaco Minnesota" at all times material to the Complaint. Complaint para. 6.

 Given the location of the vessel, it is not surprising that the Central District of California appears to be a convenient location for the witnesses in this case. It appears that the probable witnesses reside in, or are at least conveniently available in, the proposed district of transfer. Both potential eyewitnesses to the accident, Dan Dubois and George McAnern, live in the Central District of California. Mahoney Affidavit para. 5 (April 13, 1987). To be sure, plaintiff, in his responsive filing, questions whether Mr. Dubois lives in California and asserts that Mr. McAnern will travel to any location to testify for plaintiff, but he provides no evidence in support of either point. Plaintiff's Responsive Submission at 2.

 Plaintiff also asserts that "it would be unnecessary for the captain or any other officer . . . to be called to testify," Plaintiff's Responsive Submission at 3, but he offers no factual support for this assertion. Defendant, on the other hand, contends that Captain Cargakis and Mooring Master Keller may be necessary witnesses on the issue of negligence. Mahoney Affidavit para. 6 (April 13, 1987). Given the nature of plaintiff's claims, Complaint para. 9, defendant's contention seems entirely reasonable. Both Captain Cargakis and Master Keller live in California. Id.; Defendant's Exhibit A. Defendant also identifies two other potential witnesses who reside in New Hampshire and New Jersey, but indicates that their assignments on the "Texaco Minnesota" make California, at least in comparison to Pennsylvania, at least as convenient a location for discovery or use of their testimony. Defendant's Affidavit para. 7 (April 13, 1987).

 Finally, it is likely that the medical personnel who treated the plaintiff after the alleged injury will be witnesses. Plaintiff went to the Anderson Medical Group, Inc. in San Pedro, in the Central District of California, for treatment after the incident. Defendant's Exhibits E, F. Dr. Stephen Taus, the doctor who cared for the plaintiff and who issued a diagnosis and prognosis of plaintiff's condition, maintains offices in San Pedro. Defendant's Exhibit G. Again, plaintiff does not deny this evidence or claim or prove that he received any care outside of the Central District of California.

 Plaintiff provides no evidence of any other residences or circumstances of these or other witnesses to suggest that Pennsylvania is a more convenient location than California. A motion for transfer need not establish that any witnesses are unwilling to testify or that compulsory process would be necessary to obtain testimony in order for the court to find one proposed location more convenient than another. In this case, the record shows that access to ...


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