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James Cable and Denise Cable v. Allied Interstate

May 11, 2012

JAMES CABLE AND DENISE CABLE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALLIED INTERSTATE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DuBOIS, J.

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

In this case, Plaintiffs filed suit against defendant for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692d and 1692f, and state-law invasion of privacy. Defendant now moves this Court to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons stated below, the Court grants defendant's motion.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs James Cable and Denise Cable are adult individuals residing in Dover, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Defendant is a corporation with headquarters in New York, New York. (Entity Information for Allied Interstate, Inc., New York State Department of State, Pls.' Mem. Law Contra Def.'s Mot. Transfer Venue Ex. A.) Plaintiffs allege in the Complaint that defendant is primarily engaged in the business of debt collection. (Compl. ¶¶ 7--8.) As a debt collector, defendant allegedly calls individual consumers in an attempt to collect debts that it believes are due to third parties. (Id.) Plaintiffs aver that, in so doing, defendant directs consumers to call certain toll-free telephone numbers regarding their alleged debts. (Id. ¶¶ 11--12.) According to plaintiffs, if defendant does not answer when consumers call these toll-free telephone numbers, the calls are routed to plaintiffs' home telephone number. (Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs claim to have received "well over one hundred calls from various debtors attempting to return [defendant's] collection calls or trying to reach [defendant] in response to its collection [calls]" since May 2011. (Id. ¶ 14.)

Plaintiffs state in the Complaint that they have repeatedly contacted defendant, the Better Business Bureau, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to remedy this situation, without success. (Id. ¶¶ 17--19.) Plaintiffs filed suit in this Court on January 9, 2012, asserting claims under the FDCPA and state law.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Defendant seeks to transfer this case to the Middle District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Section 1404(a) permits transfers of venue, stating, "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." Once a court determines that venue would be proper in another district, the court must consider "all relevant factors to determine whether on balance the litigation would more conveniently proceed and the interests of justice be better served by transfer to a different forum." Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995).

The "burden of establishing the need for transfer . . . rests with the movant." Id. (citations omitted). Although the decision to transfer "'is in the court's discretion, . . . a transfer is not to be liberally granted.'" Yocham v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 565 F.Supp.2d 554, 557 (D.N.J. 2008) (quoting Shutte v. Armco Steel Corp., 431 F.2d 22, 25 (3d Cir. 1970)).

IV. DISCUSSION

Defendant has moved under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer this case to the Middle District of Pennsylvania. As stated above, § 1404(a) requires the Court to answer two questions in this case: First, could plaintiffs have brought this case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania? Second, is a transfer in the interest of justice? This Memorandum will address each question in turn.

A. The Middle District of Pennsylvania Is an Appropriate Venue for this Case

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), 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," or (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." For the purpose of § 1391(b), a corporate defendant resides in "any judicial district in which such defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to the civil action in question." Id. § 1391(c)(2).

There is no dispute that defendant would be subject to personal jurisdiction in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Thus, defendant-the sole defendant in this case-resides in the Middle District of Pennsylvania for the purpose of § 1391 and venue is proper in the Middle District of Pennsylvania under § 1391(b)(1). Further, venue is proper in the Middle District of Pennsylvania under § 1391(b)(2) because "a substantial part ...


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