Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Eric Manley, et al. v. Navmar Applied Sciences Corp.

November 14, 2012

ERIC MANLEY, ET AL.
v.
NAVMAR APPLIED SCIENCES CORP., ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juan R. Sanchez, J.

MEMORANDUM

Pro se Plaintiffs Eric Manley, Skylier Smith, and George Cook bring this unlawful termination action against Defendant Navmar Applied Sciences Corp. (Navmar) and nine individual defendants. Navmar and individual Defendant Thomas Fenerty*fn1 ask this Court to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona because, although Navmar has its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, all of the underlying events giving rise to this action occurred at its operations in Arizona, and only two of the individual defendants reside in Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs concede all of the events at issue occurred in Arizona, but argue their choice of forum should not be disturbed because Navmar is based in Pennsylvania and it would be too costly for them to litigate this case in Arizona, as they reside in Georgia and Texas.

In addition, Navmar and Fenerty*fn2 also ask this Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to sufficiently allege the elements of any of the claims brought. Alternatively, Navmar and Fenerty argue Plaintiffs should be required to provide a more definite statement of the claims alleged as against each Defendant pursuant to Rule 12(e).

For the following reasons, Navmar's motion to transfer will be denied, and Navmar's motion to dismiss will be granted.

FACTS

This lawsuit centers around a six-week training program instituted by Navmar in 2011 at its Yuma, Arizona operations. Plaintiffs were hired by Navmar to attend the Yuma program, but were discharged prior to graduating from the program. Plaintiffs assert a myriad of claims against Navmar and nine individual Defendants, only one of whom has been served to date. This Defendant, Fenerty, resides in Pennsylvania. Seven of the remaining eight individual Defendants are either current or former employees of Navmar. According to Navmar's employment records containing the last-known addresses of its current and former employees, one of these Defendants resides in Pennsylvania, three reside in Arizona, one resides in Maryland, one resides in Virginia, and one resides in Texas. The final individual Defendant is a government employee who worked together with Navmar at its Yuma operations. Navmar is uncertain of this Defendant's current residence, though suspects he still resides in Arizona. It does not appear that any of these eight Defendants has been served to date. Moreover, although the pleadings are unclear, from what this Court can discern after hearing oral argument on Navmar's pending motions, Plaintiffs allege they were treated unfairly during the training program, and ultimately wrongfully terminated because of their race. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege an array of federal claims, including claims pursuant to, inter alia, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and 29 U.S.C. § 621, as well as a host of state law claims, including, inter alia, breach of contract, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent training, and tortious interference with contractual relations.

DISCUSSION

In support of their argument to transfer this case to Arizona, Defendants rely on the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Generally, venue of a civil action 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 a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; 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.

In federal court, questions concerning proper venue are governed by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1404(a) or 1406. Section 1404(a) governs disputes where both the original and requested venue are proper, while § 1406 applies where the original venue is improper, and provides for either transfer or dismissal of the case. In their motion, Navmar and Fenerty seek transfer for improper venue under § 1406(a) and, in the alternative, for the convenience of the parties and in the interest of justice under § 1404(a). Under § 1391, venue is not proper in this district because all Defendants do not reside in Pennsylvania, the events giving rise to Plaintiffs' claims did not occur in this district, and there is another district in which this action may be brought. Thus, if § 1391 were applicable to this case as Defendants argue, § 1406(a) would require either transfer to the proper venue (Arizona) or dismissal of the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). However, § 1391 does not apply here because Navmar removed this case from state court. See Polizzi v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., 345 U.S. 663, 665 (1953); Bank Express Internat'l v. Kang, 265 F. Supp. 2d 497, 507 (E.D. Pa. 2003); 14D Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 3804 (3d ed. 1998). Thus, the removal statute governs the question of venue and provides for removal "to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where [the state action] is pending." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). This action was originally filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Bucks County and could only have been removed to this federal district. See 28 U.S.C. § 118(a) (providing that Eastern District includes Bucks County). By removing the case, Navmar effectively waived its objection to venue. Because venue in this district is proper, transfer pursuant to § 1406(a) is inapplicable.

Even though venue is proper in this district, the case may still be transferred to Arizona pursuant to § 1404(a). Lamusta v. Lawson Mardon Wheaton, Inc., No. 99-3931, 2000 WL 274013, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Mar.13, 2000) ("[A] party in a properly removed action may and must proceed under § 1404(a) to seek any change of venue."). It is well settled that a court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 343 (1960). The purpose of the transfer provision "is to prevent the waste of time, energy, and money and to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense." Measurement Specialties, Inc. v. Stayhealthy.com, 275 F. Supp. 2d 638, 640 (E.D. Pa. 2003) (internal citations and quotations omitted). Although a court has broad discretion to decide whether to order a transfer, Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 253 (1981), "a motion to transfer is not to be liberally granted," Measurement Specialties, Inc., 275 F. Supp. 2d at 640 (internal citations omitted). Indeed, a "plaintiff's choice of venue should not be lightly disturbed." Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 2005). The burden of establishing the need for transfer rests with the moving party. Id. The movant must prove with particularity the reasons why it is inconvenienced by the plaintiff's choice of forum. Austin v. Johns-Manville Corp., 524 F. Supp. 1166, 1169 (E.D. Pa. 1981) (noting the movant must "clearly specify the key witnesses to be called" and identify "what their testimony will cover," and explaining if a party has "merely made a general allegation that witnesses will be necessary, without identifying them and indicating what their testimony will be, the application for transfer [should] be denied") (citation omitted)).

In deciding whether to transfer a case to another district, a court should consider the following private and public interests: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the defendant's preference; (3) where the claim arose; (4) the convenience of the parties; (5) the convenience of the witnesses, but only to the extent the witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in one of the fora; (6) the location of books and records, similarly limited to the extent the files could not be produced in the alternative forum; (7) the enforceability of the judgment; (8) practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious, or inexpensive; (9) relative court congestion in the competing courts; (10) the local interest in deciding local controversies at home; (11) public policies of the fora; and (12) the familiarity of the trial judge with the applicable state law. Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879-80.

"A plaintiff's choice of forum typically receives 'paramount consideration.'" Shutte v. Armco Steel Corp., 431 F.2d 22, 25 (3d Cir. 1970). Nevertheless, a court's analysis should focus on whether the requested forum is more convenient than the plaintiff's chosen forum and promotes considerations of justice. Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616 (1964). Where the plaintiff chooses a forum other than his state of residence, his choice is given considerably less weight. Weber v. Basic Comfort, Inc., 155 F. Supp. 2d 283, 285 (E.D. Pa. 2001). The plaintiff's choice is also given less deference when none of the operative facts underlying the claim occurred there. See TaiDoc Tech. Corp. v. Diagnostics Devices, Inc., No. 12-2457, 2012 WL 3627423, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 23, 2012). However, "unless the balance of convenience of the parties is strongly in favor of defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should prevail." Al's Family Auto. v. Bennett, No. 11-6237, 2012 WL 246226, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 25, 2012) (quoting Shutte, 431 F.2d at 25).

Here, the only connection Pennsylvania has to this case is that two of the individual defendants reside in this Commonwealth, and Navmar has its principal place of business here. Consequently, Defendants argue Pennsylvania has no interest in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.