United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
CHRISTINA P. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.
F. KELLY, SR. J.
before the Court is the Motion to Transfer Venue to the
Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division filed by
Defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC
(“Equifax”), Plaintiff Christina P. Johnson's
(“Johnson”) Response and Brief in Opposition,
Equifax's Reply Brief, and Johnson's Response to
Equifax's Reply (“Sur-Reply”) filed under
seal. For the reasons noted below, we grant Equifax's
filed the present action in the Court of Common Pleas of
Montgomery County on the basis of various violations of the
Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681, et seq. (Compl. ¶ 1; Pl.'s Br.
Opp'n at 1.) Johnson alleges she contacted Equifax to
request her consumer report. (Compl. ¶18.) Equifax
complied with the request and provided Johnson with a copy of
the consumer report, which “contained the names and
addresses of certain businesses that had accessed
[Johnson's] report within the last [twelve] months of the
date of the report.” (Id. ¶ 20.) The
report indicated that two entities, “Verizon
Telecom-Auth” and “Verizon East, ” had
accessed Johnson's consumer report within the relevant
time period. (Id. ¶ 23.) Johnson claims she
provided a written request to Equifax for the telephone
numbers of Verizon Telecom-Auth and Verizon East, but Equifax
refused to disclose the telephone numbers for those entities.
(Id. ¶¶ 24, 28, 30.) Johnson claims the
refusal to disclose the telephone numbers is a violation of
federal law under 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(a)(3). (Id.
¶ 29, 31.) Lastly, she asserts that Equifax's
conduct was willful in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681n.
(Id. ¶ 33, 38; see also Pl.'s Br.
Opp'n at 10.)
March 9, 2017, Equifax timely removed the matter to this
Court. On March 17, 2017, Equifax filed an Answer to
Johnson's Complaint and the instant Motion to Transfer
Venue, which seeks to transfer this matter from the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania (“Eastern District of Pennsylvania”)
to the United States District Court for the Northern District
of Georgia, Atlanta Division (“Northern District of
Georgia”). On April 10, 2017, Johnson filed a Response
and Brief in Opposition to the Motion to
Transfer. Equifax filed a Reply Brief on April 18,
2017, and Johnson filed a Sur-Reply under seal on May 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 or to any district or division to which all parties
have consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The purpose
of transfers under § 1404(a) is to “‘prevent
the waste of time, energy and money and to protect litigants,
witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience
and expense.'” Pro Spice, Inc. v. Omni
Trade Grp., Inc., 173 F.Supp.2d 336, 339 (E.D. Pa. 2001)
(quoting Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S.
612, 616 (1964)). District courts have discretion to
adjudicate motions to transfer “according to an
‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of
convenience and fairness.'” Stewart Org., Inc.
v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988) (quoting Van
Dusen, 376 U.S. at 622).
request for transfer under § 1404(a) is analyzed under a
two-part framework. See Jumara v. State Farm
Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 878-79 (3d Cir. 1995). First,
venue must be proper in both the original and the proposed
venue. Id. at 879; see also Murphy v. Trans
Union, LLC, No. 12-0499, 2012 WL 3536322, at *2 (E.D.
Pa. Aug. 15, 2012); Smith v. HireRight Sols., Inc.,
No. 09-6007, 2010 WL 2270541, at *2 (E.D. Pa. June 7, 2010).
Once the moving party establishes that the action could have
been brought in the proposed venue, a court must weigh and
balance a non-exhaustive list of private and public interest
factors to determine whether transfer is warranted.
Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879. The private interest factors
 [The] plaintiff's forum preference as manifested in
the original choice;  the defendant's preference; 
whether the claim arose elsewhere;  the convenience of the
parties as indicated by their relative physical and financial
condition;  the convenience of the witnesses-but only to
the extent that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for
trial in one of the fora; and  the location of books and
records (similarly to the extent that the files could not be
produced in the alternative forum).
Id. The public interest factors that a court must
 [T]he enforceability of the judgment;  practical
considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious,
or inexpensive;  the relative administrative difficulty in
the two fora resulting from court congestion;  the local
interest in deciding local controversies at home;  the
public policies of the fora; and  the familiarity of the
trial judge with the applicable state law in diversity cases.
Id. at 879-80. “The defendant bears the burden
of proving that transfer is appropriate.”
Murphy, 2012 WL 3536322, at *3.
first determine whether venue is proper in the original and
the proposed fora. See Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879. 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 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
A business entity 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).
of the parties dispute that venue is proper in the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania. The parties also do not dispute that
venue would be proper in the Northern District of Georgia.
Indeed, Equifax is a limited liability company with its
principal place of business in Georgia. (Def.'s Mot.
to Transfer ¶ 1; Smith Decl. ¶ 7.) Further, as
discussed in more detail below, all of the operative facts
surrounding Johnson's Complaint occurred in Atlanta,
Georgia. Therefore, venue is proper in the Northern District