United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
I. QUIÑONES ALEJANDRO, U.S.D.C. J.
this Court is a motion to transfer venue from the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania (“EDPA”) to the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
(“EDVA”) filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a) by Defendant Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
(“Defendant”), on the basis of forum non
conveniens. [ECF 6]. Plaintiff Noah Nathan
(“Plaintiff”) opposes the motion. [ECF 9]. The
issues raised in the motion have been fully briefed and are
ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth herein,
Defendant's motion to transfer is granted.
the salient facts, which are derived from Plaintiff's
complaint, as well as the declarations and other evidence
submitted with each party's respective briefs, can be
summarized as follows:
Plaintiff's employment with Defendant and its predecessor
companies commenced in 2002. His most recent position was
Territory Manager of Defendant's Reston, Virginia
territory. On October 22, 2018, Plaintiff, a former
resident of Alexandria, Virginia, now a resident of Ellicott
City, Maryland,  filed in this federal district a complaint
against Defendant asserting claims of retaliation in
violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h);
and retaliation and discrimination in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Virginia Human
Rights Act (“VHRA”), Va. Code § 2.2-3900
et seq. [See generally ECF 1, Compl.].
Previously, on September 14, 2009, Plaintiff filed a qui
tam action against Defendant under the False Claims Act
in the EDPA in which he alleged that Defendant was marketing
a drug called Dextilant off-label. The qui tam
action was subsequently voluntarily transferred to the EDVA,
where it was litigated through 2014. Ultimately, the action
was dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
(“Rule”) 12(b)(6). See United States Ex. Rel.
Nathan v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.,
Civ A. No. 1:09-cv-1086 (E.D. Va.).
In November 2011, Plaintiff had also filed a Title VII
lawsuit in Virginia state court alleging sex and family
responsibility discrimination and retaliation. The state
court action was removed to the EDVA in December 2011, where
summary judgment was granted in favor of Defendant. See
Nathan v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., Civ. A.
No. 1:11-cv-1360 (E.D. Va).
In the instant complaint, Plaintiff alleges that beginning in
April 2017, and continuing through his termination on
November 30, 2017, he was subjected to discrimination because
of his sex, retaliation for the prior lawsuits, and to
heightened scrutiny by his managers in Reston, Virginia. Less
than a month prior to his termination, Plaintiff had raised
with human resources and management concerns of alleged
off-label marketing of the drugs Trintellix and Uloric.
Plaintiff alleges that management and human resources were
aware of his prior False Claims Act and Title VII litigation,
targeted him, and terminated his employment in retaliation.
Defendant moves to transfer this matter from the EDPA to the
EDVA pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) for the convenience
of the parties and the witnesses and in the interest of
justice on the basis of the doctrine of forum non
1404(a) provides that “[f]or 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 transferring venue
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.” Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612,
616 (1964). In determining whether transfer is appropriate,
“the district court is vested with wide
discretion.” Plum Tree, Inc. v. Stockment, 488
F.2d 754, 756 (3d Cir. 1973).
determination of whether a venue transfer is appropriate
under § 1404(a) requires consideration of two elements;
to wit: (1) whether both the original and the
requested venues are proper, and (2) if venues are proper,
whether the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the
interest of justice would be better served by transfer to a
different forum. Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55
F.3d 873, 878-79 (3d Cir. 1995).
this Court must first determine if venue is proper in both
the EDPA and the EDVA. The venue provision for Title VII
claims provides that actions may be brought:
in any judicial district in the State in which the unlawful
employment practice is alleged to have been committed, in the
judicial district in which the employment records relevant to
such practice are maintained and administered, or in the
judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have
worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice, but
if the respondent is not found within any such district, such
action may be brought within the judicial district in which
the respondent has his principal office.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3).
general venue statute contained in 28 U.S.C. § 1391
governs Plaintiff's False Claims Act and VHRA claims.
Venue is proper under § 1391 in a judicial district in
which any defendant resides; a judicial district in which a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
the claim occurred; or in any judicial district in which any
defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction
if no other venue is proper. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
this Court determines that venue in both forums is proper, it
must then undertake a balancing test to determine whether the
convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interest of
justice would be better served by a transfer to a different
forum. Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879; Cappola v.
Ferrellgas, Inc., 250 F.R.D. 195, 197 (E.D. Pa. 2008).
Although there is no definitive formula or exhaustive list of
factors to consider when determining whether a transfer of
venue is warranted, a court must weigh existing relevant
private and public interests in its decision process. A
non-exhaustive list of these interests was articulated by the
Third Circuit in Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co.,
commonly known as the Jumara factors. 55 F.3d at
moving party bears the burden of establishing the need for
the transfer. Id. at 879.“Transfer is not
warranted, however, if the result is merely to shift the
inconvenience from one party to the other.”
DermaMed, Inc. v. Spa de Soleil, Inc, 152 F.Supp.2d
780, 783 (E.D. Pa. 2001). “‘[U]nless the balance
of convenience of the parties is strongly in favor of
defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should
prevail.'” Penn Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. BNC ...