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Crowley v. Houston Wiring and Cable Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 9, 2020

MICHAEL CROWLEY, Plaintiff
v.
HOUSTON WIRING AND CABLE CO., Defendant

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN MILTON YOUNGE JUDGE

         AND NOW, this 9th day of January, 2020, pending before the Court is a motion to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), filed by Defendant Houston Wiring and Cable Co. (See ECF No. 6.) The motion is unopposed. Plaintiff Michael Crowley failed to file a response, and the time to do so has expired. See L.R. 7.1(c) (responses to non-dispositive motions are due within fourteen days, and “[i]n the absence of [a] timely response, the motion may be granted as uncontested”). The Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7.1(f). For the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendant's motion to transfer to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is a civil action for damages arising out of Plaintiff's employment with Defendant. (ECF No. 1 at 10-14.)[1] Plaintiff originally filed his suit against Defendant in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Chester County. (Id.) The case was removed to this Court on December 19, 2019. (Id. at 1.) On December 23, 2019, Defendant filed the instant motion requesting to transfer this action to the Southern District of Texas based on a forum-selection clause in an employment agreement between the parties. (“Motion, ” ECF No. 6-1.)

         Defendant is in the wire and cable industry. (See ECF No. 1.) Defendant is a Delaware corporation and has its principal place of business in Houston, Texas. (Id. at 3.) On December 27, 2018, Plaintiff executed an employment agreement whereby he accepted employment with Defendant as an Inside Salesperson. (“Employment Agreement, ” ECF No. 6-3 at 2.) A copy of the employment agreement is attached to the Defendant's motion to transfer. (See id.) The employment agreement provides, in relevant part, that:

As a condition of EMPLOYEE's employment and in consideration of HWC providing EMPLOYEE with training; salary, bonus, or wages; Confidential Business Information; or other legal consideration, EMPLOYEE and HWC agree as follows:

         ARTICLE VI. MISCELLANEOUS

21. Texas Law Applies. This Agreement shall be governed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas, excluding the conflicts of law provisions thereof.
22. Forum Selection. The PARTIES expressly agree that any suit or other legal proceedings related to or arising out of the PARTIES' employment relationship or this Agreement will be filed and heard only in the state or federal courts sitting in Houston, Texas, and that if the PARTIES agree to arbitration, the arbitration will likewise take place in Houston, Texas. The PARTIES expressly and irrevocably waive any objection they may have to Houston, Texas as a venue for any such proceedings and will not assert that Houston, Texas or the courts or arbitrators sitting therein are an improper or inconvenient forum.

(Id. at 2, 6.)

         Despite this language in the employment agreement, Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant in Pennsylvania state court for wrongful termination/wrongful discharge, which clearly relates to Plaintiff's employment with Defendant.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Defendant asserts that the Southern District of Texas is the appropriate federal venue for Houston, Texas, and this case should be transferred to the Southern District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (See Motion at 5 n.1.) Section 1404(a) states:

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 or to any district ...

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