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Kandance Clark, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated v. Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al

December 15, 2010

KANDANCE CLARK, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SPRINT SPECTRUM L.P. ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Illston United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE TO CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Defendants have filed a motion to transfer venue, which is scheduled for hearing on December 16, 2010. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument, and hereby VACATES the hearing. For the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS defendants' motion to transfer, and TRANSFERS this action to the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

BACKGROUND

In 2009, plaintiff Kandance Clark purchased a cellular telephone as well as an Equipment Service and Repair Program ("ESRP") and an Equipment Replacement Program from defendants Sprint Spectrum L.P. and Sprint Solutions, Inc. (collectively "Sprint"). First Amend. Compl. ("FAC") ¶ 23. Plaintiff alleges that the telephone was not immersed in nor directly exposed to water during the time that she owned it. Id. In early 2010, plaintiff's telephone began to malfunction, so she took it to a Sprint store in San Pedro, California, to be repaired. Id. ¶¶6, 24. Plaintiff alleges that a Sprint employee opened the telephone's battery cover and discovered that the "rejection sticker" inside had turned red. Id. The employee allegedly told plaintiff that because red rejection stickers indicate water damage, the manufacturer warranty and ESRP did not apply. Id. ¶¶6, 25. Plaintiff alleges that the employee made no further attempt to ascertain whether plaintiff's telephone had in fact been exposed to water. Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff was required to pay a $100 insurance deductible to replace the telephone. Id. ¶¶ 6, 27.

In her first amended complaint, plaintiff alleges claims for (1) declaratory relief, (2) breach of warranty, (3) breach of contract, (4) violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, (5) fraud, (6) unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, (7) unfair business practices in violation of Cal. B.P.C. § 17200, et seq., (8) untrue and misleading advertising in violation of Cal. B.P.C. § 17500, et seq., and (9) unjust enrichment. See id. ¶¶ 48-113. In addition, plaintiff seeks to certify her claims as a nationwide and statewide class action. See id. ¶¶ 34-47. Specifically, plaintiff seeks to represent "[a]ll persons who reside in the United States who (a) own a Sprint cellular telephone that is covered by the ESRP; and/or (b) own or once owned a Sprint cellular telephone and who were denied coverage under the Warranty and/or the ESRP by Sprint for its repair or replacement because a Rejection Sticker had been triggered, without Sprint's determining whether the cellular telephone had actually been damaged by water." Id. ¶ 35. Plaintiff also seeks to represent a subclass of such persons, in which the members are "'consumer[s],' as that term is defined by California Civil Code section 1761(d), or purchased 'goods' or 'consumer goods,' as those terms are defined by California Civil Code sections 1761(a) and 1791(a), respectively." Id. ¶ 36. Plaintiff's claims have not yet been certified as a class action.

Presently before the Court is defendants' motion to transfer venue to the Central District of California.

LEGAL STANDARD

"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." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The purpose of § 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) (internal quotation omitted). A motion to transfer lies within the broad discretion of the district court, and must be determined on an individualized basis. See Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000).

To support a motion for transfer, the moving party must establish "(1) that venue is proper in the transferor district; (2) that the transferee district is one where the action might have been brought; and (3) that the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the interest of justice." Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 820 F. Supp. 503, 506 (C.D. Cal. 1992).

DISCUSSION

I. Propriety of Venue in Transferor and Transferee Districts

The parties agree that venue would be proper in either the Northern District or the Central District. See Def. Mot. to Transfer, at 2 (arguing that the "proper venue for this action is the Central District of California"); id. at 5 ("Sprint Solutions and Sprint Spectrum both do business in the Northern District of California, both therefore are subject to personal jurisdiction in the Northern District, and an action could be maintained there if it were a convenient location for the witnesses and parties."); Pl. Opp., at 4 ("[V]enue is proper in either the Northern District of California or the Central District of California."). As the parties agree that venue would be proper in both the transferor and transferee districts, the only disputed issue is whether transfer to the Central District would serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses as well as promote the interests of justice.

II. Convenience and Promotion of the Interests of Justice

Courts use the following factors to evaluate whether a transfer of venue would be more convenient to the parties and the witnesses and would promote the interests of justice: "(1) plaintiff's choice of forum, (2) convenience of the parties, (3) convenience of the witnesses, (4) ease of access to the evidence, (5) familiarity of each forum with the applicable law, (6) feasibility of consolidation of other claims, (7) any local interest in the controversy, and (8) the ...


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