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Robert Kierstead v. Experian Information Solutions

April 11, 2011

ROBERT KIERSTEAD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Andrew J. Guilford United States District Judge

"O"

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER

Plaintiff Robert Kierstead ("Plaintiff"), a Maine resident, filed this lawsuit for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") after being denied credit in Maine. Defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Defendant") now moves to transfer the case to Maine (the "Motion"). After considering the parties' arguments, the Court GRANTS the Motion. This case is transferred to the District of Maine.

BACKGROUND

As noted, Plaintiff is a Maine resident. (Complaint ¶ 4.) Defendant, an Ohio corporation, is a consumer reporting agency with its corporate headquarters in Costa Mesa, California. (Id. ¶ 5; Declaration of Teresa Iwanski supporting Motion ("Iwanski Decl.") ¶¶ 3-5.) Defendant maintains its "databases containing the information [Defendant] reports regarding consumers, including Plaintiff's information" in Texas. (Id. ¶ 5.) Defendant has communicated with Plaintiff exclusively from the Texas office. (Id. ¶ 7.)

Plaintiff alleges that (1) Defendant has been reporting derogatory and inaccurate statements and information about Plaintiff and his credit history to third parties; (2) Defendant mixed Plaintiff's credit file with that of another consumer due to faulty procedures; and (3) Plaintiff lost credit opportunities and suffered emotional pain due to the inaccurate credit statements. (Complaint ¶¶ 4, 8, 11-12) Defendant suggests that Plaintiff's credit file was mixed with the credit information of Plaintiff's son. (Iwanski Decl. ¶ 9.)

Based on these factual allegations and others, Plaintiff brings two claims for relief:

(1) Violations of the FCRA; and (2) Defamation. As noted, Defendant now moves to transfer the case to the District of Maine.

LEGAL STANDARD

A court may transfer an action "to any other district or division where it might have been brought" for "the convenience of parties, witnesses and in the interest of justice." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Because the "[w]eighing of the factors for and against transfer involves subtle considerations," a district court possesses substantial discretion under Section 1404(a). Ventress v. Japan Airlines, 486 F.3d 1111, 1118 (9th Cir. 2007).

To determine whether an action should be transferred, a court performs a two-step analysis. First, the court determines whether the action might have been brought in the potential transferee court. Id.; see also Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 343-44 (1960). Second, if the action could have been brought in the potential transferee court, then the court performs an "individualized, case-by-case determination of convenience and fairness" to determine whether the case should be transferred. Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988). This analysis weighs (1) the convenience of the parties and witnesses and (2) the interest of justice.

28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); see also Stewart Org., 487 U.S. at 29. The moving party bears the burden of showing that transfer is appropriate. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Savage, 611 F.2d 270, 279 (9th Cir. 1979).

ANALYSIS

1. WHETHER THE ACTION COULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT IN THE DISTRICT OF MAINE

As a threshold inquiry, the Court must determine whether this action could have been brought in the District of Maine. The answer is yes. Plaintiff brought this case under the FCRA, so the District of Maine would have had federal question jurisdiction over this matter. Further, Defendant admits that it is subject to personal jurisdiction in Maine because of the business it conducts in the state. (Motion 5:3-5.) Venue is also proper in Maine because a substantial part of the events occurred in Maine. Finally, the parties ...


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