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Lewis Lipnick and Lynn-Jane Foreman Lipnick v. United Air Lines

September 9, 2011

LEWIS LIPNICK AND LYNN-JANE FOREMAN LIPNICK, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UNITED AIR LINES, INC. AND DEUTSCHE LUFTHANSA AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER CASE TO THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

INTRODUCTION

Defendants United Air Lines, Inc. and Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft move to transfer this action to the Eastern 14 District of Virginia or, alternatively, to the District of 15 Columbia. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.

Having considered the 16 papers submitted by the parties, the Court finds it in the 17 interest of justice to GRANT Defendants' motion to transfer the 18 action to the Eastern District of Virginia. 19

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lewis Lipnick filed his initial action in the Superior Court of California. He asserted claims under the 22 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International 23 Carriage by Air (the Montreal Convention) and alleged negligence 24 against Defendants for injuries he sustained in Munich, Germany, 25 while embarking on United Air Lines Flight 903 destined for Dulles 26 International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. Defendants removed 27 the case to district court on the basis of diversity and federal 28 question jurisdiction. Plaintiff Lewis Lipnick's wife, Lynn-Jane 2 Foreman Lipnick, joined the action in the First Amended Complaint, 3 alleging damages for loss of consortium. Plaintiffs are residents 4 of Falls Church, Virginia. Defendants now move under 28 U.S.C. 5 § 1404(a) to transfer the case. 6

LEGAL STANDARD

"For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the 8 interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil 9 action to any other district or division where it might have been 10 brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Section 1404(a) accords a district court broad discretion with respect to transferring a case. Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 31 (1988) 13 (citing Norwood v. Kirkpatrick, 349 U.S. 29, 32 (1955)). In 14 assessing whether to exercise its discretion to do so, a district 15 court considers the following:

(1) convenience of the parties; 16 (2) convenience of the witnesses; and (3) the interest of justice. 17 Id. The Ninth Circuit has identified numerous additional factors 18 a court may consider in determining whether a change of venue 19 should be granted pursuant to § 1404(a): 20 (1) the location where the relevant agreements were negotiated and executed, (2) the state that is most familiar with the governing law, (3) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (4) the respective parties' contacts with the forum, (5) the contacts relating to the plaintiff's cause of action in the chosen forum, (6) the differences in the costs of litigation in the two forums, (7) the availability of compulsory process to compel attendance of unwilling non-party witnesses, and (8) the ease of access to sources of proof.

Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498-99 (9th Cir. 27 2000).

The burden is on the defendant to show that the convenience 2 of parties and witnesses and the interests of justice require 3 transfer to another district. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. 4 Savage, 611 F.2d 270, 279 (9th Cir. 1979). The Supreme Court has 5 ruled that a Section 1404(a) analysis should be an 6 "individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and 7 fairness." Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622 (1964).

Defendants have met their burden to show that the relevant 10 factors weigh in favor of transferring this case to the Eastern District of Virginia.

DISCUSSION

The convenience of the parties does not merit much consideration here. Plaintiffs have chosen to sue in California, 14 and Defendants are corporations ...


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