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Motiv Power Systems, Inc. v. Livernois Vehicle Development, LLC

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 9, 2014

MOTIV POWER SYSTEMS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
LIVERNOIS VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT, LLC, COMERICA BANK, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION OF DEFENDANT COMERICA BANK TO TRANSFER CASE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1404(A)

YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS, District Judge.

Defendant Comerica Bank ("Comerica") has filed its Motion to Transfer Case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Dkt. No. 12.) Comerica seeks a transfer pursuant to the first-to-file rule or, in the alternative, on convenience grounds under section 1404(a).

Plaintiff Motiv Power Systems, Inc. ("Motiv") filed no response to the motion and Comerica filed its Notice of Non-Opposition on December 27, 2013. (Dkt. No. 16.)

Having carefully considered the papers submitted and the pleadings in this action, and the lack of opposition to the motion by Plaintiff, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS the Motion to Transfer based on the first-to-file rule.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Parties and Dispute

Comerica is a lender to defendant Livernois and its affiliates ("Borrowers").[2] Livernois is an automotive engineering services provider and manufacturer with its principal place of business in Michigan. The Borrowers are in default of their obligations to Comerica under the Notes and the total unpaid principal and interest due to Comerica currently exceeds $4.1 million.

Motiv, a California corporation, and Livernois are parties to a November 30, 2012, Consulting Services Agreement (the "CSA") pursuant to which Livernois agreed to "provide [Motiv] with professional, technical engineering, design, fabrication and assembly services" in connection with certain electric vehicle components. Pursuant to that CSA, Motiv delivered to Livernois, in Michigan, certain automotive parts and equipment ("the Goods"). Comerica is not a party to the CSA.

The heart of the dispute between Motiv and Comerica is whether Comerica's asserted lien on the Goods is senior to the Motiv's lien and interests in that same property. Comerica asserts that it is entitled to possess and liquidate any assets of Livernois in order to satisfy Livernois' outstanding debt to Comerica. Comerica further contends that the Goods are the inventory of Livernois and part of its assets.

Comerica alleges that, on September 23, 2013, Motiv forcibly took a portion of the Goods into its possession. The remaining Goods are still in the possession of Livernois in Michigan.

B. Chronology of the Litigation

On October 3, 2013, Comerica filed a Michigan state court action against Motiv in the Wayne County Circuit Court entitled Comerica Bank v. Motiv Power Systems, Inc. (Case No. 13-012930-PD) ("the Michigan Complaint"). In its complaint, Comerica contends that it has a prior perfected lien on the Goods, which lien is senior to any interest Motiv claims to have therein. Comerica's complaint states claims for declaratory relief, conversion, and claim and delivery.

On October 4, 2013, Motiv filed the instant action against Livernois in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco ("the California Complaint") captioned as Motiv Power Systems, Inc. v. Livernois Vehicle Development, LLC, et al. (Case No. CGC-13-534698). On October 15, 2013, Motiv filed an amended complaint in the Motiv State Action for the purpose of adding Comerica as a defendant.

On October 17, 2013, Comerica removed the California Complaint to this Court. On November 4, 2013, Motiv removed the Michigan Complaint to the U.S. District ...


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