United States District Court, C.D. California
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS): DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE TO DISTRICT OF ARIZONA (Dkt. #93, filed February 18, 2014)
The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of April 7, 2014, is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Plaintiff David Bryant filed this action on January 7, 2011. Dkt. #1. The operative First Amended Complaint ("FAC") asserts claims against the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), BOP Director Charles Samuels, Jr., and Juan Castillo, the Regional Director of the BOP's Western Region. Dkt. #89. Plaintiff's claims arise under the First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701, et seq. Id . Plaintiff alleges that he has been in BOP custody since August 2005, and that he has been deaf since early childhood. FAC ¶¶ 1-2. He further alleges that he has been housed at five different BOP facilities since 2005, including United States Penitentiary ("USP") Hazelton in West Virginia, USP Coleman I in Florida, USP Victorville in California, USP Canaan in Pennsylvania, and USP Tuscon in Arizona. Id . ¶ 95. The gravamen of plaintiff's claims is that the BOP has failed to provide him with "auxiliary aids and accommodations necessary to provide him with meaningful access to prison programs and activities on an equal basis with hearing individuals." Id . ¶
1. Plaintiff was housed at USP Victorville at the time that he filed the initial complaint in this action, and was housed at USP Tuscon at the time that he filed the FAC. Id . ¶ 7.
Defendants filed a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer this action to the District of Arizona. Dkt. #93. Plaintiff filed an opposition on March 17, 2014, dkt. #94, and defendants replied on March 24, 2014, dkt. #95. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
"A district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have consented." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In deciding a motion to transfer, the Court must consider the following three factors: (1) the convenience of the parties; (2) the convenience of the witnesses; and (3) the interests of justice. Id .; see Los Angeles Mem'l Coliseum Comm'n v. NFL , 89 F.R.D. 497, 499 (C.D. Cal. 1981).
In analyzing the "interests of justice, " a number of factors are relevant, including the following: (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. Stewart Org. v. Ricoh Corp. , 487 U.S. 22, 29-30 (1988); Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc. , 211 F.3d 495, 498-99 (9th Cir. 2000). Other factors that can be considered are: the enforceability of the judgment; the relative court congestion in the two forums; and which forum would better serve judicial economy. 17 Moore's Federal Practice § 111.13[c] (3d ed. 1997).
However, "[s]ubstantial weight is accorded to the plaintiff's choice of forum, and a court should not order a transfer unless the convenience' and justice' factors set forth above weigh heavily in favor of venue elsewhere." Catch Curve, Inc. v. Venali, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96379, *3-4 (C.D. Cal. 2006)
The party seeking to transfer venue bears the burden of showing that convenience and justice require transfer. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Savage , 611 F.2d 270, 278-279 (9th Cir. 1979); Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co. , 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986) ("The defendant must make a strong showing of inconvenience to warrant upsetting the plaintiff's choice of forum."). The decision to transfer lies within the sound discretion of the trial judge. See Sparling v. Hoffman Constr. Co. , 864 F.2d 635, 639 (9th Cir. 1988).
Defendants argue that this action should be transferred to the District of Arizona for three reasons. First, defendants argue that this action "might have been brought" in the District of Arizona, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), because the allegations in the FAC focus primarily on plaintiff's conditions of incarceration at USP Tuscon. Mot. Transfer at 10; Reply at 2-4. Second, defendants argue that the District of Arizona is a more convenient forum for the parties and witnesses because plaintiff is no longer incarcerated in California, and is now incarcerated in Tuscon, Arizona. Id . at 15-18; Reply at 5-15. Thus, according to defendants the evidence pertaining to plaintiff's current conditions of incarceration is located ...