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Baker v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 21, 2015

NICOLE BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
BAYER HEALTHCARE PHARMACEUTICALS INC., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE TO THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

THELTON E. HENDERSON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals' motion to transfer venue from the Northern District of California to the Southern District of Indiana or, in the alternative, to the Central District of California. The Court has carefully considered the arguments of the parties in the papers submitted, and finds this matter suitable for resolution without oral argument, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b). Defendant's motion to transfer is GRANTED, and this case is hereby transferred to the Central District of California, for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Nicole Baker brings a products liability suit against Defendant Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals for alleged injuries suffered due to the use of a Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) produced and marketed by Bayer. Bayer is an international company incorporated in Delaware and with its headquarters in New Jersey. Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") at 2 (Docket No. 21). Plaintiff's IUD was inserted on January 6, 2010, at Community Physicians Network for Women in Indianapolis, Indiana by her healthcare provider, Georgia Steiman. SAC at 5. Plaintiff received medical care four times at two hospitals in Riverside, California between June and October 2011 for alleged symptoms associated with the device. Id. at 5-6.

Plaintiff filed her initial complaint on February 4, 2013. (Docket No. 1). Defendant filed the instant motion to transfer venue to the Southern District of Indiana or, in the alternative, to the Central District of California, on June 18, 2015. Mot. at 11 (Docket No. 76).

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 or to any district or division to which all parties have consented." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In order for a district court to transfer an action under section 1404, the court must therefore make two findings: (1) the transferee court is one where the action "might have been brought;" and (2) the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interest of justice favor transfer. Gelber v. Leonard Wood Mem'l for Eradication of Leprosy, No. 07-CV-01785-JSW, 2007 WL 1795746, at *2 (N.D. Cal. June 21, 2007) (citing Hatch v. Reliance Ins. Co., 758 F.2d 409, 414 (9th Cir.1985)). To make a determination on the convenience and interest of justice prong, the court considers: the plaintiff's choice of forum; the convenience of the parties and witnesses; the ease of access to sources of proof; local interest in the controversy; the familiarity of each forum with the applicable law; and the relative congestion in each forum. Gelber, 2007 WL 1795746, at *2 (citing Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir.1986)).

DISCUSSION

Defendant seeks transfer to the Southern District of Indiana, or in the alternative, to the Central District of California. Mot. at 11. After considering the available venues in light of the Parties' arguments and applicable law, the Court finds that transfer to the Central District of California is most appropriate.

I. This case could have been brought in the Central District of California.

As an initial matter, this case could have been brought in the Central District of California. Section 1404(a) may be used "to direct an action to any other district or division" where the action "might have been brought" initially. Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 342 (1960). A civil action may be brought in a "judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred...." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).

A substantial part of the events giving rise to the claims in this case occurred in the Central District of California. Specifically, between June and October 2011, Plaintiff went to the hospital four times in Riverside, California for alleged complications from the Mirena implant. SAC at 5-6 (Docket No. 21). These complications, and consequently the attendant hospital visits and associated evidence, are a substantial element of Plaintiff's lawsuit. Additionally, it is undisputed that Defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction in California and that California federal court has subject-matter and supplemental jurisdiction over this case. Joint Case Management Statement at 2 (Docket No. 36). Moreover, the Parties do not contest that the Central District of California is an appropriate venue in this case.

II. Plaintiff's choice of forum is accorded little weight in this context.

Generally, a plaintiff's choice of forum is accorded significant weight; however, "this weight is substantially lessened where the plaintiff does not reside in the forum and the acts that gave rise to the case did not occur in that forum." Grossman v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 14-CV-03557-VC, 2015 WL 1743116, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 13, ...


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