United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE [DOC. NO.
MICHAEL M. ANELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jennifer Lynn Rodgers has filed the instant action against
Defendant Stater Bros. Markets alleging causes of action for
negligence and premises liability pursuant to California law.
See Compl., Doc. No. 1. Specifically, Plaintiff, a
resident of Idaho, alleges she visited one of Defendant's
grocery stores in Lake Elsinore, California on September 7,
2015. She alleges she visited the store as a customer, and
while walking on Defendant's property, “she slipped
and fell on a puddle of water from melted ice on the
floor” and “sustained significant
injuries.” See Compl. ¶ 6.
now moves to transfer venue, requesting the Court transfer
this action to the Central District of California, Eastern
Division. See Doc. No. 5.
1391(b) of Title 28 of the U.S. Code provides, in pertinent
part, that a “civil action may be brought in-(1) a
judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all
defendants are residents of the State in which the district
is located; [or] (2) a judicial district in which a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is
the subject of the action is situated[.]” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1391(b); see Costlow v. Weeks, 790 F.2d 1486,
1488 (9th Cir. 1986); see Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth
Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 842 (9th Cir. 1986).
“[T]he district court of a district in which is filed a
case laying venue in the wrong division or district shall
dismiss, or if it be in the interests of justice, transfer
such case to any district or division in which it could have
been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Even where
venue is proper, “[f]or 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).
argues transfer is proper under sections 1404 and 1406, but
does not make any arguments in support of its assertion that
1406 applies here. In other words, Defendant does not argue
that venue is improper in this district as would be required
for the Court to transfer this case pursuant to section 1406.
Rather, Defendant only argues in terms of 1404(a), which
generally applies where venue is proper, and allows courts to
transfer actions in their discretion. See Allstar Mktg.
Grp., LLC v. Your Store Online, LLC, 666 F.Supp.2d 1109,
1130 (C.D. Cal. 2009). Further, based on Plaintiff's
opposition brief, Plaintiff treats Defendant's motion as
a motion to transfer venue pursuant to section 1404(a).
Accordingly, because neither party argues otherwise, the
Court assumes venue is proper in this district and analyzes
Defendant's motion as a motion to transfer venue pursuant
to section 1404(a).
purpose of [section 1404(a)] is to prevent the waste of time,
energy, and money to protect litigants, witnesses and the
public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense.”
Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616 (1964)
(internal quotations omitted). Pursuant to 1404(a), district
courts have “discretion to adjudicate motions for
transfer according to an ‘individualized, case-by-case
consideration of convenience and fairness.'”
See Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495,
498 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting Stewart Org. v. Ricoh
Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)). To determine whether
transfer is appropriate, courts weigh “multiple
factors, ” including the convenience to the parties and
witnesses. See Jones, 211 F.3d at 498-99. Courts may
also consider the following factors, if relevant:
(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
Jones, 211 F.3d at 498-99. The burden is on the
defendant seeking transfer to show why transfer is justified.
See Allstar, 666 F.Supp. at 1131.
initial matter, for transfer to be appropriate, the Central
District of California, Eastern Division must have been a
district in which the case “might have been
brought.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Here,
the parties do not dispute that this action might have been
brought in the Central District. The events giving rise to
Plaintiff's causes of action occurred in the Central
District of California, Eastern Division. See 28
U.S.C. § 1391(b); see also Doc. No. 5-2, Decl.
of Tamara Ulufanua-Ciraulo (stating that the location at
which Plaintiff allegedly fell is located in Riverside
County); see also 28 U.S.C. § 84(c)(1) (stating
that the Central District of California, Eastern Division
includes Riverside county).
Defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the balance
of equities weighs in favor of transferring this case, the
Court outlines Defendant's arguments. First, regarding
the convenience of witnesses, Defendant argues that
“the witnesses to the incident include Defendant Stater
employees who work and reside in Riverside and San Bernardino
counties” and litigation would be “substantially
less burdensome” for those witnesses in the Central
District, Eastern Division. See Doc. No. 5.
Defendant states that “[w]itnesses would include the
store manager, assistant manager, and courtesy clerks, all of
whom are located in Riverside County.” See
Doc. No. 5.
regarding convenience of the parties, Defendant argues it
would be “far less burdensome for Defendant to litigate
this action in the Central District-Eastern Division”
because Defendant's corporate headquarters and its
principal place of business are in San Bernardino,
California, which is in the Eastern Division. See
Doc. No. 5; see also 28 U.S.C. § 84(c)(1)
(stating that the Central District of California, Eastern
Division includes San Bernardino county). Defendant also
contends that “all of the documentary evidence in this
case regarding the incident, investigation and policies and
procedures are located in San Bernardino and Riverside
counties.” See Doc. No. 5.
Defendant argues the interests of justice would be served by
transferring the case because “sources of proof”
such as witnesses and evidence “are almost exclusively
in Lake Elsinore, in ...