Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rafeh v. Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group, Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 12, 2019

HADIA RAFEH; and RICHARD PLATA, Plaintiff,
v.
GOLD STAR MORTGAGE FINANCIAL GROUP, CORP.; and DOES 1 through 25, inclusive, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE [10]

          OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Presently before the Court is Defendant Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group, Corp.'s Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, Transfer Venue (“Motion”). (ECF No. 10.) For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.[1]

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On October 31, 2018, Plaintiffs Hadia Rafeh (“Rafeh”) and Richard Plata (“Plata”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed their Complaint against Defendant Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group, Corp. in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. (Notice of Removal Ex. A (“Compl.”), ECF No. 1-2.) On January 8, 2019, Defendant removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal ¶ 3, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiffs' Complaint alleges twelve causes of action based on various California state laws related to Defendant's categorization of Plaintiffs as exempt employees of Defendant. (Compl. ¶¶ 15, 32-129.)

         Plata worked for Defendant as a branch manager from approximately November 2015 until his termination on October 31, 2017. (Compl. ¶ 6.) Rafeh also worked for Defendant as a branch manager from approximately February 2016 until her termination on October 31, 2017. (Compl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiffs both worked at Defendant's Palmdale, California branch. (Compl. ¶ 9.) As part of Plaintiffs' employment with Defendant, Plaintiffs each signed an employment agreement. (Decl. of Traci Haynes (“Haynes Decl.”) Exs. B, D (collectively, “Employment Agreement”), ECF Nos. 10-3, 10-5.) Defendant sent the Employment Agreement to Plaintiffs via email. (Decl. of Richard Plata (“Plata Decl.”) ¶ 5, ECF No. 13-2; Decl. of Hadia Rafeh (“Rafeh Decl.”) ¶ 5, ECF No. 13-3.) The Employment Agreement contained a section labeled “Governing Law, ” which provides:

This Agreement shall be construed in all respects in accordance with the laws of the State of Michigan. Any dispute arising out of the employment relationship shall be heard in a court of competent jurisdiction in Washtenaw County, Michigan or if federal court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

(Employment Agreement 6.)

         Plata signed the Employment Agreement on October 27, 2015. (Haynes Decl. Ex. D, at 6.) Rafeh signed the Employment Agreement on January 6, 2016. (Haynes Decl. Ex. B, at 6.)[2]

         On January 15, 2019, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint, or alternatively, transfer venue to the Eastern District of Michigan. (See generally Mot.) As transfer is proper based on the forum selection clause, the Court will not address whether dismissal is proper based on the same clause.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         “Forum-selection clauses . . . are prima facie valid and should be enforced unless enforcement is shown by the resisting party to be ‘unreasonable' under the circumstances.” M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 9-10 (1972). “The party challenging the clause bears a heavy burden of proof and must clearly show that enforcement would be unreasonable and unjust. . . .” Murphy v. Schneider Nat'l, Inc., 362 F.3d 1133, 1140 (9th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted). Courts have recognized three reasons why enforcement of a forum selection clause would be unreasonable:

[F]irst, if the inclusion of the clause in the agreement was the product of fraud or overreaching; second, if the party wishing to repudiate the clause would effectively be deprived of his day in court were the clause enforced; and third, if enforcement would contravene a strong public policy of the forum in which suit is brought.

Richards v. Lloyd's of London, 135 F.3d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1998) (internal quotation ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.