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Ocampo v. Heitech Services, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 22, 2019

HENRY OCAMPO, Plaintiff,
v.
HEITECH SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER RE: DKT. NO. 11

          KANDIS A. WESTMORE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Henry Ocampo brought the instant action against Defendant HeiTech Services, Inc., alleging violations of various California labor laws. (See Compl. ¶ 2, Dkt. No. 1-2.) Pending before the Court is Defendant's motion to transfer to the District Court of Maryland. (Def.'s Mot. to Transfer, Dkt. No. 11.)

         The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-11, and VACATES the hearing. Having considered the parties' filings and the relevant legal authority, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion to transfer.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a California resident who worked for Defendant, a Maryland corporation. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-7.) Defendant assigned Plaintiff to work in San Francisco, California. (Compl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff's duties included capacity building in various Pacific islands to educate minority communities in health and educational issues. (Hackett Decl. ¶ 4, Dkt. No. 11-1.) Plaintiff would use phone and e-mail to communicate with Defendant at its Maryland office. (Hackett Decl. ¶ 4.)

         On July 26, 2018, Plaintiff informed Defendant that he needed to take medical leave due to a disability. (Compl. ¶ 11.) From July 30, 2018 through August 31, 2018, Plaintiff went on approved medical leave. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-14.) On September 2, 2018, Plaintiff began a vacation that had been scheduled two months prior to his medical leave. (Compl. ¶ 14.) On September 14, 2018, Plaintiff returned to work, and provided a medical release stating that he could return to work without restrictions. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Defendant then notified Plaintiff that his employment would be terminated as of September 26, 2018 because the government contract that funded his position was expiring. (Compl. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff alleges, however, that the government contract did not terminate on September 26, 2018, but continued for several months thereafter. (Compl. ¶ 18.)

         On June 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant action in state court, asserting claims of: (1) disability discrimination in violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), (2) retaliation in violation of FEHA, (3) retaliation in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and California Family Rights Act, (4) failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation in violation of FEHA, (5) wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and (6) waiting time penalties per California Labor Code § 203. (Compl. at 1.) On July 19, 2019, Defendant removed the case on the basis of federal question and diversity jurisdiction. (Not. of Removal ¶¶ 3-4, Dkt. No. 1.)

         On September 3, 2019, Defendant moved to transfer venue. On September 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed his opposition, as well as a request for judicial notice. (Pl.'s Opp'n, Dkt. No. 12; Pl.'s Request for Judicial Notice (“RJN”), Dkt. No. 13.) On September 24, 2019, Defendant filed its reply. (Def.'s Reply, Dkt. No. 14.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Request for Judicial Notice

         A district court may take judicial notice of facts not subject to reasonable dispute that are “capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); United States v. Bernal-Obeso, 989 F.2d 331, 333 (9th Cir. 1993). A court may, therefore, take judicial notice of matters of public record. United States v. Wilson, 631 F.2d 118, 119 (9th Cir. 1980).

         B. Motion to Transfer Venue

         Generally, “[a] district court has discretion to decline to exercise jurisdiction in a case where litigation in a foreign forum would be more convenient for the parties.” Lueck v. Sundstrand Corp., 236 F.3d 1137, 1142 (9th Cir. 2001). The party moving to dismiss based on forum non conveniens has the burden of showing that there is an adequate alternative forum and that the balance of private and public interest factors favors dismissal. Id. at 1142-43. “A plaintiff's choice of forum will not be disturbed unless the private and public interest factors strongly favor trial in the foreign [forum].” Dardengo v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc. (In re Air Crash Over the Midatlantic), 792 F.Supp.2d 1090, 1094 (N.D. Cal. 2011).

Factors relating to the parties' private interests include relative ease of access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling, and the cost of obtaining attendance of willing, witnesses; possibility of view of premises, if view would be appropriate to the action; and all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive. Public-interest factors may include the administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion; the local interest in having localized controversies decided at home; [and] the interest in ...

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