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Martinez v. BMW of North America, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 11, 2019

ROLANDO MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER RE: DKT. NOS. 15, 25

          WILLIAM H. ORRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Rolando Martinez initially filed a class action complaint against defendant BMW of North America, LLC in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. After that complaint was dismissed without prejudice for a minor defect in its jurisdictional pleadings, Martinez declined to amend and instead filed anew in Alameda County Superior Court. BMW removed the case to federal court and now moves to transfer it back to the Central District. All of the events giving rise to Martinez's claims arose in the Central District and the interests of justice support a transfer. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant BMW's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 22, 2015, Martinez purchased a used 2012 BMI 750i from a CarMax dealership in San Bernadino County. First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) [Dkt. No. 19] ¶ 32. At that time the car was still covered by California's emissions warranty. Id. ¶ 33. In February 2016, Martinez took his vehicle to Century West BMW, an authorized repair facility. Id. ¶ 34; BMW's Request for Judicial Notice[1] (“RJN”) Ex. A [Dkt. No. 16-1]. Although BMW had paid for earlier repairs, Martinez paid $619.47, plus tax out of pocket for the February 2016 repairs. FAC ¶¶ 34, 36. In October 2016, Martinez returned to Century West BMW for additional work on his vehicle and paid $1, 902.22, plus tax out of pocket. Id. ¶ 37; RJN Ex. B [Dkt. No. 16-2].

         Martinez asserts that BMW should have paid for both of these repair visits under the 7-year 70, 000-mile California emissions warranty. FAC ¶ 38. Specifically, “pursuant to California Code of Regulations section 2037(c), the parts relating to said repairs should have been identified by BMW as high-priced warranted parts, due to the costs associated with the parts and labor relating to diagnosing the failure and replacing said parts.” Id. Martinez brings claims on behalf of a proposed class of owners and lessees of BMW vehicles whom BMW has allegedly injured by failing to identify high-priced warranty parts properly. FAC ¶¶ 50-53.

         On May 31, 2019, Martinez brought suit against BMW in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Oppo. 4. On June 11, 2019, the Hon. Percy Anderson dismissed the complaint sua sponte upon determining that the plaintiff had failed to plead the citizenship of one party in order to invoke jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act. Id.; Mot. 1. Martinez declined to amend and that case was dismissed without prejudice on June 27, 2019. Oppo. 4.

         On July 17, 2019, Martinez initiated this case in Alameda County Superior Court; BMW then removed it to federal court. See Notice of Removal, Ex. A [Dkt. Nos. 1, 1-1]. BMW filed a motion to transfer on October 14, 2019. Motion to Transfer (“Mot.”) [Dkt. No. 15]. As agreed by the parties, Martinez filed an amended complaint on November 12, 2019.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Provided that the action might have been brought in the transferee court, a court may transfer an action to another district: (1) for the convenience of the parties, (2) for the convenience of the witnesses, and (3) in the interest of justice. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); Lee v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. 03-cv-1533-SI, 2003 WL 22159053, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 16, 2003). The Ninth Circuit requires that courts consider a variety of factors in determining whether to transfer an action. See Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000); Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986). The relevant factors are:

(1) plaintiff's choice of forum, (2) convenience of the parties, (3) convenience of the witnesses, (4) ease of access to the evidence, (5) familiarity of each forum with the applicable law, (6) feasibility of consolidation of other claims, (7) any local interest in the controversy, and (8) the relative court congestion and time of trial in each forum.

Barnes & Noble v. LSI Corp., 823 F.Supp.2d 980, 993 (N.D. Cal. 2011) (Chen, J.). The burden is on the party seeking transfer to show that when these factors are applied, the balance of convenience clearly favors transfer. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Savage, 611 F.2d 270, 279 (9th Cir. 1979). It is not enough for a defendant to merely show that it prefers another forum, and transfer will also not be allowed if the result is merely to shift the inconvenience from one party to another. Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 645-46 (1964).

         DISCUSSION

         There is no question that the Central District is a proper venue for Martinez's case against BMW; indeed, Martinez initially filed there.[2] The question before me is whether the convenience factors and the interest of justice favor transfer. Application of the Section 1404(a) factors to the circumstances of this case shows that transfer is appropriate.

         I. ...


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