United States District Court, E.D. California
JUAN TREVINO, ROMEO PALMA, JUAN C. AVALOS, ALBERTO GIANINI, CHRISTOPHER WARD, and LINDA QUINTEROS, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
GOLDEN STATE FC, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, AMAZON.COM INC., a Delaware Corporation, and AMAZON FULFILLMENT SERVICES, INC., a Delaware Corporation, Defendants.
Member Case Nos.: 1. 1:18-cv-00121-DAD-BAM (Palma), 2.
1:18-cv-00567-DAD-BAM (Avalos), 3. 1:18-cv-01176-DAD-BAM
(Hagman), 4. 1:17-cv-01300-DAD-BAM (Ward)
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TRANSFER
VENUE (DOC. NO. 72)
matter is before the court on defendants Golden State FC,
LLC, Amazon.com, Inc., and Amazon Fulfillment Services,
Inc.'s (collectively, “Amazon”) motion to
transfer this consolidated action to the United States
District Court for the Central District of California. (Doc.
No. 72.) The court deemed the motion suitable for decision
without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). (Doc.
No. 79.) Having considered the parties' briefs, and for
the reasons stated below, the court will deny Amazon's
motion to transfer.
consolidated action consists of five separately filed class
actions which were initially filed in state courts located
within the boundaries of the United States District Court for
either the Eastern or Central Districts of California and
thereafter removed to those federal courts. Three of the five
cases (Trevino, Ward, and Palma)
were filed within the Eastern District of California, and the
remaining two (Avalos and
Hagman) were originally filed within the Central
District of California. (Doc. No. 72 at 9-10.) Each of these
actions was filed as a class action and each asserted similar
wage and hour violations against Amazon. (Id.)
January 8, 2018, plaintiff Juan Trevino filed a notice of
related cases, seeking to relate Trevino,
Ward, and Palma. (Doc. No. 10.) On January
24, 2018, the undersigned issued an order relating the
Trevino, Ward, and Palma cases.
(Doc. No. 11.)
April 23, 2018, the parties in Avalos filed a
stipulation seeking to transfer that case to this district
and, on August 29, 2018, the parties in Hagman filed
a stipulation seeking to transfer that case to this district.
(Doc. No. 72 at 10-11.) Both stipulations were adopted by
court order and the Avalos and Hagman
actions were thereafter assigned to this court. (Id.
February 25, 2019, the parties in each of the five
aforementioned actions stipulated to consolidating those
actions. (Doc. No. 53.) That stipulation was adopted by court
order and Trevino was designated as the lead case.
(Doc. No. 54.) On March 28, 2019, plaintiffs filed a first
amended consolidated class action complaint. (Doc. No. 65.)
Therein, they allege the following wage and hour violations:
(1) failure to pay wages for all hours worked, including
overtime; (2) meal period violations; (3) rest period
violations; (4) wage statement violations; (5) failure to pay
waiting time wages; and (6) violations of California Business
and Professions Code. (See id.)
April 23, 2019, the parties participated in a joint
scheduling conference before Magistrate Judge Barbara A.
McAuliffe. (Doc. No. 68.) During this scheduling conference,
“Magistrate Judge McAuliffe informed the parties that
the Chief Judge of the Eastern District would be
retiring at the end of 2019, leaving [the
undersigned] as the only remaining district court judge in
the Fresno [Courthouse].” (Doc. No. 72 at 11.)
6, 2019, twenty-seven named plaintiffs filed a separate wage
and hour class action in Orange County Superior Court against
Amazon.com Services, Inc. and, on July 5, 2019, that action
was removed to the Central District of California (the
“Sherman action”). (Doc. No. 72 at
11-12); see also Sherman et al v. Amazon.com Services,
Inc., 8:19-cv-01329-JVS-SHK, (C.D. Cal. July 5, 2019).
5, 2019, Amazon filed the pending motion to transfer. (Doc.
No. 72.) Therein, Amazon seeks to transfer this consolidated
action back to the Central District of California. First,
Amazon argues that the original purpose of transferring the
Avalos and Hagman actions to this district
has been frustrated by “[t]he impending retirement of
the Chief Judge, ” which “was unknown and
unforeseen at the time the parties stipulated to
transfer[ring] and consolidat[ing] all related cases in the
Eastern District.” (Id. at 12.) Second, it
contends that transfer is warranted because the
Sherman class action asserts claims that overlap
with those asserted in this consolidated class action.
(Id. at 16.) Finally, Amazon argues that this action
meets all the requirements for transfer under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a) and that the parties will not be prejudiced by
the transfer. (Id. at 17-22.) On August 6, 2019,
plaintiffs filed their opposition to the pending motion and,
on August 13, 2019, Amazon filed its reply thereto. (Doc. No.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), “a district court may
transfer any civil action to any other district or division
where it might have been brought” for the convenience
of parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice.
“[T]he purpose of [§ 1404(a)] is to prevent the
waste of time, energy and money and to protect litigants,
witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience
and expense.” Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S.
612, 616 (1964) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). “Section 1404(a) is intended to place
discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions for
transfer according to an ‘individualized, case-by-case
consideration of convenience and fairness.'”
Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29
(1988) (quoting Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 622).
courts employ a two-step analysis when determining whether to
transfer an action. Robert Bosch Healthcare Sys., Inc. v.
Cardiocom, LLC, No. C-14-1575 EMC, 2014 WL 2702894, at
*3 (N.D. Cal. June 13, 2014). “A court must first
consider the threshold question of whether the case could
have been brought in the forum to which the moving party
seeks to transfer the case.” Park v. Dole Fresh
Vegetables, Inc., 964 F.Supp.2d 1088, 1093 (N.D. Cal.
2013); see also Hatch v. Reliance Ins. Co., 758 F.2d
409, 414 (9th Cir. 1985) (“In determining whether an
action ‘might have been brought' in a district, the
court looks to whether the action initially could have been
commenced in that district.”) “Once the party
seeking transfer has made this showing, district courts have
discretion to consider motions to change venue based on an
‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of
convenience and fairness.'” Park, 964
F.Supp.2d at 1093 (quoting Stewart Org., 487 U.S. at
29). The burden is on the moving party to show that transfer
is appropriate. Commodity Futures Trading Comm 'n v.
Savage, 611 F.2d 270, 279 (9th Cir. 1979.)
motion to transfer venue under § 1404(a) requires the
court to weigh multiple factors in its determination whether
transfer is appropriate in a particular case.”
Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc.,211 F.3d 495, 498
(9th Cir. 2000). These factors include: “(1) the
location where the relevant agreements were negotiated and
executed, (2) the state that is most familiar with the
governing law, (3) the plaintiffs choice of forum, (4) the
respective parties' contacts with the forum, (5) the
contacts relating to the plaintiffs 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 proof.”
Id. at 489-99. Moreover, while “§ 1404(a)
transfers are different than dismissals on the ground of
forum non conveniens, ” Piper Aircraft Co.
v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 253 (1981), the Ninth Circuit
has found that “forum non conveniens
considerations are helpful in deciding a § 1404 transfer
motion, ” Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison
Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986), superseded
by statute on other grounds by 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
Accordingly, a district court can consider private and public
factors affecting the convenience of the forum. Id.
The private factors include “the ‘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.'” Id.
(quoting Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501,
508 (1947)). The public factors include “the
administrative difficulties flowing ...