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Broadus v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

April 28, 2015

JOYCE BROADUS, Plaintiff,
v.
DELTA AIR LINES, INC., Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 556

For JOYCE BROADUS, Plaintiff: C. ORVILLE LIGHT, LEAD ATTORNEY, EDEN, NC.

For DELTA AIR LINES, INC., Defendant: ADDIE K.S. RIES, SMITH ANDERSON BLOUNT DORSETT MITCHELL & JERNIGAN, L.L.P., RALEIGH, NC; MICHAEL W. MITCHELL, SMITH ANDERSON BLOUNT DORSETT MITCHELL & JERNIGAN, RALEIGH, NC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Thomas D. Schroeder, United States District Judge.

Before the court is the motion of Defendant Delta Air Lines, Inc. (" Delta" ) to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or, in the alternative, to transfer. (Doc. 12.) For the reasons noted below, the motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The allegations of the complaint, as well as statements in the parties' supporting affidavits, taken in the light most favorable to Plaintiff Joyce Broadus, show the following:

Broadus is a sixty-eight year old North Carolina resident, who has lived in Rockingham County for more than twenty years. (Doc. 18 Ex. A (Broadus Aff.) ¶ 1.) On or about October 2, 2012, Broadus purchased a round-trip ticket for a Delta flight from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Pensacola, Florida, with a layover in Atlanta, Georgia. (Doc. 5 (Compl.) ¶ 4; Broadus Aff. ¶ 2.) Delta transported Broadus from Greensboro to Atlanta and provided her wheelchair assistance for the flights. (Compl. ¶ 4.) When Broadus went to board her Delta flight from Atlanta to Pensacola, a Delta employee assisted her, but did so negligently, resulting in injuries to Broadus' knees and back. (Id ¶ ¶ 5--7.) These injuries required surgery, and Broadus has ongoing medical expenses and pain and suffering. (Id. ¶ 7.) The doctors who treated Broadus' injuries maintain their offices in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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(Broadus Aff. ¶ 4.) Broadus has no connections to Atlanta, and it would be an " extreme hardship" for her to litigate there. (Id. ¶ 3.)

Delta is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Atlanta, Georgia (Doc. 17-1 (Adams Decl.) ¶ 3), though it is registered to do business in North Carolina (Broadus Aff. ¶ 5). All of Delta's North Carolina offices and operations are in North Carolina airports. (Id. ¶ 4.) The Delta employee who allegedly provided negligent wheelchair assistance, as well as the Delta employees who attended to Broadus after her fall, are all " stationed" in Atlanta. (Id. ¶ 5.)

In September 2014, Broadus filed a complaint in North Carolina superior court, alleging negligence against Delta. (Doc. 5.) On November 5, 2014, Delta removed the case to this court. (Doc. 1.) After answering, Delta moved to dismiss the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction or, alternatively, for a transfer under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1404(a). (Docs. 12, 16.) Broadus filed an objection 2 (Doc. 18), and Delta ...


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