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Tariff Group, Inc. v. Cheer Athletics, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

December 18, 2019

TARIFF GROUP INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CHEER ATHLETICS INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          DAVID S. CAYER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on “Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1404, ” Doc. 8, filed on October 16, 2019 as well as the parties' associated briefs and exhibits. See Docs. 9-10.

         This matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and is now ripe for consideration.

         Having fully considered the arguments, the record, and the applicable authority, the Court denies Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue as discussed below.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This case involves a five-year commercial lease agreement entered into by the parties in April 2014. Plaintiff alleges Defendant breached the agreement by failing to pay rent and other charges, failing to construct washroom facilities, abandoning the premises, and terminating the lease prior to the end of the term. Defendant filed counterclaims alleging that its actions were justified as a result of Plaintiff's breach of the agreement. The agreement does not contain a forum selection clause. Plaintiff is a Canadian corporation existing under the laws of the state of Washington. Defendant is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of Texas. Plaintiff originally filed suit in Mecklenburg County Superior Court and Defendant removed the case to this Court based upon diversity jurisdiction.

         Defendant has moved pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer this matter to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interests of justice. In support of its Motion, Defendant argues that the case involves two foreign corporations who will both have to travel regardless of the venue. Defendant also maintains that its witnesses are all located in Texas.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a district court may “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, ... transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” The question of transfer under section 1404(a) is committed to the sound discretion of the district court. See Stewart Org. Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988); Brock v. Entre Computer Ctrs., Inc., 933 F.2d 1253, 1257 (4th Cir.1991).

         Under section 1404, the Court must first determine whether the case could have been brought in the transferee district. Venue is proper in a civil action “in the judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1). Defendant is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of Texas. Therefore, venue would be proper in the Northern District of Texas.

         If venue in the transferee court is proper, as it is here, the Court must then consider the following factors in determining whether the matter should be transferred:

(1) the plaintiff's initial choice of forum; (2) the residence of the parties; (3) the relative ease of access of proof; (4) the availability of compulsory process for attendance of witnesses and the costs of obtaining attendance of willing witnesses; (5) the possibility of a view; (6) the enforceability of a judgment, if obtained; (7) the relative advantages and obstacles to a fair trial; (8) other practical problems that make a trial easy, expeditious, and inexpensive; (9) the administrative difficulties of court congestion; (10) the interest in having localized controversies settled at home and the appropriateness in having the trial of a diversity case in a forum that is at home with the state law that must govern the action; and (11) the avoidance of unnecessary problems with conflict of laws.

Scholl v. Sagon RV Supercenter, LLC, 249 F.R.D. 230, 239 (W.D. N.C. 2008). See also Jim Crockett Promotions Inc. v. Action Media Group Inc., 751 F.Supp. 93 (W.D. N.C. 1990). In this case, Defendant has “the burden of persuasion and must show (1) more than a bare balance of convenience in [its] favor and (2) that a transfer does more than merely shift the inconvenience.” Datasouth Computer Corp. v. Three Dimensional Tech. Inc., 719 F.Supp. 446, 451 (W.D. N.C. 1989). Courts should make both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis of the factors. McDevitt & Street Co. v. Fidelity and Deposit Co., 737 F.Supp. 351, 354 (W.D. N.C. 1990).

         A. Plaintiffs' ...


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