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Sashington v. Georgia-Pacific LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

April 12, 2017

ANTWOAN SASHINGTON
v.
GEORGIA-PACIFIC LLC

         SECTION: “J” (5)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          CARL J. BARBIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Transfer Venue (Rec. Doc. 9) filed by Georgia-Pacific LLC (“Defendant”), an opposition thereto filed by Antwoan Sashington (“Plaintiff”) (Rec. Doc. 11), and a reply filed by Defendant (Rec. Doc. 14). Having considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be DENIED.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This case arises from an injury Plaintiff sustained while working at a facility owned by Defendant. Plaintiff alleges that he is a resident of Alabama and was employed by Envirovac Holdings, LLC (“Envirovac”) of McIntosh, Alabama as a general laborer at all times relevant to this litigation. (Rec. Doc. 1 at 1.) He states that on or about January 5, 2017, Envirovac sent him to a facility owned by Defendant in Zachary, Louisiana to perform industrial cleaning services. Id. at 2. Plaintiff alleges that a piece of equipment fell and hit a boiler near where he was working, causing hot ash to blow out of the boiler and cover him. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered severe burning which has and will continue to require extensive medical treatment. Id. at 2-3.

         Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant on January 24, 2017, alleging that the incident was caused by Defendant's negligence. Id. at 2. On March 14, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion to change venue (Rec. Doc. 9), requesting that the Court transfer the action to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana (“Middle District”).

         LEGAL STANDARD AND DISCUSSION

         Defendant requests a transfer to the Middle District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which provides the Court with discretion to transfer any civil action to another district “for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). District courts have broad discretion when making this determination. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 311 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc) (Volkswagen II). The party requesting a venue transfer must make a threshold showing that venue is proper in the transferee venue, and also must show “good cause” for the transfer. Id. at 315 n.10. Good cause exists when the movant demonstrates that the requested venue is “clearly more convenient” than the venue chosen by the plaintiff. Id. at 315. But “when the transferee venue is not clearly more convenient than the venue chosen by the plaintiff, the plaintiff's choice should be respected.” Id.

         Plaintiff does not dispute that this case could have been brought in the Middle District. Accordingly, the relevant inquiry is whether Defendant has demonstrated good cause by establishing that the Middle District is clearly more convenient than the Eastern District. Courts determine the relative convenience of the parties by weighing certain private and public interest factors. Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315 (adopting factors first articulated in Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501 (1949) in the context of forum non conveniens). The private interest factors are:

(1) the relative ease of access to sources of proof;
(2) the availability of compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses;
(3) the cost of attendance for willing witnesses; and
(4) all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.

Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315 (line breaks added). The public interest ...


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