United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Sir filed this action against Diagnostica Stago, Inc.
(“Diagnostica Stago”) asserting claims for
hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e et seq. (“Title VII”). Before the
Court is Diagnostica Stago's Motion to Transfer Venue
(Doc. No. 7) to the District of New Jersey on the basis of
forum non conveniens. Plaintiff filed a response.
(Doc. No. 12.) For the following reasons, this motion will be
Tennessee resident, interviewed for a job with Diagnostica
Stago in Parsippany, New Jersey on September 8, 2009, and
began her employment with Diagnostica Stago on September 28,
2009. (Doc. No. 8-1, Townsend Declaration, at 1.) On
September 29, 2009, Sir signed a Confidentiality Agreement in
which she agreed not to disclose proprietary information and
consented to personal jurisdiction in New Jersey for actions
relating to that agreement. (Id. at 8.)
worked remotely in Diagnostica Stago's Southeast
territory as a Telesales Representative. (Id. at 1.)
She alleges that a coworker sexually harassed throughout her
employment, and that she reported her coworker's behavior
to human resources in April 2015. (Doc. No. 1 at 2-3.) That
same month, Sir's manager put her on a 90-day performance
improvement plan (“PIP”). (Id. at 3.) On
July 7, 2015, Diagnostica Stago terminated Sir's
the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to
any other district or division where it might have been
brought or to any district or division to which all parties
have consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Under
section 1404(a), “district courts have ‘broad
discretion' to determine when party
‘convenience' or ‘the interest of
justice' make a transfer appropriate.” Reese v.
CNH Am. LLC, 574 F.3d 315, 320 (6th Cir. 2009). The
moving party has the burden of proving that “the
relevant factors weigh strongly in favor of transfer.”
Winnett v. Caterpillar Inc., No. 3:06-cv-00234, 2006
WL 1722434, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. June 20, 2006) (citing Van
Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 645-46 (1964)).
first step when analyzing a motion to transfer is ensuring
that the case originally “might have been
brought” in the proposed alternative venue.
Id. (citing Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 645-46).
Here, parties do not dispute that venue is proper in this
Court and the District of New Jersey.
determine the more convenient forum, the Court “should
consider the private interests of the parties, including
their convenience and the convenience of potential witnesses,
as well as other public-interest concerns, such as systemic
integrity and fairness, which come under the rubric of
‘interests of justice.'” Moore v. Rohm
& Haas Co., 446 F.3d 643, 647 n.1 (6th Cir. 2006)
(citing Moses v. Bus. Card Express, Inc., 929 F.2d
1131, 1137 (6th Cir. 1991)).
Sir's Choice of Forum
plaintiff's choice of forum is given significant
consideration when balancing these factors, particularly
where the plaintiff brings claims under Title VII. Smith
v. Kyphon, Inc., 578 F.Supp.2d 954, 961-62 (M.D. Tenn.
2008) (finding that Title VII's venue provision
“embodies a public policy determination that Title VII
plaintiffs should have a choice of where to bring
suit”) (discussing Thomas v. Rehab. Servs. of
Columbus, Inc., 45 F.Supp.2d 1375 (M.D. Ga. 1999)).
forum selection clauses are enforced through § 1404(a)
transfer and typically given controlling weight. Atlantic
Marine Const. v. U.S. Dist. Ct., 134 S.Ct. 568, 579
(2013). Diagnostica Stago concedes, however, that the forum
selection clause in the Confidentiality Agreement does not
govern here due to the nature of this action. (Doc. No. 8 at
7.) Diagnostica Stago nonetheless contends that the forum
selection clause in the Confidentiality Agreement
“evinces [Sir's] willingness to accept the
requested jurisdiction and venue in Federal Court in New
Jersey.” (Doc. No. 8 at 7.) The Court does not consider
the forum selection clause in the Confidentiality Agreement
to weigh in favor of transfer. The Court will give weight to
Sir's choice of forum.
Private Interest Factors
factors include ‘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; and all other practical problems that make trial
of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.'”
Hefferan v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., 828 F.3d 488,
498 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Gulf Oil Corp. v.
Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508 (1947)). The number and
location of non-party witnesses are also weighed more heavily
than those of party witnesses. Dan&# ...