Kaloghlian v. Best Buy Stores, LP, No. 3:2008cv04171 - Document 23 (N.D. Cal. 2008)

Court Description: Amended ORDER Granting Motion to Transfer Venue with Corrected Signature Date of 11/12/08. (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/12/2008)
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Kaloghlian v. Best Buy Stores, LP Doc. 23 1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 16 MANUEL S. KALOGHLIAN, individually ) ) and on behalf of all others ) similarly situated, ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) BEST BUY STORES, L.P., a Virginia ) ) Limited Partnership, and DOE ONE ) through and including DOE ONE) HUNDRED, ) ) Defendant. ) ) 17 I. 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 Case No. 08-4171 SC ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE INTRODUCTION This matter comes before the Court on the Motion to Transfer 19 Venue ("Motion") filed by the defendant Best Buy Stores, L.P. 20 ("Defendant" or "Best Buy"). 21 S. Kaloghlian ("Plaintiff") filed an Opposition and Defendant 22 submitted a Reply. 23 reasons, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED. Docket No. 11. Docket Nos. 17, 19. The plaintiff Manuel For the following 24 25 26 II. BACKGROUND According to the First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Plaintiff 27 worked at Best Buy from November 2004, until he was terminated on 28 April 18, 2008. FAC, Docket No. 16, ¶ 14. During this time, Dockets.Justia.com 1 Plaintiff worked only at Best Buy's Burbank store, located in the 2 County of Los Angeles. 3 of June 28, 2008, Plaintiff still was living in the Central 4 District. 5 alleging various claims, including violations of California Labor 6 Code §§ 203, 204, 226(a) and 226(c). 7 arguing that the case belongs in the Central District of 8 California rather than in this Court. FAC Ex. 2. Id.; Bonura Decl., Docket No. 13, ¶ 8. As Plaintiff filed the present class action Best Buy filed its Motion 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 III. LEGAL STANDARD "For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the 12 interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil 13 matter to any other district or division where it might have been 14 brought." 15 "prevent the waste of time, energy, and money and to protect 16 litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary 17 inconvenience and expense." 18 616 (1964) (internal quotation marks omitted). 19 transfer lies within the broad discretion of the district court, 20 and must be determined on an individualized basis." 21 Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. C 07-4928, 2007 WL 4410408, at *1 22 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2007) (relying on Jones v. GNC Franchising, 23 Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000)). 24 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The purpose of § 1404(a) is to Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, "A motion for Foster v. To support a motion for transfer, the moving party must 25 establish that venue is proper in the transferor district, the 26 transferee district is one where the action might have been 27 brought, and the transfer will serve the convenience of the 28 2 1 parties and witnesses and will promote the interests of justice. 2 Foster, 2007 WL 4410408, at *2. 3 courts look to the following factors: (1) plaintiff's choice of 4 forum; (2) convenience of the parties and witnesses; (3) ease of 5 access to the evidence; (4) familiarity of each forum with the 6 applicable law; (5) feasibility of consolidation with other 7 claims; (6) any local interest in the controversy; and (7) the 8 relative court congestion and time of trial in each forum. In determining these issues, Id. 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 IV. DISCUSSION A. 12 13 Whether Action Could Have Been Brought in Central District It is uncontested that Plaintiff could have filed his action 14 in the Central District. 15 County, which is in the Central District, and the alleged acts or 16 omissions by Best Buy in relation to Plaintiff occurred in the 17 Central District. 18 employment with Defendant, Kaloghlian was systematically deprived 19 of wage statements that comply with the requirements of section 20 226 of the California Labor Code"). 21 would also exist in the Central District, as diversity 22 jurisdiction would be unaffected by the proposed transfer. 23 Finally, venue in the Central District is proper as both Best Buy 24 and Plaintiff are residents of that district. Plaintiff is a resident of Los Angeles See, e.g., FAC ¶ 14 (stating "[d]uring his Subject matter jurisdiction 28 U.S.C. § 1391. 25 B. 26 In general, a plaintiff's choice of forum carries substantial 27 28 Plaintiff's Choice of Forum weight in a motion to transfer venue. 3 Foster, 2007 WL 4410408, at 1 *2; Flint v. UGS Corp., No. C 07-4640, 2007 WL 4365481, at *3 2 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 12, 2007). 3 plaintiff's choice of forum is often accorded less weight. 4 Lou v. Belzberg, 834 F.2d 730, 739 (9th Cir. 1987) (stating that 5 "[a]lthough great weight is generally accorded plaintiff's choice 6 of forum, . . . when an individual . . . represents a class, the 7 named plaintiff's choice of forum is given less weight"). 8 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 9 In class actions, however, a See In the present case, Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of "all natural persons who were tendered a check for services 10 performed for Defendant Best Buy in California during the period 11 beginning August 29, 2004, to the filing of [the] motion for class 12 certification in this case." 13 represent a class, his choice of forum is accorded less weight. 14 Lou, 834 F.2d at 739; see also Koster v. (Am.) Lumbermens Mut. 15 Cas. Co., 330 U.S. 518 (1947) (stating "where there are hundreds 16 of potential plaintiffs, all equally entitled voluntarily to 17 invest themselves with the corporation's cause of action and all 18 of whom could with equal show of right go into their many home 19 courts, the claim of any one plaintiff that a forum is appropriate 20 merely because it is his home forum is considerably weakened"); 21 Italian Colors Rest. v. Am. Express, No. C 03-3719, 2003 WL 22 22682482, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 10, 2003) (stating that one of the 23 factors weighing against consideration of plaintiffs' choice of 24 forum was the fact that plaintiffs had brought the case as a class 25 action). 26 27 28 FAC ¶ 30. As Plaintiff seeks to In addition, "[i]n judging the weight to be accorded [the plaintiff's] choice of forum, consideration must be given to the 4 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 1 extent of [the parties'] contacts with the forum, including those 2 relating to [the plaintiff's] cause of action." 3 has alleged any contacts with the Northern District, the Court is 4 unable to find them. 5 employment with Best Buy was in Los Angeles County. 6 Moreover, as of June 28, 2008, Plaintiff was still living in the 7 Central District. Id. If Plaintiff As Plaintiff himself alleges, his entire FAC ¶ 14. FAC Ex. 2. 8 Rather than concentrating on his contacts with this forum, 9 Plaintiff, perhaps because he has none, instead focuses on Best 10 Buy's contacts with the Northern District. 11 alleges that Best Buy has a number stores in Northern California. 12 FAC ¶ 2. 13 is largely irrelevant. 14 the operative facts have not occurred within the forum and the 15 forum has no interest in the parties or the subject matter, [the 16 plaintiff's] choice is entitled to only minimal consideration"). 17 For example, Plaintiff Whether Best Buy has stores in this district, however, See Lou, 834 F.2d at 739 (stating "[i]f Plaintiff also argues extensively that because another class 18 action, Kurihara v. Best Buy Co., Inc., Case No. 06-1884, is 19 currently being litigated in this district, Plaintiff's action 20 should remain here. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Plaintiff states: Plaintiff is a class member and claimant in the Kurihara action pending in the Northern District of California. Plaintiff has already subjected himself to the jurisdiction of the Northern District. As already discussed, the proposed settlement release in Kurihara is so broad and overreaching that it would extinguish all California Labor Code claims for nearly 50,000 current and former Best Buy employees. . . . Shortly, Kaloghlian will also file a If motion to intervene in Kurihara. 5 granted by Judge Patel, Plaintiff will be a party in Kurihara pending in the Northern District. This Court should defer its ruling on the transfer motion until the Kurihara matter is resolved. 1 2 3 4 Opp'n at 5-6. Plaintiff's argument lacks merit. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 5 Plaintiff already sought 6 to relate his case to Kurihara and Judge Patel, as Plaintiff 7 concedes, denied this motion. 8 A. 9 Kurihara will preclude him from asserting his own claims, surely See Eisen Decl., Docket No. 12, Ex. Moreover, if Plaintiff is concerned that resolution of 10 Plaintiff may opt out of the class settlement in Kurihara. 11 Court can find no reason why the fact that Kurihara is located in 12 this district would have any impact on Plaintiff's choice of 13 forum. 14 The Finally, "[w]here plaintiff's choice of forum is a district 15 other than one in which he resides, his choice may be given 16 considerably less weight." 17 Case No. 04-0883, 2004 WL 2254556, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 5, 2004). 18 It is undisputed that Plaintiff, as of July 2008, was living 19 within Los Angeles County. 20 and the relevant caselaw, the Court finds that Plaintiff's choice 21 of forum is entitled little, if any deference. Strigliabotti v. Franklin Res., Inc., In light of Plaintiff's allegations 22 C. Convenience of Parties and Witnesses 23 "In analyzing whether transfer of a case would serve the 24 convenience of the witnesses, the Court must look at who the 25 witnesses are, the nature of what the testimony will be, and why 26 such testimony is relevant or necessary." 27 at *4. 28 6 Flint, 2007 WL 4365481, United States District Court For the Northern District of California 1 Plaintiff, as a resident of the Central District, has failed 2 to present any reasons why litigating his case in the Northern 3 District would be more convenient for him. 4 other hand, has presented evidence that many of the potential 5 witnesses reside in the Central District. 6 Human Resources Manager, the District Human Resources Manager, a 7 Car Electronics Supervisor, an Operations Services Specialist, and 8 an Administrative Assistant, all of whom would have information 9 relevant to Plaintiff's employment with, and suspension and Defendant, on the For example, Best Buy's 10 termination by, Best Buy, are located in the County of Los 11 Angeles. 12 finds that the convenience of the parties and witnesses 13 substantially favors transfer to the Central District of 14 California. Lizardo Decl., Docket No. 14, ¶ 7. The Court therefore 15 D. Ease of Access to the Evidence 16 "Documents pertaining to defendants' business practices are 17 most likely to be found at their personal place of business." 18 Italian Colors Rest., 2003 WL 22682482, at *5. 19 presented evidence that Plaintiff's personnel file was stored at 20 the Burbank store location during Plaintiff's employment. 21 Decl. ¶ 8. 22 of Plaintiff's file, Defendant has presented evidence that Best 23 Buy has more than twice as many stores in the Central District as 24 it does in the Northern District. 25 Best Buy store in California houses the personnel files for its 26 non-exempt employees. 27 certifying a class, it would appear that a majority of the 28 Defendant has Bonura Although neither party addresses the current location Id. Id. ¶ 6. Furthermore, each Thus, if Plaintiff succeeds in 7 1 evidence will be in the Central District. 2 E. Remaining Factors 3 The remaining factors - the familiarity of each forum with 4 the applicable law, the feasibility of consolidation with other 5 claims, any local interest in the controversy, and the relative 6 court congestion and time of trial in each forum - are either 7 neutral or weigh in favor of transfer. 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 V. CONCLUSION Mindful that "[l]itigation should proceed where the case 11 finds its center of gravity," the Court finds that the Central 12 District of California is a more appropriate venue for Plaintiff's 13 action. 14 WL 890862, at *3 (N.D. Cal. June 28, 2000) (internal quotation 15 marks omitted). 16 GRANTED. 17 and must be renoticed in the United States District Court for the 18 Central District of California. 19 to the clerk in that district pursuant to Civil Local Rule 3-14. Hoefer v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Case No. 00-0918, 2000 Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue is therefore Any matters presently scheduled for hearing are VACATED The clerk shall transmit the file 20 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 Dated: November 12, 2008 25 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 26 27 28 8