United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MICHAEL A. HAMMER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for
Retransfer of Venue to the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York or to the Eastern District
of New York, D.E. 42. The Court has considered the motion,
opposition, and applicable law. Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 78, the Undersigned did not hear oral
argument and has considered this matter on the papers. For
the reasons below, the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion
Dae Sub Choi filed this putative class and collective action
in the United States District Court for the Southern District
of New York against various Defendants alleging wage and hour
violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”). See generally Complaint, D.E.
1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants employed him as a sushi
chef from approximately November 2011 through November 2016.
Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff alleges that he was
hired to make sushi products at one or more of
Defendants' locations. Id. Plaintiff is a New
Jersey resident. Id. at ¶ 1. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Sushi Maru Express Corp (“Sushi
Maru”) is a New Jersey corporation with its principal
place of business in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Id. at
¶ 2. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Sushi Nara is a
business entity with its principal place of business in
Ridgefield, New Jersey. Id. at ¶ 3. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Komolo, Inc. is a business entity
located in Elkridge, Maryland which supplies sushi supplies
to the other Defendants. Id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff
alleges that Kevin Kim is a New Jersey resident and managed
labor affairs on behalf of Shushi Maru and Sushi Nara.
Id. at ¶ 5. Plaintiff also alleges that Hak Jae
Lim is a resident of New Jersey and managed labor affairs on
behalf of Sushi Maru and Sushi Nara. Id. at ¶
January 30, 2017, District Judge Swain of the Southern
District of New York ordered Plaintiff to show cause why
venue was proper in the Southern District of New York, and
why the case should not be transferred to the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey or the Eastern
District of New York. Plaintiff filed a response to the Order
to Show Cause on February 8, 2017 [D.E. 17]. Defendants also
filed a response to the Order to Show Cause on February 20,
2017 [D.E. 18]. On February 21, 2017, the Court deemed the
Order to Show Cause satisfied by Plaintiff's response
“without prejudice to motion practice by the Defendant
in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure . .
.” See February 2, 2017 Order, D.E. 19.
Thereafter, Defendants moved to transfer this matter to the
District of New Jersey [D.E. 22] pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1404(a). On July 10, 2017, the Court issued an order
and opinion granting Defendants' motion and transferring
this action to this district. See Order and Opinion,
now seeks to “retransfer” this action to the
Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) or to the
Eastern District of New York (“EDNY”). Since the
filing of the instant motion, Plaintiff also petitioned the
United States Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit for a
writ of mandamus or prohibition to direct the SDNY to vacate
its order transferring this action to the District of New
Jersey. On October 19, 2017, the Second Circuit denied the
petition and dismissed the proceeding “because
[Plaintiff] has not demonstrated that exceptional
circumstances warrant the requested relief.”
See Second Circuit Order, D.E. 51, at 2.
asks this Court to retransfer this case back to the Southern
District of New York but cites to no authority that would
allow this Court to reexamine a decision made by the
transferor court. Indeed, the law of the case doctrine
generally forbids just such a reconsideration. The law of the
case doctrine prevents one district court from reconsidering
issues decided by another district court in the same action.
See In re City of Phila. Litig., 158 F.3d 711, 717
(3d Cir. 1998). This doctrine “prevents courts from
entertaining endless litigation of the same issue and 
promotes finality and judicial economy.” Pub.
Interest Research Group v. Magnesium Elektron, Inc. 123
F.3d 111, 116 (3d Cir. 1997). “A disappointed litigant
should not be given a second opportunity to litigate a matter
that has been fully considered by a court of coordinate
jurisdiction, absent unusual circumstances.” Hayman
Cash Register Co. v. Sarokin, 669 F.2d 162 (3d Cir.
1982). A district court may reconsider a decision that has
become law of the case only upon a showing of unusual
circumstances, which Courts have generally held are limited
(1) where the transferor judge becomes unavailable, thereby
precluding a party from filing a motion for reconsideration;
(2) where new evidence is available; (3) where a supervening
change in law occurs; or (4) where the decision was clearly
erroneous and would work a manifest injustice.
Alexander v. Frankling Res., Inc., Nos. 07-848,
07-1309, 2007 WL 2021787, at *2 (D.N.J. July 9, 2007).
“Adherence to the law of the case principles is even
more important in this context where the transferor judge and
the transferee judge are not members of the same
court.” Hayman, 669 F.2d at 169.
United States Court for Appeals of the Third Circuit applied
this doctrine in Hayman when it reversed the lower
court's decision to retransfer an action. In
Hayman, the District Court for the District of
Columbia transferred an action to the District of New Jersey
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Thereafter, the
District Court in the District of New Jersey found that the
case was improperly transferred because that district did not
have personal jurisdiction over one of the defendants. The
District Court for the District of New Jersey reasoned that
the Supreme Court's decision in Hoffman v.
Blaski, 363 U.S. 335 (1960) allowed the transferee court
to reexamine its personal jurisdiction over the
matter. Accordingly, the court transferred the
matter back to the District of Columbia.
appeal, the Third Circuit reversed the retransfer decision.
The Third Circuit distinguished the facts in Hayman
from those in Blaski, and instructed that
Blaski “should be read to allow a
determination of venue and jurisdiction by the transferee
court only when this determination has not been previously
made by the transferor court.” Hayman, 669
F.2d at 166. The Third Circuit noted that unlike in
Blaski, where the Fifth Circuit made no
determination of venue or jurisdiction, when the District
Court for the District of Columbia transferred the case in
Hayman, it specifically determined that personal
jurisdiction existed in New Jersey. The Third Circuit found
that because the District Court for the District of Columbia
made a specific determination that personal jurisdiction
existed, that decision became the law of the case.
Id. at 166. Therefore, the District Court for the
District of New Jersey was subject to the law of the case
doctrine. The action was remanded back to the District of New
Jersey to determine whether one of the “unusual
circumstances” exceptions to the law of the case
doctrine applied. Id. at 170.
instant matter is similar to Hayman. In this case,
the District Court for the Southern District of New York
explicitly found that venue was proper in the District of New
Jersey pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The July 10,
2017 Opinion and Order transferring this case to the District
of New Jersey concluded that “Defendants have
demonstrated through a clear and convincing showing, that the
interest of justice and convenience to the parties and
witnesses strongly favor transfer of this case to the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey.”
See Order and Opinion, D.E. 39, at 4. Moreover, no
party contests this Court's personal jurisdiction.
Plaintiff claims to be a New Jersey resident, and alleges
that Defendants Sushi Maru Express Corp. and Sushi Nara
maintain their principal places of business in New Jersey,
and that Kevin Kim and Hae Jae Lim ...