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Brandler v. Rose

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 23, 2019

NANCY BRANDLER, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN MICHAEL ROSE, et al. Defendants.

          OPINION

          WILLTOW. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Nancy Brandler ("Plaintiff) brings this negligence action for injuries she suffered while being transported from Defendant Baywood Hotels, Inc. i/p/a Marriot Springhill Suites Hotel's ("Defendant's")[1] Jacksonville, Florida property to the local airport. The matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to transfer to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. ECF No. 6. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the Complaint, Plaintiff stayed at Defendant's hotel during a 2018 vacation in Jacksonville, Florida. Compl. at 4, ECF No. 1. Defendant contracted with Metro Executive Transportation of Jax, LLC ("Metro"), a Florida corporation, to provide an airport shuttle service. Id. at 3-4. Metro's employee, Steven Michael Rose, drove Plaintiff from Defendant's hotel to the Jacksonville airport on April 26, 2018. Id. at 5. Rose purportedly fell asleep while driving, causing the vehicle to strike a tree, thus injuring Plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff filed this negligence suit against Defendant, Metro, and Rose. After "amicably adjust[ing the matter] by and between" Plaintiff, Rose, and Metro, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed Metro and Rose from the case. Stip. of Dismissal, ECF No. 2. Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to transfer the matter to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).[2]

         II. DISCUSSION

         Under 28 U.S.C. 1404(a), "[f]or 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." "Therefore, in deciding a motion to transfer, the Court must first determine whether the alternative forum is a proper venue." Kane v. Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings, Inc., 18-cv-3475, 2018 WL 6168085, at *2-3 (D.N.J. Nov. 26, 2018).

         A. Venue in the Middle District of Florida

         Defendant proposes the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida as the alternative venue, asserting the suit could have been brought there. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391, venue is proper in "a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated."

         Here, the parties agree the accident giving rise to this suit occurred in Jacksonville, Florida, located in Defendant's proposed alternative forum. Therefore, the Middle District of Florida is a proper venue. See id.

         B. The Section 1404(a) Factors

Once proper venue is established, the decision whether to transfer falls in the sound discretion of the trial court. However, the burden of establishing the need for transfer rests with the movant. In exercising its discretion and ruling on this motion, a court applies a balancing test that takes into account the three factors enumerated in Section 1404(a): (1) the convenience of the parties; (2) the convenience of the witnesses; and (3) the interests of justice.. . . The first two factors have been refined into a non-exhaustive list of private and public interest factors for a court examine and balance.

Kane, 2018 WL 6168085, at *2-3 (cleaned up).

         1. Pr ...


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