United States District Court, D. New Jersey
FALK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon sua sponte review
of the record. On January 21, 2019, the Court gave the
parties notice and directed briefing on whether this case
should be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Order
to Show Cause, CM/ECF No. 104. The Court has jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and decides the matter without
oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); L. Civ. R. 78.1(b). For
the reasons set forth below, this Court transfers this case
to the United States District Court for the Southern District
of New York.
an age discrimination case originally brought under the New
Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). On
January 29, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff Tiho Marinac
leave to file an amended complaint to add age discrimination
claims under New York State and New York City Human Rights
Law. Opinion, CM/ECF No. 102. This amendment was based on the
unanimous representation that Plaintiff was employed in New
York. When considering Plaintiff's motion to amend, the
Court questioned whether this case was proceeding in the most
appropriate judicial district. Order at 1. Specifically, both
parties took the position that Plaintiff lived and worked in
New York and the case was governed by New York
anti-discrimination laws (although Plaintiff has thus far
maintained his NJLAD claim as an alternative pleading). The
Court thus ordered the parties to brief whether this case
should be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Id. at 2. The parties responded; both opposed
transfer. Defs.' Ltr., CM/ECF No. 111; Pl.'s Ltr.,
CM/ECF No. 112.
matter is ripe for disposition after the District Court, on
April 22, 2019, denied Defendant Mondelez International
Holdings' appeal of this Court's decision granting
Plaintiff leave to amend. District Court Opinion & Order,
CM/ECF Nos. 120- 21.
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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). “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); Weichert Real Estate Affiliates,
Inc. v. CKM16, Inc., 2018 WL 652331, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan.
31, 2018). Once proper venue is established, the decision
whether to transfer falls in the sound discretion of the
trial court. Kane, 2018 WL 6168085, at *2.
sides contend the case should remain in New Jersey.
Defendants argue this Court is best positioned to adjudicate
the New Jersey and New York age discrimination claims because
Plaintiff chose this forum and the case has been here for
some time. Defs.' Ltr. at 1. Plaintiff is a citizen and
resident of New York, acknowledges working for Defendant in
New York, and concedes venue is appropriate in the Southern
District of New York. Nevertheless, Plaintiff still contends
his choice of an arguably improper forum should prevail.
Pl.'s Ltr. at 1. However, a review of the record and
governing case law supports transfer to the Southern District
of New York. See Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55
F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995) (court balances private and
public interest factors to determine whether litigation would
more conveniently proceed and interests of justice would be
better served by transfer).
private interest factors, other than Plaintiff's forum
choice, were not materially addressed by the parties,
probably due to the proximity of the two districts. The Court
primarily bases its decision on two of the public interest
factors, as set forth below, which override Plaintiff's
choice of forum.
connection to New York is compelling and thus New York has a
strong public interest in the litigation. Plaintiff is a New
York resident and worked from his home in New York City. Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 5, 10, ECF No. 108. Therefore, any
dispute stemming from his employment more properly belongs in
New York. Any possible doubt as to the location where
Plaintiff worked is dispelled by Defendants' unequivocal
statements in motion briefing filed with this Court:
[ ] “at all times relevant to the complaint [Plaintiff]
was employed . . . in New York” (CM/ECF No. 73 at 12.)
[ ] “Plaintiff was unequivocally advised of . . . the
fact that he was not employed . . . in New Jersey, but rather
in New York” (Id. at 23.)
[ ] “unemployment insurance taxes were paid in the
state in which [Plaintiff] work[ed] - New ...