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Rodriguez-Cayro v. Rrodriguez-Cayro

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

October 3, 2019

KYLI RODRIGUEZ-CAYRO, Plaintiff,
v.
NARCISO ALEJANDRO RODRIGUEZ-CAYRO, Defendant.

          Howard C. Nielson, Jr. District Judge

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE

          PAUL M. WARNER CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         District Judge Howard C. Nielson, Jr., referred this matter to Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).[1] Before the court is Defendant Narciso Alejandro Rodriguez-Cayro's (“Defendant”) Motion to Transfer Venue.[2] Pursuant to DUCivR 7-1(f), the court elects to determine the present motion on the basis of the written memoranda and finds that oral argument would not be helpful or necessary. Having reviewed the parties' briefs and the relevant law, the court renders the following Memorandum Decision and Order.[3]

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro (“Plaintiff”) is a resident of Utah. Defendant is Plaintiff's father and resides in Pennsylvania. On June 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Defendant in the Third Judicial District Court of Utah alleging Defendant committed multiple acts of sexual abuse against her throughout her childhood and adolescent years in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, and Utah.[4] In April 2011, Plaintiff's parents entered her into a residential treatment facility in Utah where she resided until July 2012.[5] Plaintiff alleges Defendant committed two acts of child sexual molestation against her in Utah during this time period.[6]

         On August 14, 2017, Defendant moved to dismiss the claims for lack of personal jurisdiction.[7] On November 9, 2017, the Third District Court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss in its entirety and held that “the tortious acts plaintiff alleges occurred in states other than Utah are related to the tortious acts [Pl]aintiff alleges happened in Utah, ” and therefore, Utah's exercise of personal jurisdiction over Defendant is proper.[8]

         On November 14, 2017, Defendant removed the case to this court.[9]

         Subsequently, Defendant motioned for the court to transfer this case to the Middle District of Pennsylvania.[10] Defendant alleges that the Middle District of Pennsylvania is the more convenient forum because: (1) the majority of purported abuse occurred in Pennsylvania; (2) the primary witnesses are located in Pennsylvania or within the compulsory power of the Middle District of Pennsylvania; (3) costs of making the necessary proof are lower in Pennsylvania; (4) obstacles to receiving a fair trial in Utah; and (5) advantage of having a local court determine questions of local law.[11]

         Plaintiff counters that her choice of forum should remain undisturbed because Defendant has failed to meet his burden to demonstrate the balance of relevant factors tips strongly in favor of transfer.[12] Plaintiff argues that the incidents of abuse that occurred in Utah are part of an ongoing series of abuse which occurred in other states.[13] Additionally, Plaintiff contends Defendant has not demonstrated the quality and materiality of the testimony his witnesses will provide.[14]

         DISCUSSION

         Pursuant to 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 . . . .” To satisfy section 1404(a), the moving party must establish two prerequisites. See RES-NV, LLC v. Rosenberg, No. 2:13CV00115DAK, 2013 WL 3548697, at *2 (D. Utah July 11, 2013). First, the moving party must establish that the transferee court is a forum in which the action could have been originally brought. See Chrysler Credit Corp., 928 F.2d at 1515. (“[Section] 1404(a) does not allow a court to transfer a suit to a district which lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendants, even if they consent to suit there.”). Second, the moving party “bears the burden of establishing that the existing forum is inconvenient.” Id. It is undisputed that this action might have been brought in the District of Pennsylvania. Therefore, the court is left to determine whether Defendant has met its burden to demonstrate that the District of Utah is inconvenient.

         “Section 1404(a) is intended to place discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions for transfer according to an ‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness.'” Id. at 1515-16 (quoting Stewart Org. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)). To determine whether a forum is inconvenient and transfer proper, the court weighs a number of factors, including:

the plaintiff's choice of forum; the accessibility of witnesses and other sources of proof, including the availability of compulsory process to insure attendance of witnesses; the cost of making the necessary proof; questions as to the enforceability of a judgment if one is obtained; relative advantages and obstacles to a fair trial; difficulties that may arise from congested dockets; the possibility of the existence of questions arising in the area of conflict of laws; the advantage of having a local court determine questions of local law; and, all other considerations of a practical nature that make a trial easy, expeditious and economical.

Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. v. Ritter, 371 F.2d 145, 147 (10th Cir. 1967). “[U]nless the balance is strongly in favor of the movant[, ] the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be disturbed.” Employers Mut. Cas. Co. v. Bartile Roofs, Inc., 618 F.3d 1153, 1167-68 (10th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). The party moving to transfer a case pursuant to section 1404(a) bears the burden of establishing that the existing forum is inconvenient. See Chrysler Credit Corp., 928 F.2d at 1515.

         A. Plaintiff's Chosen Forum

         Plaintiff's brief places much emphasis on the deference afforded to the plaintiff's choice of forum. Generally, a plaintiff's choice of forum is entitled substantial weight in determining whether transfer is appropriate. See Scheidt v. Klein, 956 F.2d 963, 965 (10th Cir. 1992). “However, a plaintiff's choice of forum is afforded less deference when their choice of forum has little connection ...


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