United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TRANSFER
VENUE (Dkt. 9)
A. Goldsmith United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendants Moeller
Manufacturing Company, Inc. (“Moeller”), Dave
Davidson, Geoff Bruce, and John Chrisman's motion to
transfer venue in the present action to the United States
District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Though
Defendants filed their motion on December 9, 2019, Plaintiff
Gladys Luckett has not filed a response. Because oral
argument will not assist in the decisional process, the
motion will be decided based on the parties' briefing.
See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For
the reasons that follow, the Court grants Defendants'
motion and orders that the action be transferred to the
United States District Court for the Western District of
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a court may transfer a civil action
“to any other district or division where it might have
been brought . . . .” Courts are afforded wide
discretion to transfer actions under § 1404(a) “in
order to prevent waste of time, energy and money, and to
protect litigants, witnesses and the public against
unnecessary inconvenience and expense.” Helder v.
Hitachi Power Tools, USA Ltd., 764 F.Supp. 93, 95-96
(E.D. Mich. 1991). In making its determination, a court must
consider whether “(1) the action could have been
brought in the proposed transferee court; (2) a transfer
would serve the interests of justice; and (3) a transfer
would serve the convenience of the parties and
witnesses.” Thomas v. Home Depot, U.S.A.,
Inc., 131 F.Supp.2d 934, 936 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
Other relevant factors include “the location of
relevant documents and relative ease of access to sources of
proof” and “the locus of the operative
facts.” Overland, Inc. v. Taylor, 79 F.Supp.2d
809, 811 (E.D. Mich. 2000). Federal courts have considered
the convenience of witnesses to be “[p]robably the most
important factor, and the factor most frequently mentioned,
in passing on a motion to transfer under 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a).” McNic Oil & Gas Co. v. Ibex Res.
Co., 23 F.Supp.2d 729, 738 (E.D. Mich. 1998).
action arises from Luckett's employment by Moeller, an
aerospace parts supplier, at its facility located in Harbor
Springs, Michigan. Compl. ¶ 9. According to Luckett,
Defendants discriminated and retaliated against her on the
basis of race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights
Act, resulting in the termination of her employment. See
generally Compl. (Dkt. 1). Defendants have supplied
evidence demonstrating that during the course of
Luckett's employment, she lived in an apartment located
in Petoskey, Michigan, which was paid for by Moeller. Bruce
Aff. ¶ 5, Ex. A to Defs. Mot. (Dkt. 9-2); Offer Letter,
Ex. B to Defs. Mot. (Dkt. 9-3). Luckett worked with personnel
at the Harbor Springs facility and reported to Davidson, the
plant manager of that facility. Davidson Aff. ¶¶
1-3, Ex. C to Defs. Mot. (Dkt. 9-4). According to Defendants,
the decision to terminate Luckett's employment was made
by Davidson and Christman, Moeller's director of quality,
after Christman learned at a May 24, 2019 meeting that
Luckett was not ensuring that parts had passed final
inspection. Christman Aff. ¶¶ 1-4, Ex. D to Defs.
Mot. (Dkt. 9-5).
VII contains the following venue provision:
Each United States district court and each United States
court of a place subject to the jurisdiction of the United
States shall have jurisdiction of actions brought under this
subchapter. Such an action may be brought in any judicial
district in the State in which the unlawful employment
practice is alleged to have been committed, in the judicial
district in which the employment records relevant to such
practice are maintained and administered, or in the judicial
district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but
for the alleged unlawful employment practice . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). The allegedly unlawful
employment practice at issue in the present action is the
termination of Luckett's employment, which took place in
Harbor Springs, Michigan, located in the Western District of
Michigan. Accordingly, venue would have been proper in the
Western District had Luckett initiated the action there.
Court finds the interests of justice would be served if the
present litigation were transferred to the Western District
of Michigan. First, it is clear that the locus of operative
facts took place in Harbor Springs, in the Western District.
Luckett lived and worked in the Western District during her
employment with Moeller, and the events that triggered her
ultimate discharge took place in the Western District.
Significantly, with the exception of Luckett, all potential
witnesses reside in the Western District of Michigan,
including Davidson, Moeller personnel with whom Luckett
worked, and personnel who were present at the May 24, 2019
meeting with Christman. See Davidson Aff. ¶
2-3; Christman Aff. ¶ 5. Finally, all records relating
to Luckett's employment and to Moeller's quality
control practices are likely to be located at the Harbor
Springs facility in the Western District of Michigan.
Davidson Aff. ¶ 4. Given that the events at issue
transpired in the Western District and that all relevant
documents and witnesses are located in the Western District,
transfer of the present action to the Western District is
the Court grants Defendants' motion to transfer venue and
orders that the present action be transferred to the United