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DE LEON v. ENGLAND

February 20, 2003

BOBBIE G. DE LEON PLAINTIFF,
v.
GORDON R. ENGLAND SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet Sullivan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Introduction

Plaintiff Bobbie G. De Leon, a former Program Manager at the Naval Sea Systems Command ("NAVSEA"), an organization within defendant agency, brings this suit alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and race. In her complaint, plaintiff maintains that defendant violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et. seq. ("Equal Pay Act") and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et. seq. ("Title VII"). Pending before the Court is defendant's Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for Transfer of the Equal Pay Act Claim to the Court of Federal Claims and the Title VII Claims to the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Court has considered the parties' motions, oppositions, and replies, as well as the statutory and case law governing the issues. For the reasons outlined herein, the Court concludes that defendant's motion to transfer the Equal Pay Act claim to the Court of Federal Claims and the Title VII claims to the Eastern District of Virginia is GRANTED.

Background

Plaintiff is an African-American woman who was employed at the Naval Sea Systems Command from March 1998 until November 2000. Pl.'s Compl. ¶¶ 7-8. Plaintiff complains that she performed as the Program Manager for the General Purpose Electronic Test Equipment ("GPETE") at the GS-13 level while her predecessor, a Caucasian male, performed in that capacity at the GS-14 level. Id. ¶¶ 9-10.

In Count I of her complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant willfully violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 when it refused to pay her the same wages paid to her predecessor for performing the same duties. Id. ¶¶ 11-14. In Counts II and III, plaintiff contends that defendant violated Title VII by paying her less compensation, and providing her fewer benefits, for managing the same responsibilities as those handled by her predecessor. Id. ¶¶ 15-23.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief and damages. On June 21, 2002, defendant filed the present motion.

Legal Issues

Motion to Transfer

The venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1404, provides that:

(a) For 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.
(b) Upon motion, consent or stipulation of all parties, any action, suit or proceeding of a civil nature or any motion or hearing thereof, may be transferred, in the discretion of the court, from the division in which pending to any other division in the same district. Transfer of proceedings in rem brought by or on behalf of the United States may be transferred under this section without the consent of the United States where all other parties request transfer.
(c) A district court may order any civil action to be tried at any place within the division in which it is pending.
(d) As used in this section, the term "district court" includes the District Court of Guam, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District Court of the Virgin Islands, and the term "district" includes the territorial jurisdiction of each such court.
28 U.S.C. § 1404.

Transfers of venue to cure want of jurisdiction are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1631 The provision holds as follows:

Whenever a civil action is filed in a court as defined in section 610 of this title or an appeal, including a petition for review of administrative action, is noticed for or filed with such a court and that court finds that there is a want of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest of justice, transfer such action or appeal to any other such court in which the action or appeal could have been brought at the time it was filed or noticed, and the action or appeal shall proceed as if it had been filed in or noticed for the court to which it ...

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