The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICARDO URBINA, District Judge
TRANSFERRING THE ACTION TO THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Having been fired from his job, plaintiff Jeff Schmidt brings
suit against his former employer, the American Institute of
Physics ("AIP"), alleging breach of contract and other claims. In
response, AIP moves to transfer the action to the District of
Maryland Because the plaintiff originally could have brought
this case in the proposed transferee forum, and considerations of
convenience and the interest of justice weigh in favor of
transfer, the court grants AIP's motion and transfers the action
to the District of Maryland
AIP is a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with the
University of Maryland whose purpose is to promote the
advancement of knowledge of physics. Compl. ¶ 4; Def.'s Mot. to
Transfer ("Def.'s Mot.") at 2. AIP publishes scientific journals,
including Physics Today. Id. Originally headquartered in New
York, AIP now maintains its corporate offices and headquarters in
College Park, Maryland, with an office in the District of
Columbia. Compl. ¶ 3; Def.'s Mot. at 2 & Ex. 1 ("Braun Aff.") ¶ 2; Pl.'s Opp'n Attach. 1 ("First
Schmidt Aff.") ¶ 22; Def.'s Supp. Br. Ex. 1 ("Benka Aff.") ¶ 5.
In 1981, the plaintiff began working for AIP as an editor for
Physics Today at AIP's New York offices. Compl. ¶ 5; Def.'s
Reply at 6. In 1993, when AIP moved its corporate offices to
Maryland, the plaintiff moved to the District of Columbia and
continued working for AIP at its Maryland office. First Schmidt
Aff. ¶¶ 6-7; Def.'s Mot. at 3; Braun Aff. ¶ 12; Benka Aff. ¶ 5.
The parties disagree as to the physical location where the
plaintiff worked between 1997 and 2000. The plaintiff states that
from 1997 until his discharge in 2000, he worked four days per
week at home and the fifth day at the Maryland office. Pl.'s
Opp'n at 4; First Schmidt Aff. ¶ 17. AIP maintains quite the
reverse, indicating that during this period the plaintiff worked
primarily in Maryland and from home "on an occasional basis, and
solely for his own convenience." Def.'s Reply at 6.
In 2000, AIP discharged the plaintiff. Compl. ¶ 13; Def.'s Mot.
at 3. According to the plaintiff, AIP first placed a gag order on
the plaintiff, and then fired him for engaging in workplace
activism and expressing views advocating more diversity and
humane treatment in the workplace. Compl. ¶ 11; Pl.'s Opp'n at
2-3, 5. AIP, on the other hand, states that it discharged the
plaintiff after he published a book in which he publicly
proclaimed having "stolen" company time to write the book. Def.'s
Reply Ex. 1 ("Brodsky Aff.") ¶ 12. Subsequently, the plaintiff
filed an administrative claim against AIP with the National Labor
Relations Board ("NLRB"), apparently filing the claim at the NLRB
office in the District of Columbia but receiving a written
response from the NLRB office in Baltimore, Maryland First
Schmidt Aff. ¶ 26; Pl.'s Supp. Br. at 5; Brodsky Aff. ¶ 5 & Exs.
A, B. B. Procedural History
In May 2003, the plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court for
the District of Columbia, alleging breach of contract, breach of
oral contract, detrimental reliance, breach of covenant of good
faith and fair dealing, intentional infliction of emotional
distress, and due-process and free-speech violations. Compl. ¶¶
12-38. In August 2003, AIP removed the action to this court and
thereafter moved to transfer the action to the District of
Maryland The court now turns to AIP's motion to transfer.
A. Legal Standard for Venue and Transfer to Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
When federal jurisdiction is not premised solely on diversity,
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) controls venue, establishing that venue is
(1) a judicial district where any defendant resides,
if all defendants reside in the same State, (2) 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, or (3) a
judicial district in which any defendant may be
found, if there is no district in which the action
may otherwise be brought.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
In an action where venue is proper, 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)
nonetheless authorizes a court to transfer the action to any
other district where it could have been brought "for the
convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Section 1404(a) vests
"discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions to
transfer according to [an] individualized, case-by-case
consideration of convenience and fairness." Stewart Org., Inc.
v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 27 (1988) (quoting Van Dusen v.
Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622 (1964)). Under this ...