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DEVAUGHN v. INPHONIC

December 13, 2005.

KATEASE DEVAUGHN, Plaintiff,
v.
INPHONIC, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICARDO URBINA, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER

I. INTRODUCTION

The plaintiff, Katease Devaughn, brings suit against the defendant, Inphonic, Inc. ("Inphonic"), alleging that the defendant fired her in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. The defendant moves to transfer the action to the District of Maryland pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Because the plaintiff could have originally brought this case in the district court in Maryland and because considerations of convenience and the interest of justice weigh in favor of transfer, the court grants the defendant's motion and transfers this action to the District of Maryland.

  II. BACKGROUND

  A. Factual History

  The defendant is an online provider of wireless services with its principal place of business in the District of Columbia. Am. Compl. ¶ 2; Def.'s Mot. to Transfer ("Def.'s Mot.") at 1 & Ex. 1 ("Haithcock Aff."). The defendant also has an office in Largo, Maryland. Def.'s Mot. at 1. The plaintiff is a Largo, Maryland resident who was employed in the defendant's Largo office as a Credit Activations Specialist from November 2001 to February 21, 2005. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 3; Def.'s Mot. at 1. In her amended complaint, the plaintiff claims that the defendant discriminated against her on the basis of race and wrongfully terminated her for taking approved medical leave between February 15, 2005 and February 21, 2005. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 6-9. The defendant denies the plaintiff's claims and argues that it lawfully terminated the plaintiff for insubordination. Ans. at 3; Haithcock Aff. ¶ 9.

  During her employment with the defendant, the plaintiff worked exclusively at the Largo office and her personnel records remain in Maryland. Id. ¶¶ 6, 10. The plaintiff's supervisor at the time of her termination, J.D. Darby, resides in Maryland. Id. ¶ 11. The plaintiff's supervisor prior to Darby, James Reed, currently resides in Virginia. Haithcock Aff. ¶ 12.

  In June, 2005, the plaintiff filed a discrimination charge with the Prince George's County Human Relations Commission in which she listed the defendant's address as 9301 Peppercorn Place, Largo, Maryland. Def.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Transfer ("Def.'s Reply") at Ex. 1 at 2. The plaintiff does not allege that she filed any similar claim in the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.

  B. Procedural History

  In May 2005, the plaintiff filed a complaint in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia in which she asserted that the defendant violated the District of Columbia Human Rights Act and the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act. Compl. ¶¶ 12, 15. On June 22, 2005, the plaintiff amended her complaint to substitute those causes of action with claims that the defendant violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 12, 15. The defendant removed the action to this court and subsequently moved to transfer the case to the District of Maryland pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Not. of Rem.; Def.'s Mot. at 1. The court now considers the motion to transfer.

  III. ANALYSIS

 
A. Legal Standard for Venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) and Transfer to Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)
  When federal jurisdiction is not premised solely on diversity, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) controls venue, establishing that venue is proper in:
 
(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, 29 (1988) (quoting Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622 (1964)). Under this ...


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