Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of West Palm Beach v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 28, 2018

CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION, and UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          TANYA S. CHUTKAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue and For Expedited Consideration Thereof. Upon consideration of the motion, the response and reply thereto, and for the following reasons, the court will GRANT Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue and will order that this case be transferred to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In this action, Plaintiff City of West Palm Beach (“City”) challenges the actions of four federal agencies-the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Highway Administration, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency-as well as the United States Department of the Interior (collectively, “Defendants”) that resulted in the approval of an 8.5 mile extension of existing State Road 7 from Okeechobee Boulevard North to County Road 809A (Northlake Boulevard) in Palm Beach County, Florida. ECF No. 1 (Compl.) ¶¶ 1, 4. Plaintiff alleges that the extension of State Road 7 will pollute the Grassy Waters Preserve, which currently serves as the City's primary source of drinking water and as a home to “numerous species that have been designated as endangered or threatened.” Id. ¶¶ 8, 57-59. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants' “abdication of their responsibilities to consider the impacts of the discharge of nutrient laden stormwater into Grassy Waters Preserve” in approving the extension “violated the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Policy Act and is an arbitrary and capricious final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act.” Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff seeks, inter alia, injunctive relief “setting aside” the agency permit and opinions that would permit construction on the road to proceed. See Id. at 53.

         On November 9, 2017, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), Defendants filed a motion to transfer this case to the Southern District of Florida. ECF No. 7 (Defs. Mem.) at 1. Plaintiff opposes transfer, arguing that the court must afford substantial deference to Plaintiff's chosen forum, that the action has connections to the District of Columbia, and that the resolution of this action will impact citizens residing both inside and outside the Southern District of Florida. ECF No. 9 (Pl. Opp.) at 1-3.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A case may be transferred to another venue “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). District courts “retain broad discretion in balancing the asserted convenience and fairness to the parties.” Onyeneho v. Allstate Ins. Co., 466 F.Supp.2d 1, 3 (D.D.C. 2006) (citing Sheraton Operating Corp. v. Just Corp. Travel, 984 F.Supp. 22, 25 (D.D.C. 1997)). The moving party “‘bears the burden of establishing that transfer of the action is proper.'” Smith v. Yeager, 234 F.Supp.3d 50, 55 (D.D.C. 2017) (quoting Greater Yellowstone Coal. v. Bosworth, 180 F.Supp.2d 124, 127 (D.D.C. 2001)).

         In deciding a motion to transfer venue under § 1404(a), a court must first determine whether the transferee district is one where the action “might have been brought, ” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), and then must balance the private and public interests involved in the proposed transfer to determine “whether the defendant has demonstrated that considerations of convenience and the interest of justice support a transfer.” Barham v. UBS Fin. Servs., 496 F.Supp.2d 174, 178 (D.D.C. 2007). Here, Plaintiff concedes that “it could have brought its case in . . . the Southern District of Florida.” Pl. Opp. at 7. Accordingly, the court focuses its analysis on the second step, which concerns the private and public interests involved in the proposed transfer.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Private Interest Factors

         Courts generally consider six private interest factors when deciding whether to transfer a case:

1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; 2) the defendant's choice of forum; 3) whether the claim arose elsewhere; 4) the convenience of the parties; 5) the convenience of the witnesses, particularly if important witnesses may actually be unavailable to give live trial testimony in one of the districts; and 6) the ease of access to sources of proof.

Sheffer v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 873 F.Supp.2d 371, 375 (D.D.C. 2012) (citations omitted).

         Courts ordinarily give substantial deference to the plaintiff's choice of forum. Montgomery v. STG Int'l, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 29, 33 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing Schmidt v. Am. Inst. of Physics, 322 F.Supp.2d 28, 33 (D.D.C. 2004)). This deference is lessened when the plaintiff does not choose its “home forum.” See Sinochem Int'l Co. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 430 (2007) (“When the plaintiff's choice is not its home forum, however, the presumption in the plaintiff's favor applies with less force, for the assumption that the chosen forum is appropriate is in such cases less reasonable.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Moreover, “where there is an insubstantial factual nexus between the case and the plaintiff's chosen ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.