United States District Court, District of Columbia
S. CHUTKAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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
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.
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.
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)).
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.
Private Interest Factors
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).
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