United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. JOHNSTON, CHIEF JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Raleigh County Board of
Education's (“RCBOE”) renewed motion to
dismiss or, in the alternative, motion to transfer venue to
the Beckley Division of the United States District Court for
the Southern District of West Virginia. (ECF No. 6.) For the
reasons discussed more fully below, the Court GRANTS
IN PART and DENIES IN PART
RCBOE's motion. (ECF No. 6.)
case arises out of Plaintiff's donation of blood to
Defendant American National Red Cross (“Red
Cross”) at a blood drive hosted by RCBOE at
Independence High School, located in Coal City, Raleigh
County, West Virginia. (ECF No. 1-1 at ¶ 5 (Compl.).)
Plaintiff alleges that she was not provided adequate time to
recover from her blood donation and, as a result, she fainted
and struck her head which has led to the development of
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. (See Id. at ¶
February 28, 2018, Plaintiff filed the present action in the
Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia, alleging
negligence against Red Cross and RCBOE. (See ECF No.
1-1.) On March 30, 2018, RCBOE filed its motion to dismiss,
or in the alternative, motion to transfer venue to Raleigh
County, West Virginia. (See ECF No. 1-1 at 6 (Mot.
to Dismiss).) A hearing on this motion was scheduled for May
22, 2018 in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County. However, on
April 5, 2018, the Red Cross removed the case to this Court.
(ECF No. 1.)
April 19, 2018, RCBOE filed the present renewed motion to
dismiss or, in the alternative, motion to transfer venue to
the Beckley Division. (ECF No. 6.) Plaintiff timely responded
to RCBOE's motion, (ECF No. 8), and RCBOE timely replied.
(ECF No. 9.) As such, RCBOE's motion is fully briefed and
ripe for adjudication.
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 or to any district or division to which all parties
have consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Such a
transfer, however, is dependent upon the “weighing . .
. [of] a number of case-specific factors.” Stewart
Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988). The
Fourth Circuit has established four factors that a district
court should consider in deciding motions to transfer under
§ 1404(a): “(1) the weight accorded to
plaintiff's choice of venue; (2) witness convenience and
access; (3) convenience of the parties; and (4) the interest
of justice.” Trs. of the Plumbers & Pipefitters
Nat'l Pension Fund v. Plumbing Servs., Inc., 791
F.3d 436, 444 (4th Cir. 2015). Additionally, prior to the
Fourth Circuit's decision in Trustees, this
Court has considered a slightly more detailed list of factors
such as the following: “(1) ease of access to sources
of proof; (2) the convenience of compulsory process; . . .
(5) the possibility of a view; (6) the interest in having
local controversies decided at home; and (7) the interests of
justice.” AFA Enters., Inc. v. Am. States Ins.
Co., 842 F.Supp. 902, 909 (S.D. W.Va. 1994); see
also Heuvel v. Navy Fed. Credit Union, No. 3:16-cv-1839,
2016 WL 7155769, at *2 n.3 (S.D. W.Va. Dec. 7, 2016).
is well settled that the decision whether to transfer a
matter to another district is committed to the sound
discretion of the district court.” AFA Enters.,
Inc. v, 842 F.Supp. at 908 (citations omitted).
“The party seeking transfer carries the burden of
showing that the current venue is inconvenient.”
See Leonard v. Mylan, Inc., 718 F.Supp.2d 741, 745
(S.D. W.Va. 2010) (citing N.Y. Marine & Gen. Ins. Co.
v. Lafarge N. Am., Inc., 599 F.3d 102, 113‒14 (2d
motion, RCBOE argues that this action should be dismissed for
improper venue. (See ECF No. 7 at 3.) Specifically,
RCBOE argues that venue is improper because, under West
Virginia Code § 29-12A-13(a), actions against political
subdivisions such as the RCBOE must “be brought in the
county in which the situs of the political subdivision is
located or the county in which the cause of action arose,
” which here would be Raleigh County, West Virginia.
(See id.) RCBOE further argues that, in the
alternative to dismissal, this action should be transferred
to the Beckley Division pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a). (See Id. at 4-8.)
preliminary matter, the Court notes that this action could
have been brought in the Circuit Court of Raleigh County and
removed to the Beckley Division of this Court. Determining
whether venue is proper is generally guided by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1391, which provides, in pertinent part, that
“[a] civil action may be brought in . . . a judicial
district in which a substantial part of the events or
omissions giving rise to the claim occurred.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1391(b)(2). “Venue is proper in each district
that is the situs of a substantial part of the events or
omissions giving rise to the claim, ” and, as such,
“venue may lie in more than one district.”
C.H. James & Co. v. Fed. Food Marketers Co., 927
F.Supp. 187, 189 (S.D. W.Va. 1996) (citation omitted).
Plaintiff's injuries stem from Defendants' alleged
negligence in caring for Plaintiff after she donated blood in
Raleigh County, West Virginia. (See ECF No. 1-1 at
¶ 5.) Raleigh County, West Virginia, is encompassed by
the Beckley Division of the Southern District of West
Virginia. As such, all contested acts or omissions giving
rise to Plaintiff's claim occurred in the Beckley
Division. Accordingly, venue in the Beckley Division is
proper. See Leonard, 718 F.Supp.2d at 744 (finding
that venue lied in the transferee district where “[t]he
events or omissions giving rise to the plaintiffs' claims
all occurred in the [transferee district]”).
the above cited factors weigh in favor of transferring this
action to the Beckley Division. First, although the Court
recognizes that ordinarily great weight is given to a
plaintiff's choice of forum, Plaintiff here does not
contest or even address any of RCBOE's arguments for
transferring venue. (See supra note 1.)
Additionally, none of the allegations in Plaintiff's
Complaint have any connection to the present venue.
Furthermore, neither Plaintiff nor Defendants reside or have
their principal place of business in the present venue.
See Heuvel, 2016 WL 7155769, at *2. (See
also ECF No. 1-1 at ¶¶ 1-3.) Therefore, the
Court applies this presumption in favor of Plaintiff's
forum choice with less force. See Klay v. AXA Equitable
Life Ins. Co., No. 5:08cv118, 2009 WL 36759, at *3 (N.D.
W.Va. Jan. 6, 2009) (“‘[W]here the
plaintiff's choice of forum is a place where neither the
plaintiff nor the defendant ...