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Powell v. Sparrow Hospital

February 12, 2010

NICOLE POWELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SPARROW HOSPITAL, DR. MATTHEW ALLSWEDE, DR. HARRY WISE, DR. NANCY HERTA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Ronald A. Guzman United States Judge

Judge Ronald A. Guzmán

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff has sued Sparrow Hospital, Dr. Matthew Allswede, Dr. Harry Wise and Dr. Nancy Herta for retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., defamation and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. The case is now before the Court on defendants' motion to transfer venue under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1404(a), 1406(a), dismiss the complaint or compel arbitration. For the reasons provided herein, the Court grants the motion to transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

Facts

Defendant Sparrow Hospital is located in Lansing, Michigan. (Compl. ¶ 5.) Powell participated in Sparrow Hospital's residency program from July 2003 until June 2008. (Id. ¶ 10.) During the relevant time period, Dr. Matthew Allswede was the program director of the residency program and Drs. Harry Wise and Nancy Herta were physicians at Sparrow Hospital who supervised and trained Powell. (Id. ¶ 7; Pl.'s Resp. 1.)

In December 2006, Powell applied for a position with Carle Clinic in Urbana, Illinois. (Compl. ¶ 11.) Powell asked Dr. Allswede to provide Carle Clinic with a job reference on her behalf, and he provided an extremely positive one. (Id.) In June 2007, Carle Clinic offered, and Powell accepted, a physician position to begin upon the completion of her residency at Sparrow Hospital. (Id. ¶ 13.)

On February 6, 2007, Powell met with Sparrow's Human Resources Office. (Id. ¶ 12.) During her meeting, Powell filed a formal pregnancy and gender discrimination complaint against Drs. Allswede, Wise and Herta. (Id.)

In October 2008, Powell became aware that in May or June 2008, Drs. Allswede, Wise and Herta verbally conveyed negative and false information about Powell to Carle Clinic, which caused Carle Clinic to rescind its offer of employment. (Id. ¶¶ 15, 17.)

In addition, during her residency, Powell expressed an interest in obtaining employment at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 18.) A recruiter from Swedish American Hospital informed Powell that she was not offered a position based on statements made by Dr. Allswede about Powell's performance. (Id.)

Discussion

The parties disagree as to whether the Court has personal jurisdiction over the defendants. However, a finding of personal jurisdiction is not required to address a petition to transfer under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1404(a) or 1406(a). Cote v. Wadel, 796 F.2d 981, 985 (7th Cir. 1986). Therefore, the Court addresses the motion to transfer first.

"For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought."

28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). An action may be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) when: (1) "venue is proper in the transferor district," (2) "venue is proper in the transferee district," and (3) "the transfer is for the convenience of the parties and witnesses in the interest of justice." Envtl. Servs., Inc. v. Bell Lumber & Pole Co., 607 F. Supp. 851, 853 (N.D. Ill. 1984) (quotation omitted). The determination as to whether a transfer is appropriate is left to the sound discretion of the judge. Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986). The moving party has the burden of establishing "that the transferee forum is clearly more convenient" based on the particular facts of the case. Id.

A. Venue is Proper in the Transferor Court

In all actions brought pursuant to Title VII, venue is determined pursuant to the statute's exclusive venue provision without consideration of 28 U.S.C. ยง 1391. Gwin v. Reynolds & Reynolds Co., No. 01 C 770, 2001 WL 775969, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 10, 2001). Although Title VII has four venue provisions, the plaintiff need only establish that venue is proper ...


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