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Sharon Murray v. Nationwide Better Health

September 28, 2012

SHARON MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATIONWIDE BETTER HEALTH, BARBARA LEY, AND CYNTHIA NORTHRUP, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, United States District Judge.

E-FILED Friday, 28 September, 2012 05:00:09 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on Plaintiff Sharon Murray's Motion For Change In Venue (d/e 317). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in October 2010 against Nationwide Better Health, Barbara Ley, and Cynthia Northrup, alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.), the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.) (ERISA), violations of her constitutional rights, and various state-law claims. The Complaint also alleges a perjury claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1621 and 28 U.S.C. §1746.

Defendant Nationwide Better Health was the third-party administrator who handled FMLA leave and short-term disability claims for Plaintiff's employer, AT&T Mobility, LLC (located in Springfield, Illinois). Defendants Northrup and Ley were employees of Nationwide Better Health. Venue is proper in this district because "a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred" in this district. 28 U.S.C. 1391(b)(2) (2010);*fn1 see also Pl. Cmplt. p. 22 of 23 (d/e 1); Defs. Amd. Answer p. 30 (d/e 107) (admitting venue is proper in this Court).

II. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff has moved for a change in venue. Plaintiff asserts that due to various issues (her mother-in-law's health, the foreclosure on Plaintiff's home), she must move to New Jersey to be near her family. Plaintiff also asserts that she does not believe she can receive a fair trial in this Court. Plaintiff requests this Court transfer the case to the United States District Court for New Jersey in Camden.

Defendants object to the Motion For Change In Venue. Defendants assert that while they empathize with Plaintiff's situation, Plaintiff has not met her burden of showing that transfer of this case is warranted.

The applicable version of Section 1404(a) of 28 United States Code, which governs change of venue in cases filed before January 6, 2012, provides as follows:

For 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.

28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (2011). The moving party must show that (1) venue is proper in the current district and would be proper in the transferee district; (2) "the transferee district is more convenient for both the parties and witnesses," and (3) "transfer would serve the interests of justice." Gueorguiev v. Max Rave, LLC, 526 F. Supp. 2d 853, 856 (N.D. Ill. 2007). The moving party bears the burden of proving the transferee district is more convenient. Id. at 857.

Plaintiff has failed to meet her burden. Plaintiff has not shown that she could have brought this action in the New Jersey District Court (see 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)) because venue would not have been proper in New Jersey. The applicable venue statute provides that, in cases where jurisdiction is not founded solely on diversity of citizenship, a civil action may be brought only 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 ...


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