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Judd v. KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 9, 2018

Orson Judd, Plaintiff,
v.
KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue, or in the Alternative, Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and for a Stay of Litigation. (Doc. 9.) The Court has already addressed Defendant's Motion to Stay. (Doc. 14.) Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Conditional Certification. (Doc. 11.) The motions are ready for resolution.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Orson Judd brings this action against Defendant KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc. (“KeyPoint”) for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Defendant KeyPoint is incorporated in Delaware, and maintains its corporate headquarters and principal place of business in Loveland, Colorado. (Doc. 1 at 6; Doc. 9 at 3.) Defendant provides “security-clearance background investigations and screening services to the United States Government.” (Doc. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff Judd lives in Arizona and worked for Defendant as an investigator from June of 2008 until September of 2014. (Doc. 1 at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant misclassified numerous investigators as independent contractors, rather than as employees, in violation of the FLSA. (Doc. 1 at 2-3.) In spite of classification differences, Plaintiff argues that all investigators “perform the same basic job: interviewing subjects, conducting public records searches, interviewing sources, and writing investigation reports.” (Doc. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff alleges his position as an investigator regularly required him to work more than forty hours a week, but that he was not eligible for overtime because of his classification as an independent contractor. (Doc. 1 at 3.)

         Plaintiff has brought suit against Defendant on behalf of himself, and all other investigators working for Defendant nationwide, [1] for failure to pay overtime wages in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 207. (Doc. 1 at 16-18.) Defendant has moved to transfer this case to the District of Colorado, or in alternative, to dismiss for failure to state a claim and to stay this litigation until the Court's resolution of the Motion to Transfer Venue. (Doc. 9.) While Defendant's motion was pending, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Conditional Certification. (Doc. 11.) Defendant moved for an expedited stay of all litigation deadlines until resolution of the Motion to Transfer Venue (Doc. 12), which the Court granted. (Doc. 14.)

         II. Standard of Review

         “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). District courts exercise broad discretion to adjudicate motions to transfer on an individualized, case-by-case determination. Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing Stewart Org. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)). In making such a determination, courts consider (1) whether the case could have been brought in the forum which the moving party seeks to have the case transferred to, and (2) whether the proposed forum is a more suitable venue based on the convenience of the parties and the interests of justice. Hatch v. Reliance Ins. Co., 758 F.2d 409, 414 (9th Cir. 1985). A plaintiff's choice of forum is given deference and will not ordinarily be disturbed unless a defendant is capable of “making a strong showing” of inconvenience so as to warrant transfer. Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986). Transfer of venue is inappropriate, however, if “the result is merely to shift the inconvenience from one party to another.” Scovil v. Medtronic, Inc., 995 F.Supp.2d 1082, 1098-99 (D. Ariz. 2014) (citing Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 645-46 (1964)).

         III. Discussion

         A. Proper venue

28 U.S.C. § 1391 governs the venue of all civil cases in federal district courts and reads, in part:

A civil action may be brought in-
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
(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) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal ...

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