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RMH Tech LLC v. PMC Industries INC

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 30, 2018

RMH TECH LLC, a Colorado limited liability company, and METAL ROOF INNOVATIONS, LTD., Plaintiffs,
v.
PMC INDUSTRIES, INC., a Connecticut corporation, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant PMC Industries, Inc.'s (“PMC”) Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue or, in the Alternative, to Transfer Venue (the “Motion to Dismiss or Transfer”). (Doc. # 86.) For the reasons described herein, the Court grants Defendant's Motion to Transfer and transfers this litigation to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court detailed the factual background of this case in its Order on Claim Construction (Doc. # 66) and its Order Denying Partial Reconsideration of its Order on Claim Construction (Doc. # 85). Those orders are incorporated by reference, and the facts explained therein need not be repeated. The Court recounts only the facts necessary to address Defendant's instant Motion to Dismiss or Transfer.

         Plaintiffs RMH Tech LLC (“RMH”) and Metal Roof Innovations, Ltd. (“MRI”) are the owner and licensee, respectively, of United States Patent No. 6, 470, 629 (the “‘629 Patent”), which describes and claims a mounting assembly for mounting a cross member to a standing metal roof. (Doc. # 1 at 3.) RMH is a limited liability corporation registered in Colorado, with its principal place of business in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Id. at 1.) MRI is a Colorado corporation and also has its principal place of business in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Id.) In the underlying action, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant infringed certain claims of the ‘629 Patent. (Id. at 7-9.)

         Defendant “is a corporation formed under the laws of Connecticut, having a principal place of business at . . . Plainville, Connecticut.” (Id. at 1.) According to Defendant, its headquarters are in Connecticut, “[a]ll of [its] business operations are conducted from within Connecticut, ” and all “employees and staff are located in Connecticut.” (Doc. # 86 at 4.) Defendant “does not have any buildings, facilities, offices, employees, or other physical presence in Colorado, ” and “does not uniquely target Colorado for the sale of its products.” (Id. at 4-5.) Defendant also asserts that it has only ever made one sale to a customer in Colorado, which “was generated from an order received in June 2016 from an inquiry to its website.” (Id.)

         Plaintiffs initiated this action on July 11, 2016. (Doc. # 1.) The parties engaged in extensive claim construction briefing from December 16, 2016, through May 24, 2017. (Doc. ## 33, 37, 39, 44, 54, 55.) On October 2, 2017, this Court issued its Order on Claim Construction. (Doc. # 66.) Defendant subsequently moved for partial reconsideration of the Court's Order on Claim Construction (Doc. # 74), which the Court denied on January 8, 2018 (Doc. # 85.)

         Also on January 8, 2018, Defendant filed the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer now before the Court.[1] (Doc. # 86.) Plaintiffs timely submitted their Response in Opposition to the motion on January 29, 2018, (Doc. # 88), to which Defendant replied on February 6, 2018 (Doc. # 91).[2]

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Defendant brings its Motion to Dismiss or Transfer pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). (Doc. # 86 at 1.)

         Rule 12(b)(3) permits a defendant to file a motion to dismiss for improper venue.[3]“Once venue is attacked, the plaintiff bears the burden to show proper venue.” Ervin & Assoc., Inc. v. Cisneros, 939 F.Supp. 793, 796 (D. Colo. 1996) (citation omitted). A district court may “consider facts outside of the pleadings, ” such as the defendant's affidavits, when analyzing a Rule 23(b)(3) motion to dismiss. Cornice Tech., Inc. v. Affinity Dental Prod., Inc., No. 04-cv-01133, 2005 WL 1712124, *7 (D. Colo. July 21, 2005) (citing Argueta v. Banco Mexicano, S.A., 87 F.3d 321, 324 (9th Cir. 1996)); see Hancock v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., Inc., 701 F.3d 1248, 1260 (10th Cir. 2012). A plaintiff may rest on well-pled facts in his complaint to such a motion but “only to the extent that such facts are uncontroverted by [the] defendant's” evidence. Hancock, 701 F.3d at 1260 (quoting Pierce v. Shorty Small's of Branson Inc., 137 F.3d 1190, 1192 (10th Cir. 1998)).

         28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) requires that where a court has determined that venue is improper, the court must dismiss the action or transfer it to a jurisdiction with proper venue:

The district court of a district in which is filed a case laying venue in the wrong division or district shall dismiss, or if be in the interest of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.

         28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Though Section 1406(a) contains the word “shall, ” the Tenth Circuit has “interpreted the phrase ‘if it is in the interest of justice' to grant the district court discretion in making a decision to transfer an action or instead to dismiss the ...


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