United States District Court, D. Colorado
CLARENDON NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY as successor by way of a merger with Sussex Insurance Company f/k/a Companion Property & Casualty Insurance Company, and Companion Specialty Insurance Company, Plaintiff,
STEPHANIE GLICKAUF, ROBERT M. DARROCH, and GOODMAN MCGUFFEY, LLP, Defendants.
ORDER AFFIRMING ORDER OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
JUDGE NINA Y. WANG AND OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
CHRISTINE M. ARGU LLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on review of the Order by United
States Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang (Doc. # 71), wherein she
granted Defendants Stephanie Glickauf, Robert M. Darroch, and
Goodman McGuffey, LLP's (collectively,
“Defendants”) Motion to Transfer Venue (Doc. #
36). On May 15, 2019, Plaintiff Clarendon National Insurance
Company filed an Objection to the Order. (Doc. # 73.) On May
20, 2019, Defendants responded to Plaintiff's Objection.
(Doc. # 74.) For the following reasons, Plaintiff's
objections are OVERRULED and the Magistrate Judge's Order
Judge Wang provided a thorough recitation of the factual and
procedural background in this legal malpractice case in her
Order on Motion to Transfer. (Doc. # 71.) The Order is
incorporated herein by reference, see 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a), and the facts will
be repeated only to the extent necessary to address
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is an Illinois insurance company that issues commercial
general liability policies to construction professionals in
various states, including Colorado. (Doc. # 1 at 1, 5.)
Defendants are two attorneys and their law firm, with a
primary place of business in the State of Georgia, which
Plaintiff retained as its insurance counsel. (Id. at
3.) None of the parties are Colorado residents.
alleges that Defendants breached their duty to Plaintiff in
two ways. First, Plaintiff claims that Defendants provided
incorrect coverage advice upon which Plaintiff relied to deny
coverage to its policyholders. (Id. at 5.) Second,
Plaintiff claims that Defendants failed to properly identify
insurance coverage defenses. (Id.) According to
Plaintiff, these breaches of duty caused Plaintiff to settle
a Colorado lawsuit on behalf of its policyholder for an
amount of money that was much more than necessary and to be
named as a defendant in multiple Colorado lawsuits.
(Id.) However, none of the Defendants' legal
advice was rendered from Colorado. (Doc. # 71 at 11.)
October 4, 2018, Plaintiff initiated this civil action (Doc.
# 1), and on January 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Second
Amended Complaint in the United States District Court for the
District of Colorado, alleging two causes of action (Doc. #
49). First, Plaintiff claims that Defendants were negligent
as to their professional duties and committed legal
malpractice. (Id. at 20-22.) Second, Plaintiff
claims that Defendants violated the Consumer Protection Act
(“CCPA”) by knowingly making false
representations and engaging in unfair and deceptive trade
practices. (Id. at 22-30.)
January 7, 2019, Defendants moved to transfer this action to
United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia, Atlanta Division, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1391 and 1406. (Doc. # 36.) Defendants contend that venue in
the District of Colorado is improper because Defendants'
alleged negligence, legal malpractice, and CCPA claims would
have occurred in the course of their legal representation of
Plaintiffs at their law office in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Id. at 10.) On January 8, 2019, this Court referred
Defendants' Motion to Transfer to Magistrate Judge Wang
for disposition. (Doc. # 37.)
THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER
Judge Wang granted Defendants' Motion to Transfer on May
1, 2019. (Doc. # 71.) After observing that “at the core
of this action are Plaintiff's allegations that it
reasonably and detrimentally relied upon Defendants'
coverage evaluation and legal advice[, ]” the
Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff's legal
analysis substantially occurred in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Id. at 15.) She then determined that venue in the
District of Colorado was improper, and therefore, the case
could not be tried in this jurisdiction. As a result,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a), the Magistrate Judge
transferred this case to the appropriate venue. (Id.
15, 2019, Plaintiff timely objected to the Magistrate
Judge's Order transferring this case. (Doc. # 73.)
Therein, Plaintiff first argues that Magistrate Judge Wang
should have issued a recommendation, not an order.
(Id. at 2.) Second, Plaintiff disputes the
Magistrate Judge's determination that venue was improper.
(Id. at 4.) On May 20, 2019, Defendants filed their
response to Plaintiff's Objection. (Doc. # 74.) For the
following reasons, the Court affirms Magistrate Judge
Wang's Order and overrules Plaintiff's Objection.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
magistrate judge issues an order on a nondispositive pretrial
matter, “[t]he district judge in the case must consider
timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the
order that is clearly erroneous or is
contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a)
(emphasis added). Under the clearly erroneous standard,
“the reviewing court [must] affirm unless it ‘on
the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed.'”
Ocelot Oil Corp. v. Sparrow Indus., 847 F.2d 1458,
1464 (10th Cir. 1988) (quoting United States v. U.S.
Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)); Allen v.
Sybase, Inc., 468 F.3d 642, 658 (10th Cir. 2006). The
“‘clearly erroneous' standard is
‘significantly deferential.'” Chung v.
Lamb et. al., No. 14-cv-03244-WYD-KLM, 2018 WL 7141423,
at * 1 (D. Colo. Jan. 3, 2018) (quoting United States v.
Gallegos, 314 F.3d 456, 462 n.3 (10th Cir. 2002)).