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WEISS v. COLUMBIA PICTURES TV

September 28, 1992

HERBERT O. WEISS, Plaintiff, against COLUMBIA PICTURES TELEVISION, INC. and SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT, INC. Defendants.

Leisure


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PETER K. LEISURE

ORDER AND OPINION

LEISURE, District Judge,

 This age discrimination action is currently before the Court on the motion of defendant Columbia Pictures Television, Inc. ("Columbia"), joined by defendant Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. ("Sony"), for an order of transfer to the United States District Court for the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the following reasons, defendants' motion is hereby granted.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Herbert O. Weiss ("Weiss") filed this age discrimination action in this Court, charging that defendant Columbia's decision not to extend his employment agreement violated the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634, and a related state statute. Columbia is a Los Angeles based entertainment company that produces and syndicates television programs. Prior to his termination, Weiss was Columbia's Vice President responsible for Eastern Regional television sales. His office was located in New York, New York.

 Weiss began his employment with Columbia in 1980 but apparently did not have a written employment contract until early 1991, when Columbia and Weiss executed a agreement dated March 1, 1990. As executed, the agreement provided for Weiss' employment through December 31, 1991. In August 1991 Weiss was advised that his contract would not be renewed, and he was asked to vacate his office the following month.

 The employment agreement included a forum selection clause designating the state and federal courts located in Los Angeles, California, as the exclusive fora for any disputes arising out of Weiss' employment or the termination thereof. The clause provides in pertinent part:

 11. Governing Law, Legal Proceedings and Remedies.

 . . . .

 (b) Any and all actions, suits or legal proceedings of any nature (whether sounding in contract or in tort) arising out of or relating to this Agreement, to the employment of Employee by the Company or to the termination of such employment shall be initiated and maintained only in a state or federal court located in the city and county of Los Angeles, State of California, which shall be the exclusive forum for, and shall have the sole and exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of, all such proceedings. The Company and Employee hereby submit and subject themselves irrevocably to the personal jurisdiction of such California state and federal courts.

 See Declaration of Jennifer A. Glazer, dated June 15, 1992 ("Glazer Declaration"), Exhibit B. Defendants rely on the forum selection clause and other factors in asserting that transfer is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Weiss argues that California is an inconvenient forum and the public policy underlying his action will be frustrated by transfer.

 DISCUSSION

 Section 1404(a) provides: "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." The Supreme Court decision in Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp. has clarified the analysis to be applied by the district court in considering a motion to transfer an action:

 Section 1404(a) is intended to place discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions for transfer according to an "individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness," Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622, 11 L. Ed. 2d 945, 84 S. Ct. 805 (1964). A motion to transfer under § 1404(a) thus calls on the district court to weigh in the balance a number of case-specific factors. The presence of a forum-selection clause such as the ...


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