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Abramowitz v. Tropicana Atlantic City Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 6, 2015

DARRYL ABRAMOWITZ, Plaintiff,
v.
TROPICANA ATLANTIC CITY CORP., d/b/a TROPICANA CASINO AND RESORT; and MARINA DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, LLC d/b/a BORGATA HOTEL CASINO AND SPA, Defendants.

Brian J. Davis, Esq., Law Office of Brian J. Davis, Garden City, NY, for Plaintiff.

John Joseph Hopwood, Esq., Karen M. Lager, Esq., Marks, O'Neill, O'Brien, Doherty & Kelly, P.C., New York, NY 10017, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

JOANNA SEYBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Darryl Abramowitz ("Plaintiff") originally commenced this action on February 18, 2014 in New York State Supreme Court against defendants Tropicana Atlantic City Corp., d/b/a Tropicana Casino and Resort ("Tropicana"), and Marina District Development Company, LLC, d/b/a Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa ("Borgata" and together with Tropicana, "Defendants"), [1] asserting violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-1, et seq.; Section 349 of the New York General Business Law; and common law claims of fraud and breach of contract. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants fraudulently induced him to travel to their casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey with promises of complimentary items and services that they ultimately failed to honor. Defendants move pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1404(a) to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. (Docket Entry 13.) For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an individual residing in Merrick, New York. Defendants are New Jersey companies that operate casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Compl. ¶¶ 2-3.) According to the Complaint, Defendants generate business by offering complimentary items and services, commonly referred to as "comps, " which are intended to encourage people to travel to their casinos to gamble, rent hotel rooms, and purchase goods and services. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-7.) Plaintiff, who describes himself a "high roller, " alleges that Defendants fraudulently induced him to travel from New York to their casinos in New Jersey with promises of comps that Defendants ultimately failed to honor. (See generally Compl.)

Plaintiff claims that Tropicana contacted him on March 3, 2012 and promised him complimentary lodging, food, beverages, and $5, 000 in "match play coupons" if he came to its casino. (Compl. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff allegedly declined the offer, advising Tropicana that he would only come to its casino if Tropicana upped the match play coupons to $25, 000. (Compl. ¶ 19.) Later that day, Julie Estrada, a marketing representative for Tropicana, offered Plaintiff $15, 000 in match play coupons, which Plaintiff again declined. (Compl. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff finally agreed to visit Tropicana's casino on the weekend of June 30, 2012 after Tropicana promised him match play coupons worth $25, 000, among other comps. (Compl. ¶ 21.) However, Plaintiff claims that when he attempted to redeem the match play coupons, he only received $10, 000. (Compl. ¶ 22.) Unhappy with the reduced amount, Plaintiff returned the match play coupons. (Compl. ¶ 23.)

On April 6, 2011, Jason Lyons, a "host" for Borgata "called" Plaintiff and began soliciting him to visit Borgata's casino with offers of various comps. (Compl. ¶ 48.) After nearly a year of receiving solicitations, Plaintiff finally agreed to visit Borgata's casino on March 23, 2012 after Borgata promised him complimentary lodging, food, beverages, and "$5, 000 through the door' for shopping and more." (Compl. ¶ 49.) Plaintiff claims that on the first day he was there, he gambled and won $105, 000. (Compl. ¶ 50.) The next morning, Plaintiff called Lyons and asked him where he could pick up the $5, 000 he was previously offered. (Compl. ¶ 50.) Lyons allegedly replied, "We don't give cash, this isn't a shopping mall, " and that he would allow Plaintiff to charge the $5, 000 to his room. (Compl. ¶ 51.) Believing Borgata would pick up the bill, Plaintiff then charged $1, 400 in food and merchandise to his room. (Compl. ¶¶ 52-53.) However, Plaintiff claims that after he left the casino, "all such expenses... were placed on his credit card [and] were not removed." (Compl. ¶ 56.) When he complained to Borgata management, he was allegedly told, "we are running a business here, and we don't need customers like you." (Compl. ¶ 57.)

Plaintiff commenced this action on February 18, 2014 in New York State Supreme Court against Tropicana and Borgata, asserting violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-1, et seq.; Section 349 of the New York General Business Law; and state law claims of fraud and breach of contract. On July 31, 2014, Defendants filed their motion to transfer venue to the District of New Jersey. (Docket Entry 13.) This motion is currently pending before the Court.

DISCUSSION

The Court will first set forth the applicable legal standard on a motion to transfer venue before turning to Defendants' motion more specifically.

I. Legal Standard

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a district court, "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, ... may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought...." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). "The goal of Section 1404(a) is to prevent waste of time, energy and money and to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense." Blechman v. Ideal Health, Inc., 668 F.Supp.2d 399, 403 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). In deciding whether a transfer is warranted, courts consider several factors including:

(1) the convenience of the parties; (2) the convenience of witnesses; (3) the relative means of the parties; (4) the locus of operative facts and relative ease of access to sources of proof; (5) the attendance of witnesses; (6) the weight accorded the plaintiff's choice of forum; (7) calendar congestion; (8) the desirability of having the case tried by the forum familiar with the substantive law to be applied; (9) practical difficulties; and ...

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