United States District Court, S.D. New York
Hoffman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Defendants' motion to transfer venue
(ECF No. 12), filed on October 13, 2016. Plaintiff filed a
response (ECF No. 13) on October 28, 2016, and Defendants
filed a reply (ECF No. 16) on November 21, 2016.
case arises out of an insurance dispute between Plaintiff,
Arlene L. Lizaso, and Defendants, Provident Life and Casualty
Insurance Company (PLC), Provident Life and Accident
Insurance Company (PLA), and Unum Group (Unum). PLC issued
Plaintiff an insurance policy while she was living and
employed in New York as a registered nurse. Based on an
injury claim brought by Plaintiff, Defendants began paying
disability payments to Plaintiff in June, 2011. Defendants
continued payment for full disability until July, 2013, and
for partial disability until August, 2014, when they
terminated benefits upon their finding that Plaintiff was
fully able to return to work.
January, 2015, Plaintiff moved to Nevada, and in February,
2015 she filed an appeal of Defendants' decision to
terminate her benefits. Defendants denied her appeal, first
in August, 2015, and again in May, 2016. Plaintiff then
brought a claim against Defendants in the District Court for
Clark County, Nevada, which was subsequently removed to the
District Court of Nevada.
now request that this case be transferred to the District
Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that the
subject matter of the case is more strongly connected to New
York, that New York law will apply, and that the convenience
of the witnesses and parties would be better served by
litigating the case in New York. Plaintiff opposes transfer,
arguing that her choice of forum deserves deference, that the
convenience of the parties favors Nevada, and that Nevada law
Court has authority under 28 U.S.C. § 1404 to transfer a
civil action "[f]or the convenience of parties and
witnesses, in the interest of justice" to any other
district where it might have been brought. District courts
have broad discretion "to adjudicate motions for
transfer according to an individualized, case-by-case
consideration of convenience and fairness." Stewart
Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 23 (1988)
(See also Jones v. GNCFranchising, Inc., 211 F.3d
495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000)). To determine whether a change of
venue is warranted, the Court considers "(1) the
location where the relevant agreements were negotiated and
executed, (2) the state that is most familiar with the
governing law, (3) the plaintiffs choice of forum, (4) the
respective parties' contacts with the forum, (5) the
contacts relating to the plaintiffs cause of action in the
chosen forum, (6) the differences in the costs of litigation
in the two forums, (7) the availability of compulsory process
to compel attendance of unwilling non-party witnesses, and
(8) the ease of access to sources of proof."
Jones, 211 F.3d at 498.
both parties concede that this action might have been brought
in the Southern District of New York. (Mot. at 3,
Resp. at 6). Therefore, the only remaining questions
for the Court are whether the convenience of the parties and
witnesses would be served by transfer, and whether transfer
serves the interest of justice. The Court will consider the
eight factors articulated in Jones to answer these
The location where the relevant agreements were negotiated
parties concede that Plaintiffs insurance policy was
negotiated, executed and delivered while she was living and
working in New York. This factor weighs strongly in favor of
transfer to New York.
The state that is most familiar with the governing
parties agree that Nevada tends to follow the Restatement
(Second) of Conflict of Laws in determining choice-of-law
questions involving insurance contracts. Under the
Restatement, the validity of a life insurance contract is
generally determined by the local law of the state where the
insured was domiciled at the time the policy was applied for.
Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws § 192 (1971).
An exception to this generalization may be warranted when
another state has a more significant relationship to the
transaction and the parties. Id. Here, both parties
agree that Plaintiff was domiciled in New York when the
policy was executed.
because she was domiciled in Nevada when she filed her
appeals, and when Defendants ultimately denied those appeals,
Plaintiff argues that Nevada has a more significant
relationship to the transaction and the parties than New
York. Under this view, the exception noted above might apply.
Defendants respond that Plaintiffs claim arose upon
termination of her benefits, ...