United States District Court, S.D. New York
Prosper St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. Pro se plaintiff
Benjamin A. Currence Law Offices of Benjamin A. Currence St.
Thomas, U.S.V.I. For Thomson Reuters (GRC), Inc.
V. GÓMEZ DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the stipulation of the parties to transfer this
matter to the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.
February 6, 2015, Monica Prosper (“Prosper”)
commenced this action by filing a complaint in this Court. On
June 17, 2015, Prosper filed an amended complaint. The
amended complaint alleges five causes of action against
Prosper's previous employer, Thomson Reuters (GRC), Inc.
(“Reuters”): (1) employment discrimination on the
basis of race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); (2) employment
discrimination on the basis of age in violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”); (3)
negligence; (4) negligent and intentional infliction of
emotional distress; and (5) violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”).
is incorporated under Delaware law with its principal place
of business in New York. Though Prosper is currently a
citizen of the Virgin Islands, during the period of the
alleged discrimination, Prosper worked for Reuters out of an
office located in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New
August 14, 2015, Reuters filed a motion to dismiss this
matter for improper venue. Alternatively, Reuters asked the
Court to transfer this matter to the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York.
September 29, 2015, Prosper replied to Reuters's motion
to dismiss. Prosper indicated that she did not oppose the
motion insofar as it sought to transfer this matter. Prosper
also conceded that venue was improper in the Virgin Islands.
October 6, 2015, the parties filed a document captioned
“Stipulation and Request to Transfer Venue.”
See ECF No. 32. In that document, the parties
indicated that they “stipulate that . . . [t]his action
be transferred to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York and request that this matter be
transferred accordingly.” See Id. at 1. Later
that day, Reuters withdrew its motion to dismiss.
parties submitted a stipulation to transfer this matter to
the Southern District of New York. As inter-district
transfers may not be accomplished by mere stipulation of the
parties, see White v. ABCO Eng'g Corp., 199 F.3d
140, 144 (3d Cir. 1999), the Court will construe the
parties' stipulation as their consent to transfer
consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (“Section
1404(a)”). Thus, the Court need not determine whether
this matter “might have been brought” in the
Southern District of New York. See 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a). Even so, the Court must consider
“all relevant factors to determine whether on balance
the litigation would more conveniently proceed and the
interests of justice be better served by transfer to a
different forum.” Salovaara v. Jackson Nat. Life
Ins. Co., 246 F.3d 289, 298 n.5 (3d Cir.2001) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
end, the Court first considers the parties' choice. As
evidenced by their consent, all parties are amenable to
transfer to the Southern District of New York. That position
is not surprising as it is undisputed that all of the
relevant events occurred in New York County. Neither party
has indicated that they foresee any burden or inconvenience
in litigating this matter in New York. Additionally, there is
nothing in the record to suggest that any witness or document
would be unavailable in the Southern District of New York.
a federal court sitting in diversity or exercising
supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims applies the
choice of law rules of the forum state. See Specialty
Surfaces Int'l, Inc. v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 609
F.3d 223, 229 (3d Cir. 2010); BancOklahoma Mortg. Corp.
v. Capital Title Co., 194 F.3d 1089, 1103 (10th Cir.
1999). In the Virgin Islands, “‘the local law of
the state where the injury occurred determines the rights and
liabilities of the parties.'” Hoffman v.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, No. 2012-86, 2013 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 107011, at *22 (D.V.I. July 31, 2013) (quoting
Restatement (Second) Conflict of Laws § 146 (1971)).
Prosper's alleged injuries occurred in New York State. As
such, New York would provide the substantive law for
Prosper's supplemental claims if this matter were tried
in the Virgin Islands. If tried in New York, the local laws
of New York would also apply. See Sheldon v. PHH
Corp., 135 F.3d 848, 852 (2d Cir. 1998) (“[W]hen a
case has been transferred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a) . . . a court will apply the law of the transferor
forum, including that forum's choice of law
rules.”). For claims “in which state or
territorial law provides the substantive rules, there is an
advantage in having it applied by federal judges who are
familiar with the relevant law, and thus in trying the case
in a district of the state or territory whose law is to
govern.” Kendricks v. Hertz Corp., No. CIV.
2005-0164, 2008 WL 3914135, at *6 (D.V.I. Aug. 18, 2008). It
is certainly the case that the Southern District of New York
is more familiar with the laws of New York than a trial court
outside of New York. Thus, there is an advantage to having
this matter tried in New York.
in considering the local interests in adjudicating localized
controversies, “[t]he Court must be aware of the local
interests implicated by this lawsuit in the respective
districts or, more specifically, in the communities in which
they sit.” Id. at *7. All of the relevant
conduct in this matter is alleged to have occurred in New
York County, New ...