United States District Court, S.D. New York
HELENDA KRIZEK, Birth Mother of BIANCA HELEN KRIZEK DECEDENT, Plaintiff,
QUEENS MEDICAL CENTER; HAWAII RESIDENCY PROGRAM HRP; HAWAII CORONER; DR. MATTHEW DUMOUCHEL; DR. NOBUHIRO ARIYOSHI; DR. ITTIKORN SPANUCHART; DR. WENDY W. HSU; DR. HAO CHIH HO; DR. CHRISTOPHER HAPPY; DR. T. SCOTT GALLACHER, are named and sued in their official & individual capacity, Defendant.
G. GARDEPHE, U.S.D.J.
se Plaintiff lives in Manhattan and asserts state law claims
pursuant to this Court's diversity
jurisdiction. Defendants are the Queens Medical Center
in Honolulu, Hawaii ("the Hospital"); the Hawaii
Residency Program - a "non-for profit corporation
[based in Honolulu, Hawaii] that supports medical education
and training for medical residents in Hawaii";
physicians who are, or were, employed at the Hospital
(Defendants Matthew Dumouchel, Nobuhiro Ariyoshi, Ittikorn
Spanuchart, Wendy Hsu, Hao Chih Ho, and Scott Gallacher); the
"Hawaii Coroner"; and the Chief Medical Examiner of
the Hawaii Coroner's Office (Defendant Christopher
Happy). (See Cmplt. (Dkt. No. 1) ¶¶ 3-14)
Complaint alleges that Plaintiff is the "birth
mother" of Bianca Helen Krizek and that Plaintiffs
daughter died while being treated at the Hospital.
(Id. ¶¶ 3, 19-86) The Complaint asserts claims
of negligence, fraudulent concealment, and
nonfeasance/misfeasance/malfeasance on behalf of Plaintiff
and her daughter arising out of the treatment her daughter
received at the Hospital and the subsequent investigation
conducted by the Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office. (See
id. ¶¶ 19-104)
reasons stated below, this action will be transferred to the
United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.
the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), unless
otherwise provided by law, a federal civil action may be
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if
all defendants are residents of the State in which the
district is located; (2) a judicial district in which a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is
the subject of the action is situated; or (3) if there is no
district in which an action may otherwise be brought as
provided in this section, any judicial district in which any
defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction
with respect to such action.
§ 1391(c), a "natural person" resides in the
district where the person is domiciled, and any other
"entity with the capacity to sue and be sued," if a
defendant, resides in any judicial district where it is
subject to personal jurisdiction with respect to the civil
action in question. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c)(1), (2).
the Complaint alleges that the Defendant entities are located
in Hawaii, and that all of the individual Defendants are
employees of the Hospital or the Hawaii Coroner's Office.
(Cmplt. (Dkt. No. 1) ¶¶5-14) From these
allegations, it is a fair inference that all of the
Defendants were or are residents of Hawaii.
based on the Complaint's allegations, the events and/or
omissions giving rise to Plaintiffs claims occurred in
Hawaii. (See Cmplt. (Dkt. No. 1) ¶¶ 3-14,
19-89) Accordingly, pursuant to § 1391(b)(2), the United
States District Court for the District of Hawaii is a proper
venue for this action. See 28 U.S.C. § 91.
Plaintiff does not allege that the Defendants reside in this
judicial district, or that a substantial part of the events
or omissions underlying her claims arose in this judicial
district, venue is not proper in this district under either
§ 1391(b)(1) or (2).
venue were proper in this District, however, courts are
authorized to transfer claims "[f]or the convenience of
the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice."
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). "District courts have broad
discretion in making determinations of convenience under
Section 1404(a) and notions of convenience and fairness are
considered on a case-by-case basis." D.H. Blair
& Co. v. Gottdiener. 462 F.3d 95, 106 (2d Cir.
2006). Moreover, courts may transfer cases sua
sponte. See Cento v. Pearl Arts & Craft
Supply Inc., No. 03 Civ. 2424 (LAK), 2003 WL 1960595, at
*1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2003) ("Courts have an independent
institutional concern to see to it that the burdens of
litigation that is unrelated to the forum that a party
chooses are not imposed unreasonably on jurors and judges who
have enough to do in determining cases that are appropriately
before them. The power of district courts to transfer cases
under Section 1404(a) sua sponte therefore is well
established."); see also Lead Indus. Ass'n. Inc.
v. OSHA. 610 F.2d 70, 79 n.17 (2d Cir. 1979) (noting
that the "broad language of 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)
would seem to permit a court to order transfer sua
determining whether transfer is appropriate, courts consider
the following factors: (1) the convenience of witnesses; (2)
the convenience of the parties; (3) the locus of operative
facts; (4) the availability of process to compel the
attendance of the unwilling witnesses; (5) the location of
relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources
of proof; (6) the relative means of the parties; (7) the
forum's familiarity with the governing law; (8) the
weight accorded to the plaintiff's choice of forum; (9)
trial efficiency; and (10) the interest of justice, based on
the totality of circumstances. Keitt v. N.Y. City,
882 F.Supp.2d 412, 458-59 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); see also N.Y
Marine and Gen. Ins. Co. v. LaFarge N. Am.. Inc., 599
F.3d 102, 112 (2d Cir. 2010) (setting forth similar factors).
§ 1404(a), transfer of this action is appropriate. As
discussed above, the events underlying Plaintiff's claims
occurred in Hawaii, nearly all of the Defendants currently
reside there, and Hawaii law will govern Plaintiff's
claims. In addition, it is likely that relevant documents and
witnesses are located in Hawaii. Although Plaintiff's
choice of forum is a factor for the Court's
consideration, it is entitled to little weight here given
that none of the relevant acts and/or omissions occurred in
this District. See, e.g., Tillery v. NYS Office
of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Servs.. No. 13 Civ.
0035 (CM), 2013 WL 6405326, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 5, 2013)
("Considering the factors, particularly the most
important factors of the convenience to the parties,
witnesses, and the location of the operative facts,
Plaintiff's choice of forum is outweighed. The case is
transferred[.]"); Joyner v. Cont'l Cas.