United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
Wohlbach brings this action against Eric Ziady, Joseph N.
Shirley (collectively, the "Individual
Defendants"), and the University of Delaware ("the
University"), asserting several federal and state causes
of actions arising out of her employment as the head coach of
the women's softball team at the University. In the
instant motion, Defendants move to dismiss the amended
complaint ("Am. Compl") (Doc. 5) pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and (3). Doc. 17.
Wohlbach moves to transfer this case to the District of
Delaware pursuant to 28 U.S.C §§ 1404(a), 1406(a).
Doc. 20. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants'
motion to dismiss is GRANTED and Wohlbach's motion to
transfer venue is DENIED.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND 
times relevant to this dispute, Jamie Wohlbach was a Delaware
resident and was the head coach of the women's Softball
team at the University of Delaware. Am. Compl. ¶¶
6, 19. The University of Delaware operates exclusively in
Delaware and has no campuses in New York. Memorandum of Law
in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs
Amended Complaint ("Defs.' Mem.") (Doc. 18) at
1-2. At all times relevant to the amended complaint, Ziady
and Shirley were employees of the University. Id. at
alleges that during her employment, the University failed to
abide by the Title IX guidelines and discriminated against
her and the women's Softball team. Am. Compl. at 8,
9.Specifically, the University denied the
softball team the funding designated by the state of Delaware
for the program and applied it elsewhere. Id. at 9.
After Wohlbach complained about the misappropriation of this
funding, the Individual Defendants allegedly created a
hostile work environment and retaliated against her.
Id. ¶¶ 13, 16. The Individual Defendants
assigned her to ministerial duties, ostracized, mocked, and
ridiculed her, and solicited players' parents to complain
about her. Id. ¶¶ 13, 17. Wohlbach further
alleges that the University failed to compensate her for the
work performed and prevented her from taking assignments that
would have led to increased pay. Id. ¶ 28.
Wohlbach was paid less than the University's baseball
coach and her male successor as the softball coach.
Id. ¶¶ 14, 28. On July 31, 2015, the
University terminated Wohlbach's position as the head
coach of the women's softball team. Id. ¶
filed the complaint on July 31, 2017, see Compl.
(Doc. 1), and amended the complaint on October 30, 2017.
See Am. Compl. On February 12, 2018, Defendants
moved to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule
12(b)(2) and (3) of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc.
17. In response, Wohlbach moved to transfer the case to the
District of Delaware pursuant to 28 U.S.C §§
1404(a), 1406(a). Doc. 20.
Standards under Rules 12(b)(2) and (3)
legal standard for a motion to dismiss for improper venue is
the same as a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction." Casville Invs., Ltd. v. Kates,
12 Civ. 6968 (RA), 2013 WL 3465816, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. July 8,
2013) (citing Gulf Ins. Co. v. Glasbrenner, 417 F.3d
353, 355 (2d Cir. 2005)). "When a defendant challenges
either the jurisdiction or venue of the court, the plaintiff
bears the burden of showing that both are proper."
Id. (citing DiStefano v. Carozzi N. Am.,
Inc., 286 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2001); Savoy Senior
Hous. Corp. v. TRBC Ministries, 401 B.R. 589, 596
(S.D.N.Y. 2009)). To meet this burden, the plaintiff must
plead facts sufficient for a prima facie showing of
jurisdiction or venue. Glasbrenner, 417 F.3d at 355
(citing CutCo Indus, v. Naughton, 806 F.2d 361,
364-65 (2d Cir. 1986)).
diversity actions, personal jurisdiction is determined in
accordance with the law of the forum in which the federal
court sits. Sirius Am. Ins. Co. v. SCPIE Indem. Co.,
461 F.Supp.2d 155, 160 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). In determining
personal jurisdiction over a non-domiciliary, New York courts
engage in a two-step analysis. Chloe v. Queen Bee of
Beverly Hills, LLC, 616 F.3d 158, 163 (2d Cir. 2010)
(citing Best Van Lines, Inc. v. Walker, 490 F.3d
239, 243-44 (2d Cir. 2007)). The first step is the
application of New York's long-arm statute. Id.
If the exercise of personal jurisdiction is deemed
appropriate pursuant to the long-arm statute, the second step
is to determine whether personal jurisdiction comports with
the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.
Id. at 164. Under New York's long-arm statute,
the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a
non-resident defendant who: "(1) transacts any business
within the state or contracts anywhere to supply goods or
services in the state; or (2) commits a tortious act within
the state . . .; or (3) commits a tortious act without the
state causing injury to person or property within the state .
. .; or (4) owns, uses or possesses any real property
situated within the state." N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 302(a)
is proper in the chosen forum if: (1) at least one defendant
resides in the district and all the defendants reside in the
same state in which the district is located; (2) a
"substantial part" of the events giving rise to the
claim occurred in the district; or (3) the defendant is
subject to personal jurisdiction in the district and
"there is no district in which an action may otherwise
be brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Venue is improper
when a defendant does not reside in the state at issue, even
if a co-defendant does reside in the district in which the
suit is brought. Gerety v. Sunrise Express, Inc., 95
Civ. 2090 (HB), 1996 WL 19047, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 1996)
(citing Camp v. Gress, 250 U.S. 308, 315 (1919)).
Motion to Transfer
§ 1404(a) and § 1406(a) allow a case to be
transferred to another federal district in which the action
might have been brought. See 28 U.S.C §§
1404(a), 1406(a). In other words, the receiving court must be
a proper venue and must possess personal jurisdiction over
the defendants. See Carlton Int'l, PLC. v. American
Concord Techage, Inc., 94 Civ. 3750 (JFK), 1995 WL
450274, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. July 31, 1995) (holding that §
1404(a) does not permit transfer to a district with which the
defendant has no contact (citing Foster-Milburn Co. v.
Knight,181 F.2d 949, 952 (2d Cir. 1950))); see also
Gibbons v. Fronton,661 F.Supp.2d 429, 434 (S.D.N.Y.
2009) (holding that § 1406(a) only permits transfer to ...