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Verint Systems Inc. v. Envision Telephony, Inc.

United States District Court, Western District of Washington, Seattle

February 23, 2015

VERINT SYSTEMS INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ENVISION TELEPHONY INC, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR RETRANSFER OF VENUE

Marsha J. Pechman, United States District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Verint Systems Inc. and Verint Americas Inc.’s ("Plaintiffs") motion for retransfer of venue back to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ("NDGA"). (Dkt. No. 65.) Having reviewed Plaintiffs’ motion and the related record, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’ motion for retransfer of venue with prejudice.

Background

Plaintiffs sued Defendant for patent infringement, filing their case in the NDGA where Verint Americas is located. (Dkt. No. 1 at 1–2.) Verint Systems is the parent company of Verint Americas, located in New York, (id. at 1), and Defendant is a Washington corporation, located in Seattle. (Dkt. No. 67 at 5.) Defendant moved the NDGA to transfer venue to this District for convenience pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Dkt. No. 10.) After the parties briefed the NDGA on the matter-including a response, reply, and surreply-the NDGA granted the motion to transfer to the Western District of Washington. (Dkt. No. 52.)

Plaintiffs then petitioned the Federal Circuit for a Writ of Mandamus, seeking to vacate the NDGA’s transfer order. (Dkt. No. 65-1.) The Federal Circuit denied mandamus because "it is ordinarily the proper course for the party to ask the district court that currently maintains jurisdiction to retransfer the case to the transferor court." (Id. at 2.) Because this Court currently has jurisdiction, Plaintiffs move the Court to retransfer the case back to the NDGA. (Dkt. No. 66-1.)

Discussion

I. Motion for Retransfer

A. Legal Standard

By moving to retransfer the case, Plaintiffs ask the Court to revisit an issue that a sister court already decided. The law of the case doctrine suggests “when a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case." Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816 (1988). The doctrine promotes finality and judicial efficiency by not reopening settled issues. Id. "[T]he policies apply with even greater force to transfer decisions than to decisions of substantive law" because the transferee court could send litigants in a vicious cycle of litigation over venue. Id. While the court has the power to revisit an issue, it is a discretionary power that should only be used if "(1) the decision is clearly erroneous and its enforcement would work a manifest injustice, (2) intervening controlling authority makes reconsideration appropriate, or (3) substantially different evidence was adduced at a subsequent trial." Old Pers. v. Brown, 312 F.3d 1036, 1039 (9th Cir. 2002). By arguing that a sister court clearly erred, the movant must show, not that the ruling "was wrong, but that it was clearly wrong." Leslie Salt Co. v. United States, 55 F.3d 1388, 1393 (9th Cir. 1995). Therefore, if the transferee court finds that the transferor court’s ruling is plausible-regardless of whether the transferee court agrees-there has been no clear error. See id. at 1394.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), district courts have broad discretion to transfer cases. A district court may transfer any civil action "to any other district or division where it might have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The statute is intended to give district courts discretion to adjudicate motions for transfer by providing "individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness." Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622 (1964). In the Eleventh Circuit, a court facing a motion to transfer may consider and weigh nine factors:

(1) [T]he convenience of the witnesses; (2) the location of relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (3) the convenience of the parties; (4) the locus of operative facts; (5) the availability of process to compel the attendance of unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative means of the parties; (7) a forum's familiarity with the governing law; (8) the weight accorded a plaintiff's choice of forum; and (9) trial efficiency and the interests of justice, based on the totality of the circumstances.

Manuel v. Convergys Corp., 430 F.3d 1132, 1135 n.1 (11th Cir. 2005). On appeal, the reviewing court uses an abuse of discretion standard, affording substantial deference to the district court’s ruling. Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 257 (1981).

B. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Retransfer

In light of the law of the case doctrine and the extensive briefing in front of the NDGA, Plaintiffs fail to persuade the Court that it ...


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