United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
SANDRA SPONCLER, as the personal representative of the Estate of GENE C. SPONCLER, deceased Plaintiff,
BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, f/k/a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Company Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE TO THE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
Barbara Jacobs Rothstein U.S. District Court Judge
Sandra Sponcler, the personal representative of the estate of
her husband Gene C. Sponcler (“Plaintiff”),
brings this negligence action against Defendant BNSF Railway
Company f/n/a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Company
(“Defendant”). Plaintiff alleges that her husband
was exposed to toxic substances during his 41-year career
with Defendant. She further alleges that Defendant was
negligent in its duty to provide her husband with a safe work
environment and that Defendant's negligence caused or
contributed to her husband's cancer, to which he
moves to transfer this case to the Eastern District of
Washington pursuant to 28 USC § 1404(a). It alleges that
the Eastern District is the location of: (1) the facts
underlying this lawsuit, (2) Plaintiff's husband's
work and home at the time of the alleged exposures, (3)
Plaintiff's current home, (3) all of her husband's
relevant medical treatment, and (4) the vast majority of
witness and evidence that will be used in this case.
Plaintiff does not oppose the motion.
reviewed the motion, the record of this case, and the
relevant legal authorities, the Court will grant the motion.
The reasoning for this Court's decision is set forth
husband worked at Defendant's Spokane, Washington
facility during his entire 41-year career with the railway.
His direct supervisors and co-workers also lived and worked
in or near Spokane County. See Winkeller Decl., Ex.
1. Plaintiff does not identify a single potential witness who
resides west of the Cascades in her initial disclosures and
responses to Defendant's First Set of Interrogatories and
Requests for Production. Id., Ex. 2, Plaintiff's
responses to Interrogatory Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, 19
(pp. 1-3, 5-10, 13-14, 19-20); and Ex. 3 (Plaintiff's
and her husband lived in Chattaroy, Washington, in the
Eastern District of Washington and Plaintiff continues to
live there now. Winkeller Decl., Ex. 1; Complaint ¶ 2,
Dkt. # 1 at p. 1. According to Plaintiff's initial
disclosures and her responses to Defendant's First Set of
Interrogatories and Requests for Production, Plaintiff's
husband was treated for his cancer exclusively in the Eastern
District. Winkeller Decl., Ex. 2, Plaintiff's answer to
Interrogatory No. 5 (page 7) and Ex. 3. In addition,
Defendant alleges that most of its witnesses are also likely
to be in the Eastern District. See, Winkeller Decl.,
district court may transfer any civil action to any other
district or division where it might have been brought or to
any district or division to which all parties have
consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The purpose of
this statute is to “prevent the waste ‘of time,
energy, and money' and ‘to protect litigants,
witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience
and expense.'” Amazon.com v. Cendant
Corp., 404 F.Supp.2d 1256, 1259 (W.D. Wash. 2005)
(quoting Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612 (1964).
The statute has two requirements: (1) that the district to
which defendants seek to transfer the action is one in which
the action might have been brought, and (2) that the transfer
be for the convenience of parties and witnesses, and in the
interest of justice. Id.
on the foregoing facts, transferring this action to the
Eastern District of Washington is clearly appropriate. There
is no dispute that the case could have been brought in the
Eastern District, that transferring the case to the Eastern
District would be convenient for all of the parties and
witnesses identified, and that the transfer would be in the
interest of justice. The facts, witnesses, and evidence in
this case are all centered around Spokane, Washington, where
Plaintiff's husband worked for more than 40 years, was
treated for his cancer, and remained until his death. This
case has no connection to the Western District of Washington
other than the fact that Plaintiff's local counsel is in
Seattle. Therefore, transferring this case to the Eastern
District is warranted under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
foregoing reasons, the Court HEREBY GRANTS Defendant's
Motion to Transfer Venue to the ...