Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MVT Services, LLC v. Great West Casualty Co.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

May 29, 2019

MVT SERVICES, LLC d/b/a/ MESILLA VALLEY TRANSPORTATION, Plaintiff,
v.
GREAT WEST CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant,

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THE HONORABLE GREGORY J. FOURATT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant's “Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3), or, in the alternative, Motion to Transfer Venue” [ECF 12] (“Motion”). The Motion is fully briefed. See ECFs 12, 15, 20. After careful consideration of the pertinent law and the briefing, the Court will DENY the Motion in its entirety. For the reasons discussed below, the Court concludes that venue in the District of New Mexico is proper and that Defendant has failed to show that this District is an inconvenient forum.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This lawsuit stems from a declaratory judgment action filed in the El Paso Division of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. There, Plaintiff sought to enforce its rights under a worker's compensation and employer's liability policy. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant failed to defend Plaintiff, as required by the policy, against a pending liability claim. Ultimately, the parties agreed that Plaintiff was entitled to Defendant's coverage and, per the parties' stipulation, the case was dismissed with prejudice.

         As a result of this agreement, Plaintiff moved to adjudicate the pending liability claim under the Texas Workers Compensation Statute, which would have obliged Defendant to defend and indemnify Plaintiff. A Texas state trial court, however, denied Plaintiff's motion, forcing Plaintiff to instead proceed under a tort theory of liability. Plaintiff ultimately settled the underlying liability claim for $1 million.

         This turn of events resulted in Plaintiff filing the instant lawsuit. Plaintiff alleges that had Defendant initially “accepted coverage of the [liability claim] at the time of [Plaintiff's] tender, [Defendant] could have invoked the exclusive remedy of workers' compensation benefits” rather than allowing the claim to proceed under a tort theory. Compl. 7, ECF 1. Moreover, Plaintiff alleges this failure contributed to it settling the lawsuit for $500, 000 more than the policy's deductible and also forced it to incur considerable defense costs-costs that Defendant has refused to reimburse. Id. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant's conduct breached the underlying insurance policy and violated Texas statutory law relating to insurance practices.

         Defendant has not filed an answer addressing these allegations. Rather, Defendant has moved to dismiss the case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) for improper venue, or in the alternative, to transfer venue for convenience purposes under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

         II. SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS

         Defendant first contends that the District of New Mexico is an improper venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1) and (2). Specifically, Defendant argues that it does not “reside” in this district for purposes of § 1391(b)(1) and that, under § 1391(b)(2), a substantial part of the events or omissions underlying the lawsuit occurred in the Western District of Texas. Mot. 3-4. As a result, Defendant argues this Court must dismiss this case or, in the interest of justice, transfer venue to the Western District of Texas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406. Id. at 4. Alternatively, in the event this Court finds the District of New Mexico to be a proper forum, Defendant nevertheless argues that this venue is inconvenient and requests a transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Mot. 5, 7.

         Plaintiff challenges Defendant's interpretation of the governing venue statute and its conclusion that venue is improper. Resp. 3-4. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that whether a corporate defendant “resides” in a district is not solely determined by its state of incorporation or where it maintains its principal place of business, but also by where the corporate defendant is subject to a court's personal jurisdiction. Id. To that end, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is subject to this Court's personal jurisdiction. Id.

         Additionally, Plaintiff emphasizes that a substantial part of the events or omissions underlying this lawsuit took place in New Mexico, making this district a proper venue. Id. at 5. Consequently, Plaintiff argues, venue is proper and a § 1406 dismissal or transfer would be inappropriate. Plaintiff finishes by contending that Defendant has not carried its burden under § 1404(a) and, therefore, is not entitled to a convenience transfer. Id. at 7-11.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. VENUE

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) allows a party to move to dismiss for “improper venue.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3); see Atl. Marine Const. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for W. Dist. of Texas, 571 U.S. 49 (2013). “This question-whether venue is ‘wrong' or ‘improper'-is generally governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391.” Id. at 55. That section “govern[s] the venue of all civil actions brought in district courts of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391. A civil action may be brought in:

(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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.