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.

Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association v. Southwest Airlines Co.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

April 18, 2017

Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, Plaintiff,
v.
Southwest Airlines Company, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Honorable G. Murray Snow United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Southwest Airlines Company's (“Southwest”) Motion to Transfer, (Doc. 13). For the following reasons, the Court grants the Defendant's motion and transfers this action to the Northern District of Texas.

         BACKGROUND

         This action arises from Southwest's alleged violations of the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”) in current negotiations to amend its collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (“AMFA”). (Doc. 18 at 4.) The prior CBA expired in August of 2016, and the current negotiations began soon after. (Id.) Amendments to a CBA are governed by Section 2 of the RLA. See 45 U.S.C. § 152. The RLA imposes a duty to bargain in good faith. See 45 U.S.C. § 152. It also requires carriers to confer and negotiate with the employees' chosen representatives, and not to interfere with the employees' choice of representatives. See Id. AMFA's Amended Complaint alleges that Southwest is violating these requirements. (Doc. 18.)

         The overwhelming majority of the negotiations and mediations at issue in this case, forty-four sessions out of fifty, occurred in Dallas, Texas. (Doc. 13 at 2.) Only one of these sessions occurred in Arizona. (Id.) Southwest employs approximately 2, 400 employees that are represented by AMFA, and 291 of these work and reside in Phoenix. (Doc. 13 at 4; Doc. 22 at 10.) By contrast, 743 of these employees work and reside in Dallas. (Doc. 13 at 4.) The primary mediator in this case resides in Texas, and Southwest is headquartered in Dallas. (Doc. 13 at 8, 12.) AMFA is headquartered in Colorado. (Doc. 13 at 8.) There are approximately ten AMFA representatives that are highly involved in these negotiations and one of them-Michael Young-resides in Mesa, Arizona. (Doc. 22 at 5; Doc. 13 at 8; Doc. 27 at 1.) The others travel to negotiations from various parts of the country. (Doc. 13 at 8.) Southwest's negotiation team resides in Dallas. (Doc. 13 at 4.)

         In light of the Defendant's ties to Texas, the Defendant filed the current motion to transfer soon after the AMFA filed its complaint. The matter is now fully briefed and properly before this Court. (Docs. 13, 22, & 27.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         “For the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, 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). “[S]ection 1404(a) requires two findings-that the district court is one where the action might have been brought and that the convenience of parties and witnesses in the interest of justice favor transfer.” Hatch v. Reliance Ins. Co., 758 F.2d 409, 414 (9th Cir.1985). “Under § 1404(a), the district court has discretion to adjudicate motions for transfer according to an individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness.” Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir.2000) (internal quotations omitted). The party making the transfer motion has the burden of showing that transfer is proper. See Id. at 499 (holding that district court “did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to transfer” because the defendant had “failed to meet its burden of showing that Pennsylvania was the more appropriate forum for the action”).

         In making this determination, the district court may consider a variety of factors, including: the convenience of the parties, the relative financial burdens, the convenience of witnesses, the availability of compulsory process to compel unwilling witness attendance, the availability of witnesses and their live testimony at trial, the ease of access to sources of proof, the differences in the costs of litigation in the two forums, contacts with the chosen forum, jurisdiction over the parties, the state most familiar with the governing law, the relevant public policy of the forum state, the existence of any forum selection clause, and the relative docket congestion of the courts. See 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); Jones, 211 F.3d at 498-99; Sparling v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 639 (9th Cir.1988); Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir.1986); Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 472 F.Supp.2d 1183, 1196 (S.D.Cal.2007).

         II. Analysis

         A plaintiff's choice of forum is generally given great deference.[1] Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986). Therefore, a defendant seeking transfer “must make a strong showing of inconvenience to warrant upsetting the plaintiff's choice of forum.” Id. The parties agree that this case could have been brought in the Northern District of Texas. (Doc. 13 at 6-7; Doc. 22 at 3.) Thus, the only dispute is whether the weight of the factors indicates that the Plaintiff's choice of forum should be set aside due to the inconvenience caused to the Defendant by litigating this case in the District of Arizona. For the following reasons, the Court finds that transfer is appropriate.

         A. The Convenience of the Parties

         Southwest is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. (Doc. 13 at 8.) Southwest's labor relations department, including those currently working on the pending negotiations with the AMFA, work out of the Dallas office as well. (Id.) Furthermore, the primary mediator for the negotiations and mediations at issue resides in Texas. It is apparent that it ...


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.