United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE SUSAN M. BRNOVICH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Geneva Woods Pharmacy LLC's
(“Geneva Woods”) Motion to Dismiss or Transfer
Venue. (Doc. 12, “Mot.” or “Motion”.)
Plaintiff TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp
(“TriWest”) responded and Defendant replied.
(Doc. 13, “Resp.”; Doc. 15, “Repl.”.)
Neither party requested oral argument and the Court elects to
resolve the Motion without it. See LRCiv 7.2(f).
Defendant moves to dismiss for improper venue under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) and 28 U.S.C. §§
1391(b) and 1406(a), or alternatively, to transfer the case
to the District of Alaska under 28 U.S.C. §§
1406(a) or 1404(a). (Mot. at 1.) Having found venue improper
in the District of Arizona, the Court grants Geneva
Woods' Motion as it relates to transferring the case to
the District of Alaska under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
is a United States Department of Veteran's Affairs
(“VA”) contractor incorporated in Delaware with
its principal place of business in Phoenix, Arizona. (Doc. 1,
“Compl.” ¶¶ 1, 7.) In this capacity,
TriWest contracted with Geneva Woods to provide home infusion
therapy services to eligible veterans in Alaska.
(Id. ¶ 9.) Per the agreement, Geneva Woods
accepted the amount payable under the Alaska VA Medical
Center's published fee schedule as payment for its
services. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) Geneva Woods
subsequently provided services to eligible Alaska veterans
and submitted payment claims to TriWest's third-party
payment administrator, WPS Health Solutions
(“WPS”). (Id. ¶ 13.) WPS is in
Madison, Wisconsin. (Doc. 12-1 5.) When Geneva Woods
submitted its payment claims, WPS was authorized to pay
claims on TriWest's behalf, but it could not modify
payment terms. (Compl. ¶ 13.) Geneva Woods is an Alaska
limited liability company with its principal place of
business in Anchorage, Alaska. (Id. ¶ 3.)
impetus for this lawsuit is that TriWest discovered an
alleged error in WPS' claims payment system in 2018,
resulting in $1, 338, 403.43 of overpayments to Geneva Woods
for services rendered to eligible Alaska veterans.
(Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) TriWest demanded Geneva
Woods return the overpayment, but it refused. (Id.
¶¶ 16-18.) TriWest then filed its Complaint against
Geneva Woods alleging breach of contract and unjust
enrichment for overbilling TriWest and refusing to return the
overpayment. (See Id. ¶¶ 19-32.) At issue
here, the Complaint alleges that “[v]enue is proper in
this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because a
substantial portion of the events giving rise to
TriWest's claims occurred in this district and Defendants
are subject to the Court's personal jurisdiction with
respect to this action.” (Id. ¶ 5.)
Defendant disagrees, and moves to dismiss for improper venue,
or in the alternative to transfer the case to the District of
Alaska. (Mot. at 1.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3), a party may move to
dismiss an action that has been brought in an improper venue.
When venue is improper, the Court must either dismiss the
case or, “if it be in the interest of justice, transfer
[the] case to any district or division in which it could have
been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). When venue is
proper, the Court may nevertheless also transfer the case
“[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the
interest of justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
1391 governs venue for civil actions in federal district
courts. 28 U.S.C. § 1391. That statute requires civil
actions 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
jurisdiction with respect to such action.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
defendant challenges venue, the plaintiff bears the burden of
showing that venue is proper. Piedmont Label Co. v. Sun
Garden Packing Co., 598 F.2d 491, 496 (9th Cir. 1979).
If venue is improper, the decision to dismiss or transfer a
case under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) or transfer under §
1404(a) lies within the district court's discretion.
See Murphy v. Schneider Nat'l, Inc., 362 F.3d
1133, 1136-37 (9th Cir. 2004) (reviewing district court's
transfer under 28 U.S.C. 1406(a)); see also Decker Coal
Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 842 (9th
Cir. 1986) (analyzing district court's transfer under 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a)).
Court first evaluates whether venue is proper in the District
of Arizona under § 1391; then, if venue is improper,
whether dismissal or transfer is appropriate under §
1406(a), or if venue is ...