Court Transfers Sexual Harassment Case to Minnesota, Under FRCP 1404

In Lapushner v. Admedus Ltd et al, 2020 WL 777332 (S.D.N.Y. 2020), a sexual harassment case, the court held that Minnesota, not New York, was the proper venue for this case. The court granted defendant’s motion to transfer venue under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1404(a).

From the decision:

“The location of operative events is a primary factor in determining a § 1404(a) motion.” Eres N. V. v. Citgo Asphalt Refining Co., 605 F.Supp.2d 473, 481 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). The majority of the discrimination and harassment alleged by Plaintiff occurred in Minnesota, including the dinners at which Plaintiff alleges she was harassed and meetings between her and Admedus executive officers. Def. Memo at 10–11. Moreover, any retaliatory measures taken by Admedus were coordinated and implemented from its corporate headquarters in Minnesota. The only alleged discrimination and harassment in New York was Defendant Palianto’s comments referring to Plaintiff’s business contact as Plaintiff’s “boyfriend.” Pl. Memo at 10.

Plaintiff argues that the effects of the retaliation by Admedus were felt by Plaintiff in New York, since she was primarily working in New York and was terminated from her employment there. Id. at 10–11. However, “[t]o determine the locus of operative facts, a court must look to the site of the events from which the claim arises.” Dickerson v. Novartis Corp., 315 F.R.D. 18, 30 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). Although the impact of the alleged discrimination was partly felt in New York, most of the events from which Plaintiff’s discrimination and harassment claims arise—including the dinner meetings at which she was harassed, travel reimbursements decisions, e-mails, and the decision to terminate her—originated or were made in the District of Minnesota. Thus, this factor weighs in favor of Defendants.

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