Florida Court Discusses Grounds for a Change of Venue

Generally, a plaintiff has the right to choose where to file a personal injury case. Even if a court has jurisdiction over a matter, however, a plaintiff’s chosen forum may be overturned if it is determined that another venue is more appropriate. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida personal injury case in which the court determined that the action should have been brought in Georgia and ultimately transferred the case. If you were hurt due to the careless acts of another party, it is prudent to speak to a diligent Florida personal injury attorney regarding your rights and what you must demonstrate to recover damages.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that while the plaintiff was staying at a hotel in Georgia, she slipped and fell on a wet bathroom floor, which caused her to suffer a cut lip and shoulder injuries. She subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants, which were the company that owned the hotel, and the parent corporation and franchisor of the hotel chain. The defendants are both Delaware corporations. The defendants then filed motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for lack of jurisdiction, or in the alternative, to transfer venue to the district court in Georgia in the jurisdiction where the defendant hotel was located.

Grounds for Transferring Venue

Upon review, the court noted that while the plaintiff alleged in her complaint that the venue was proper because she resided in Florida, a plaintiff’s domicile is not a basis for venue. The court went on to explain that, in the interest of justice and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1404(a), the action should be transferred to a Georgia court.

Specifically, the law provides that in the interest of justice, and for the convenience of any witnesses and the parties to the case, a district court may choose to transfer a civil matter before it to any other division or district where the case might have been pursued or one to which all of the parties have consented.

In determining whether to transfer venue, a court will first assess whether the matter could have been filed in another court. If so, the court will then weigh nine factors to evaluate whether the case should be transferred, including the location of any relevant documents, the convenience of the witnesses and the parties, the location of operative facts, and the ability to compel the attendance of uncooperative witnesses. The court will also assess the forum’s familiarity with the applicable law, trial efficiency, and the weight accorded the plaintiff’s forum. In the subject case, the court found that each factor weighed in favor of the transfer of the action. Thus, the case was transferred to a Georgia court.

Meet with an Experienced Florida Attorney

When a company operates its business in multiple states, a party injured by the company’s negligence may be able to pursue claims against it in a variety of jurisdictions, but a court may decline to maintain the plaintiff’s chosen venue. If you suffered harm due to an accident caused by the reckless acts of a company that operates in Florida, the experienced Florida personal injury attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can assess the circumstances surrounding your injury and develop a strategy designed to help you pursue a successful result. You can contact us at 800-283-7442 or through the form online to set up a conference.

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