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Hudson Associates, LLC v. Aerofil Technology, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Western Division

September 12, 2017

Hudson Associates, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Aerofil Technology, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES G. CARR, SR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         The complaint in this case, originally filed in the Southern District of Florida, alleges that the defendant, Aerofil Technology, Inc. (Aerofil), fraudulently billed the plaintiff, Hudson Associates, LLC (Hudson), for Hudson's services pursuant to a services contract. The Southern District of Florida Court, finding it had no personal jurisdiction over Aerofil, entered an order dismissing the complaint.

         That Court also considered and denied Aerofil's motion to transfer the case-though dismissed-to the Eastern District of Missouri, where Aerofil is located and conducts its principal business. Instead, the Court granted Hudson's motion to transfer the case to this District.

         In granting Hudson's motion and denying Aerofil's motion, that Court simply stated:

the Court finds that justice requires transferring this matter to a federal court that could have originally exercised jurisdiction over this case. See 28 U.S. Code § 1631. Plaintiff has moved to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, arguing that the Defendant, in its filings with this Court, has essentially conceded that Ohio courts could exercise personal jurisdiction over it. The Defendant moved to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, arguing that Missouri has a closer relationship to the underlying allegations and that Missouri would be more convenient for the majority of witnesses.
It is well-established that the “plaintiff is the master of the complaint and has the right to select [the] forum.” Ott v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. CIV.A 509CV00215HL, 2010 WL 582576, at *1 (M.D. Ga. Feb. 16, 2010) (citing Crowe v. Coleman, 113 F.3d 1536, 1537 (11th Cir. 1997)). Therefore, having found that this matter could have been originally filed in Ohio, see Ohio Rev. Stat. 2307.382, the undersigned will honor Plaintiff's request to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Northern District Court of Ohio. Defendant's argument that transfer to the Northern District of Ohio is inappropriate is disingenuous at best-especially after asserting in its Motion to Dismiss that it directed substantial business activities at the State of Ohio.

(Doc. 50) (internal references to the record omitted) (“Transfer Order”).

         Pending is Aerofil's Renewed Motion to Transfer Venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to the Eastern District of Missouri, (Doc. 99), which Hudson opposes. (Doc. 100).

         For the reasons that follow, I grant the motion.

         Discussion

         1. Law of the Case Doctrine

         To begin with, I reject Hudson's contention that the law of the case doctrine keeps me from considering whether transfer is appropriate in light of the standard and factors that § 1404 mandate.

         The Sixth Circuit has recently restated the components of the law of the case doctrine:

Application of this doctrine is “limited to those questions necessarily decided in the earlier [decision.]” Hanover Ins. Co. v. Am. Eng'g Co., 105 F.3d 306, 312 (6th Cir. 1997). “[T]he phrase ‘necessarily decided' . . . describes all issues that were ‘fully briefed and squarely decided' in an earlier [decision].” Vander ...

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