United States District Court, E.D. Virginia
B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.
dispute over insurance benefits stems from a denial of
benefits made by Defendants United of Omaha Life Insurance
Company and Mutual of Omaha (collectively,
“Defendants”) following the death of Plaintiff
Tracy Janosko (“Plaintiff”)’s husband. This
matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to
Transfer Venue to the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a) (“Defendants’ Motion” [Dkt. No.
6]). Plaintiff opposes the transfer. For the following
reasons, Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
resides at 2843 Meadow Lane, Falls Church, Virginia 22042.
(Compl. [Dkt. No. 1] ¶ 1.) Plaintiff was married to
Andrew Janosko (“Decedent”) until his death on
June 23, 2014. (Id. ¶ 7.) Prior to his death,
Decedent was employed by Packing Machinery Manufacturers
Institute (“PMMI”), located at 11911 Freedom
Drive, Suite 600, Reston, Virginia 20190. (Id.
¶ 8.) Through his employment with PMMI, Decedent
received coverage for accidental death and dismemberment
insurance benefits through an insurance policy (the
“Policy”) PMMI obtained from Defendants.
(Id. ¶¶ 9-10.) Plaintiff was named as the
beneficiary under the terms of Decedent’s Policy.
(Id. ¶ 11.)
22, 2014, while in a rental home in Florida, Decedent fell
down the stairs of the property, suffering fatal injuries.
(Id. ¶¶ 12-14.) He was later pronounced
dead at Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Florida on June
23, 2014. (Id. ¶ 16.) After Decedent’s
death, a claim for benefits under the Policy was submitted to
Defendants. (Id. ¶ 17.) On October 14, 2014,
Plaintiff received a letter from Defendants, in which
Defendants denied the claim for benefits under the accidental
death and dismemberment portion of the Policy. (Id.
¶ 18.) Defendants cited to a clause in the exclusion
section of the Policy which denied benefits for any loss
caused by the policy holder or which resulted of injuries
sustained while intoxicated. (Id. ¶ 19.) The
denial letter relied on toxicology reports, which Defendants
claimed proved that Decedent was intoxicated at the time he
received his injuries, and therefore, no benefits were to be
paid. (Id. ¶ 20.)
then brought suit under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (“ERISA”) in this District on February
26, 2016. (See Id. ¶¶ 23-26.) Plaintiff
claims that Defendants failed to “establish and follow
reasonable claims procedures in the denial of
[Decedent]’s Accidental Death benefits.”
(Id. ¶ 22.)
stated in the Complaint, Plaintiff brings her suit under
ERISA. Thus, the Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 29 U.S.C. §
the convenience of 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 or to any district or division to which all parties
have consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In contrast
to transfer of venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1406, where the
court finds the original venue improper, transfer of venue is
done under § 1404(a) “for the convenience of the
parties even if the court finds that the original venue is
proper.” Ferratex, Inc. v. U.S. Sewer & Drain,
Inc., 121 F.Supp.3d 432, 436 (D.N.J. 2015).
decision whether to transfer an action pursuant to §
1404(a) is within the Court’s discretion and is
reviewed for abuse of discretion. Kisano Trade &
Invest Ltd. v. Lemster, 737 F.3d 869, 872 (3d Cir. 2013)
(citing Lacey v. Cessna Aircraft Co., 862 F.2d 38,
43 (3d Cir. 1988)); Santi v. Nat’l Bus. Records
Mgmt., LLC, 722 F.Supp.2d 602, 606 (D.N.J. 2010). The
party seeking transfer of venue bears the burden of
establishing that transfer is warranted and must submit
“sufficient information in the record” to
facilitate the Court’s analysis. Hoffer v.
InfoSpace.com, Inc., 102 F.Supp.2d 556, 572 (D.N.J.
2000) (citations omitted). Before transferring venue, the
Court must articulate specific reasons for its decision.
Lawrence v. Xerox Corp., 56 F.Supp.2d 442, 451
(D.N.J. 1999) (internal quotations omitted).
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), the court must take into account a
wide range of public and private interests when determining
if a transfer to a new venue is appropriate. The Third
Circuit has identified the following private factors as being
significant to the § 1404(a) analysis:
 [P]laintiff’s forum preference as manifested in the
original choice;  the defendant’s preference; 
whether the claim arose elsewhere;  the convenience of the
parties as indicated by their relative physical and financial
condition;  the convenience of the witnesses-but only to
the extent that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for
trial in one of the fora; and  the location of books and
records (similarly limited to the extent that the files could
not be produced in the alternative forum).
Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d
Cir. 1995) (citations omitted). Among the public factors that