No Venue Discovery For You

If you don’t get the “Seinfeld” reference, I can’t help you.

The court first denied the plaintiff’s motion to strike the motion for noncompliance with Judge Pulliam’s recent standing order regarding motions to dismiss.  It then denied the requested venue discovery and granted the alternative relief requested in the motion to dismiss.

This is another Waco patent case being handled by a judge from another division, here Judge Jason Pulliam of San Antonio.  The Standing Order at issue was entered by Judge Pulliam last October, and provides parties with an opportunity to amend their pleadings once before the court considers a 12(b)(6) motion.  After noting that he has had few opportunities to address the “fairly recent” standing order, Judge Pulliam noted that while the plaintiff did have an arguable basis that the broad language of the order supports its position that the defendant had not complied with its provisions, “the context and structure of the Standing Order completely negate that argument.”  Specifically, the language the plaintiff was relying on dealt with 12(b)(6) motions, not 12(b)(3) motions asserting improper venue.    

The court went on to deny the plaintiff’s request for venue – related discovery.  The plaintiff asserted that it needed discovery to respond to the defendant’s assertion that it did not have a regular and established place of business in the Western District of Texas, but noted that through multiple declarations defendant has proffered evidence that it does not – and plaintiff had proffered nothing to the contrary, nor identified any reason to believe that additional information would provide evidence that venue was proper.

The facts of the venue argument may be important here – the plaintiff relied on an address of the defendant’s parent company in the district, but per a declaration, the defendant asserted that it lacked any control over its parent corporation, that it did not share the same team of executive, had no offices in Texas, etc..

In the absence of any indication that the declaration was inaccurate, the court concluded that the plaintiff had not carried its burden to show that venue related discovery was warranted.  Accordingly it found venue improper, and rather than dismiss the case, transferred it to the Northern District of California.

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