United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Virginia Guiette, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
U.S. Bank National Association, Defendant.
Anthony P. Chester, Esq., Robert L. Hyde, Esq., and Sarah T.
McEahern, Esq., Hyde & Swigart, counsel for Plaintiff.
C. Keane, Esq., Divya Shenoy Gupta, Esq., and Eric J.
Troutman, Esq., Dorsey & Whitney LLP, counsel for
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion to Transfer Venue
brought by U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S.
Bank”). (Doc. No. 16.) For the reasons set forth below,
the Court grants the motion.
dispute arises from phone calls Plaintiff Virginia Guiette
alleges she received from U.S. Bank between August 2015 and
April 2017, without consent or after she revoked consent to
receive these calls. (Doc. No. 1 (“Compl.”)
¶¶ 11, 18.) Guiette is a citizen and resident of
Colorado and resided in Colorado during this time period.
(Id. ¶ 7.) She brings this action on behalf of
a class of all persons in the United States who similarly
received phone calls from U.S. Bank without consent or after
revoking consent. (Id. ¶¶ 28-29.) U.S.
Bank is a corporation that does business throughout the
United States and maintains its principal place of business
in Minnesota. (Id. ¶ 6.)
alleges that between August 2015 and April 2017, Defendant
called her on her cell phone via an automatic telephone
dialing system (“ATDS”). (Id. ¶
11.) On multiple occasions, including during two separate
calls from Defendant on February 18, 2017, Plaintiff stated
over the phone that she no longer wished to be contacted by
phone. (Id. ¶ 18.) Defendant used an ATDS to
call Plaintiff on or about March 20, 2017. (Id.
¶ 20.) Plaintiff told Defendant's representative
that she had previously requested that the calls stop, but
the representative indicated that Defendant “does not
pay attention to notes like that.” (Id.)
Defendant called Plaintiff on her cell phone with an area
code of 303, which is the area code for north-central
Colorado. (See Doc. No. 18 at 4.)
alleges that she suffered an invasion of a legally protected
privacy interest, she was frustrated and distressed by the
calls, and her cell phone battery life was wasted. (Compl.
¶¶ 21-22, 27.) She also alleges that
Defendant's conduct harmed her and other class members
because the calls incurred charges, reduced available cell
phone time that was previously paid for, and invaded the
privacy of class members. (Id. ¶ 31.) The
common questions of law and fact that Plaintiff alleges with
respect to the potential class are whether Defendant used an
ATDS to contact class members, whether Defendant obtained
prior written consent to contact class members via telephone,
whether Defendant's conduct was knowing or willful,
whether Defendant's calls caused harm to the class
members, and whether Defendant should be enjoined from
engaging in this conduct. (Id. ¶ 34.)
obtained a residential mortgage loan from Peoples Bank in or
around February 2015. (Doc No. 21 (“Slepicka
Decl.”) ¶ 4.) Plaintiff's mortgage loan was
processed at the Peoples Bank location in Englewood,
Colorado. (Id.) In approximately April 2015, Peoples
Bank transferred the loan to Defendant, and U.S. Bank Home
Mortgage began to service the loan. (Id. ¶ 5.)
Defendant operates most of its mortgage service-related
business in Bowling Green, Kentucky; St. Louis, Missouri;
Bedford, Ohio; and Irvine, California. (Doc. No. 20
(“Crosby Decl.”) ¶ 3.) Defendant's call
center operations for its residential mortgage portfolio are
located in Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas, while the
data center housing dialer and telephony services is located
in Kansas. (Id. ¶ 4.) Defendant conducts a
significant amount of mortgage operations in Colorado, with
over 200 Colorado-based employees, including two high-level
managers. (Slepicka Decl. ¶ 6.)
alleges two violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection
Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227. (Compl.
¶ 1.) First, Plaintiff alleges negligent violations of
the TCPA and requests $500 in statutory damages for each
violation and injunctive relief. (Id. ¶¶
48-49.) Second, Plaintiff alleges knowing and/or willful
violations of the TCPA and requests $1, 500 in statutory
damages for each violation and injunctive relief.
(Id. ¶¶ 51-52.) Defendant has filed a
motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1404.(Doc. No. 16.)
asks the Court to transfer this case to the United States
District Court, District of Colorado, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a), because it is a more convenient forum in
which to resolve the parties' dispute. In particular,
Defendant argues that Colorado is the “center of
gravity” where Plaintiff received the alleged calls
underlying her lawsuit against Defendant. According to
Defendant, Minnesota has virtually no connection to the case,
and Plaintiff's forum choice is entitled to little
deference under the circumstances.
on the other hand, contends that the Court should not
transfer this case, giving proper deference to
Plaintiff's chosen forum. Plaintiff argues that Defendant
has not adequately demonstrated hardship or inconvenience in
litigating in Minnesota, Defendant's principal place of
business. Thus, Plaintiff argues, Defendant has not met its
heavy burden to support transfer. The Court considers the
relevant factors and the propriety of transfer in light of
the parties' arguments, below.