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Hoban v. United States Food and Drug Administration

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 26, 2018

JEN HOBAN d/b/a MASTERPIECE VAPORS; THE PLUME ROOM LLC; J.H.T. VAPE LLC; LAKES VAPE SUPPLY LLC; and TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION 4 LIFE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION; SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D., in his official capacity as Commissioner of Food and Drugs; and ALEX AZAR, in his official capacity as Secretary of Health and Human Services, DEFENDANTS.

          ORDER

          JOAN N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendants move to transfer this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. ECF Nos. 17, 19. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. ECF No. 24. As set forth below, the Court grants the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Four of the five Plaintiffs before this Court currently reside in Minnesota. Defendants are located in the D.C. metropolitan area. ECF No. 1. On January 30, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against Defendants challenging the constitutionality of the FDA's “deeming rule.” Id. The “deeming rule” “subjects e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (among other products) to regulation under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in much the same manner as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.” ECF No. 19 at 2.

         Plaintiffs ask the Court to set aside the deeming rule for two reasons. First, they assert that the FDA promulgated the deeming rule in violation of the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution. Second, they argue that a premarket review provision in the deeming rule violates the First Amendment. ECF No. 1.

         On the same day counsel for Plaintiffs filed the above case in this Court, they filed a case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas and in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. See Moose Jooce v. FDA, 18-cv-203 (D.D.C.); Rave Salon Inc. v. FDA, 18-cv-237 (N.D. Tex.). The Texas and District of Columbia cases raise the same challenges against the same Defendants as those before this Court.[1] The sole difference is the Plaintiffs.

         Defendants in the Texas case moved to transfer to the District of Columbia, and the district court in Texas granted the motion. ECF No. 28; Rave Salon Inc. v. FDA, 18-cv-237 (N.D. Tex. June 4, 2018), ECF No. 27. To consolidate all three cases, Defendants likewise move to transfer the case before this Court to the District of Columbia.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “For the convenience of the 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.”[2] 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). To resolve a motion to transfer, the Court must thus weigh three categories of factors: “(1) the convenience of the parties, (2) the convenience of the witnesses, and (3) the interests of justice.” Terra Int'l, Inc. v. Miss. Chem. Corp., 119 F.3d 688, 691 (8th Cir. 1997). As to the third category-the interests of justice-courts should consider the following factors, to the extent they are relevant:

(1) judicial economy, (2) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (3) the comparative costs to the parties of litigating in each forum, (4) each party's ability to enforce a judgment, (5) obstacles to a fair trial, (6) conflict of law issues, and (7) the advantages of having a local court determine questions of local law.

Id. at 696.

         Courts must undertake a “case-by-case evaluation of the particular circumstances at hand and a consideration of the relevant factors.” Id. at 691. Though courts have “much discretion, ” they generally give “deference to a plaintiff's choice of forum.” Id. at 695, 697. The party seeking to transfer bears the burden of proving the need for it. Id. at 695.

         DISCUSSION

         The balance of the above factors favors granting the ...


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