The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Oki Mollway Susan Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge
Plaintiff Edmund M. Abordo is a Hawaii prisoner incarcerated at the Saguaro Correctional Center ("SCC"), located in Eloy, Arizona. On December 18, 2012, Defendants removed Abordo's state court action to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c).*fn1 ECF No. 1. For the following reasons, the court TRANSFERS this action to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Abordo commenced this action on or about May 14, 2012, in the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii, by filing an "HRPP Rule 40(c)(2)(3) Nonconforming [Petition] and Separate Cause of Action." Compl., ECF No. 1-1. On November 27, 2012, the state circuit court served the Nonconforming Petition on Defendants' representative, the Attorney General of the State of Hawaii. ECF #1-2 PageID #20. On December 18, 2012, Defendants timely removed the matter from state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). See ECF No. 1.
Abordo says that, on or about March 29, 2012, he requested copies of some materials from SCC Librarians Allen and Trent. They referred his request to Assistant Warden Griego. Griego denied the request, confiscated the documents, charged Abordo with a rule infraction, and sanctioned him. Abordo claims Allen, Trent, and Griego did this at the direction of DPS Defendants Kimoto and Kimura, who were allegedly retaliating against him for having filed civil suits against DPS and SCC officials. Abordo alleges that Defendants' actions violated the First and Eighth Amendments; he seeks injunctive relief and damages.
A defendant may remove any civil action brought in state court over which the federal court would have original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). That is, a civil action that could have originally been brought in federal court may be removed from state to federal court. Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). A federal court has original jurisdiction "of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Further, a federal court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over closely related state law claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c).
Because Abordo alleges Defendants violated the United States Constitution, subject matter jurisdiction is proper in federal court. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1442. Defendants timely removed the action from state court within thirty days of service. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). Removal was therefore proper.
III. TRANSFER UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)
"For 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." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The purpose of § 1404(a) is to "prevent the waste of time, energy, and money and to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense." Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616 (1964) (internal citations and quotation omitted); Kawamoto v. CB Richard Ellis, Inc., 225 F. Supp. 2d 1209, 1213 (D. Haw. 2002).
A decision to transfer lies within the broad discretion of the district court and is determined on an individualized basis. See Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000). A court therefore has the power to order a transfer under § 1404(a) sua sponte. Tazoe v. Airbus S.A.S., 631 F.3d 1321, 1336 (11th Cir. 2011) (holding that a district court may sua sponte transfer a civil action to any other district where it might have been brought if doing so will be convenient for the parties and witnesses and serve the interest of justice); see also Panchias v. Bullock, 2012 WL 5425393, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 2012) (sua sponte transfer of removed action); Hurt v. Unit 32, 2012 WL 5269910, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 24, 2012) (transferring sua sponte pursuant to § 1404(a)). The removal of a case to the federal district court has no bearing on the change of venue provisions of § 1404, and removed actions may be transferred pursuant to that statute as though they had been brought in the federal court originally. Heft v. AAI Corp., 355 F. Supp. 2d 757, 772-73 (M.D. Pa. 2005).
A. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) Factors
The court should weigh relevant public and private factors to determine whether to transfer a case pursuant to § 1404(a), including: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the contacts between the chosen forum and the plaintiff's cause of action, and the feasibility of consolidation with other claims; (3) the convenience of the parties and witnesses; (4) the ease of access to the evidence; (5) any differences in the costs of litigation in the two forums; (6) the local interest in the controversy; (7) the familiarity of each forum with the applicable law; and (8) relative court congestion and the time to trial in each forum. See Williams v. Bowman, 157 F. Supp. 2d 1103, ...