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Avci v. Brennan

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 8, 2017

Ulas Avci Plaintiff,
v.
Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          NATHANIEL M. GORTON NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case involves allegations of harassment and disparate treatment brought by plaintiff Ulas Avci, appearing pro se, against defendant Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service (“USPS”).

         Shortly after plaintiff filed an amended complaint, in August, 2016, he filed a motion for entry of default pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Defendant responded with a motion to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion for entry of default will be denied and defendant's motion to transfer will be allowed.

         I. Background

         Ulas Avci is a former employee of the USPS New York International Service Center in Jamaica, New York. Avci's claims arise out of alleged incidents of harassment and disparate treatment he purportedly experienced while working in that facility.

         Avci had been living in New York State at least until the time defendant filed her motion to transfer venue. Plaintiff's current mailing address on record, however, indicates that he is now a resident of Maryland.

         In June, 2015, plaintiff filed this action.[1] Several months later, defendant moved to strike plaintiff's complaint. United States Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell authored a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”), in May, 2016, recommending allowance of the motion to strike but permission for plaintiff to file an amended complaint. That R&R was accepted and adopted by this Court and plaintiff subsequently filed an amended complaint in August, 2016 raising claims of harassment and disparate treatment. Approximately three weeks later, he moved for an entry of default and defendant responded with a motion to transfer the case. Those two motions are the subjects of this memorandum.

         II. Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(c), an entry of default can be set aside for “good cause”. That standard is a “liberal one” based upon the policy justification that actions should be resolved on their merits. Coon v. Grenier, 867 F.2d 73, 76 (1st Cir. 1989). Such an analysis also applies to the circumstance here, where the Court is faced with a request for entry of default and the defendant has made an appearance. See Schmir v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 220 F.R.D. 4, 5 (D. Me. 2004) (citing McKinnon v. Kwong Wah Rest., 83 F.3d 498, 503 (1st Cir. 1996)).

         Defendant admits that she erred in calculating the deadline for responding to plaintiff's amended complaint. Because defendant missed the deadline to respond by only a few days and she has filed a plausible motion to transfer, the Court concludes that there is good cause to deny plaintiff's motion for an entry of default. See Coon, 867 F.2d at 76-77 (the existence of a “meritorious defense” is a factor in the “good cause” analysis).

         III. Defendant's Motion to Transfer

         A. Legal Standard

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a district court may transfer a civil action to any other district where it might have been brought “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.” In order for the court to transfer under § 1404(a), it must be shown that the case could have been properly brought in the transferee forum. In a discrimination action brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., venue is proper

[1] in any judicial district in the State in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed, [2] in the judicial district in which the employment records relevant to such practice are maintained and administered, or [3] in the judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice, but if the respondent is not found within any such district, such ...

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