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EDVA: Transfer to venue of company HQ was warranted

Rebecca M. Lightle//June 29, 2018

EDVA: Transfer to venue of company HQ was warranted

Rebecca M. Lightle//June 29, 2018

Although the plaintiff’s choice of venue would ordinarily be entitled to great weight, several factors tipped the balance in favor of transfer to California, including the location of the defendant company’s headquarters, the location of key witnesses, and the small percentage of company transactions that occur in Virginia.


Defendant Corelogic is a consumer reporting agency and “reseller” of consumer reports. It assembles and merges information contained in the databases of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. Corelogic then resells this information to third parties in a so-called “tri-merged credit report.”

In early 2016, Plaintiff Shakeena King applied for a mortgage loan, but alleges that she was denied because of the content of a tri-merged credit report that Corelogic provided to the prospective lender. King alleges that this content was inaccurate and derogatory.

King brought this action styled as a class action against Corelogic asserting a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b). Corelogic has moved to transfer the case to the Southern District of California.

Transfer of venue

The court will transfer this case to the Southern District of California. Although the Eastern District of Virginia is King’s home forum, her choice of forum receives less weight in this putative class case. Furthermore, the Eastern District is not home to the nucleus of operative facts. Finally, the convenience to the parties and witnesses strongly favors transfer, as does the interest of justice.

Little evidence related to Corelogic’s procedures for furnishing consumer reports exists in Virginia. It provides credit reports in all 50 states and has issued only 2.73 percent of reports in Virginia. Only 1.80 percent of its customers have a Virginia business address. Corelogic maintains no data servers in Virginia and has no offices or employees in Virginia. In contrast, the vast majority of its employees are located in the Southern District of California and all but one of its executive leadership team and management-level employees are based there.

Although the Eastern District of Virginia is King’s home forum, it does not house key non-party witnesses. Instead, the critical evidence in the case will likely center on the documentation of Corelogic’s matching algorithm and other policies and procedures. The nucleus of operative facts in this putative nationwide class action clearly exists in the Southern District of California.

Ease of access to sources of proof also weighs in favor of transfer. The heart of King’s case is a challenge to the procedures Corelogic uses to create its tri-merged credit reports. The majority of this information exists in San Diego. Because technology would ease the burden of making this information available, this factor does not weigh heavily, but it does weigh in Corelogic’s favor.

Further, the majority of relevant witnesses will be Corelogic employees located in the Southern District of California. Although King urges the court to consider the parties’ relative financial strength and ability to absorb travel costs, transfer in this case does not amount to mere cost-shifting, because the majority of witnesses and evidence – the nucleus of operative fact – is in California. Thus, it would be more costly to litigate this action here than in the transferee forum.

And given that King alleges willfulness, the credibility of Corelogic’s employee-witnesses will be important. By contrast, King identifies her sister, boyfriend, and friend as witnesses to the damage she suffered as a result of Corelogic’s conduct. The importance of these witnesses’ testimony is undermined by two considerations. First, their testimony would not relate to Corelogic’s procedures and would therefore not relate to the core of King’s class claim. Second, their testimony could be cumulative, especially as it corroborates what King herself could also testify about.

Lastly, the interest of justice, which weighs particularly heavily in a class action case, supports transfer. The interest of having local controversies decided at home, by local jurors, weighs in favor of transferring the case to the Southern District of California, where the heart of the controversy exists.

Motion to transfer granted.

King v. Corelogic Credco LLC, Case No. 3:17cv761, June 13, 2018. EDVA at Richmond (Lauck). VLW No. 018-3-246, 16 pp.

VLW 018-3-246

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