Kauffman v. NHCLC-Seattle

Civil Practice

, New York Law Journal


Judge Harold Baer

NH-Northeast LLC (NHNE) is the sole member of NHCLC-Seattle LLC, and a member of NHCLC-New York. NHNE board members and NHCLC-Seattle executives use NHCLC-New York's Manhattan offices to conduct business. Hired in 2011 when NHCLC-Seattle acquired his business, Kauffman, NHCLC-Seattle and NHNE entered into a four-year employment agreement. If terminated for cause, Kauffman need not be paid the remainder owed under their agreement. He was terminated, in New York, in January 2013, ostensibly for insubordination and other transgressions. After threatened litigation related to his termination, defendants sought declaratory relief in federal court in Michigan. District court denied dismissal of Kauffman's action for compensation under the agreement for lack of venue. Given that Kauffman's duties under the employment contract were performed largely out of his office in New York, he established a prima facie case for venue. In denying transfer to the Eastern District of Michigan the court found the convenience to parties and witnesses favored Kauffman's forum choice. Even if executive decisions that Kauffman purportedly disobeyed came from Michigan, most of his alleged disobedience occurred outside of Michigan.




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