U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Apple Inc. Civ Pro Decision, Employment Matter

Elam v. Regions Fin. Corp., No. 09-2004, concerned a Title VII action alleging that defendant-employer discriminated against plaintiff because of her pregnancy.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that 1) defendant provided a lengthy list of nondiscriminatory, legitimate reasons for terminating plaintiff's employment; and 2) plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to conclude that her supervisors' reference to plaintiff's protected status showed an intent to discriminate against plaintiff.

In re: Apple, Inc., No. 09-3689, involved a suit by a manufacturer and distributor of digital music players against Apple.  The Eighth Circuit granted Apple's petition for writ of mandamus seeking an order directing the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, on the grounds that 1) the inconvenience to defendant would be significantly minimized if the case were litigated in Northern California, and plaintiff would not face any material inconvenience by litigating in California rather than Arkansas; and 2) relative docket congestion could not override the several factors of convenience and justice that favor transfer.

As the court wrote:  "Apple moved, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to transfer venue to Northern California. Apple argued that its witnesses were located in California, that witnesses from nonparty companies and from Luxpro would be inconvenienced less by travel to California than to Arkansas, that litigious tactics of which Luxpro complained originated from Apple's California headquarters, that relevant documents were located in California, and that Arkansas had no connection to the dispute. For its part, Luxpro asserted that its choice of forum was entitled to deference, and that docket statistics showed that it would secure a trial more quickly in Western Arkansas. The district court denied Apple's transfer motion."

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