By Ben Suter
The Court dismisses the complaint on forum non conveniens grounds, determining that the proper venue was in the Province of Ontario.
Tater vs. OANDA Corporation, No. C19-0158JLR, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162363 (W.D. Wash., 9/21/19).
The Court (i) denies the pro se plaintiff’s motion for extension of time to oppose the motion to dismiss and for court-appointed counsel; (ii) grants the Defendants’ motion to dismiss; and (iii) denies as moot plaintiff’s motion for extension of the deadline to join additional parties and her motion to compel production of documents.
Defendants OANDA (Canada) Corporation ULC (“OANDA Canada”) and OANDA Corporation (collectively “OANDA”) provide a desktop platform for internet-based foreign exchange trading and currency services information. Plaintiff Jeannine Tater (“Tater”), appearing pro se, alleges that she lost $380,000 trading currency on OANDA’s platform in 2011 and 2012 as a result of misrepresentations made by OANDA Defendants, problems with the OANDA platform, and improper actions taken by OANDA on Tater’s account.
Tater alleges that she applied for an account with the “New York affiliate” of the OANDA Defendants on February 26, 2011, so that she could “exchange Canadian for USD.” OANDA claims, however, that Tater never completed the process of setting up her account with OANDA Corporation—the entity responsible for all U.S. OANDA accounts. The parties agree that the transactions at issue in this case were conducted through an account that Tater created with OANDA Canada. In order to create the OANDA Canada account, Tater had to agree to the terms of the Customer Agreement, which stated that any and all disputes would be venued in the Province of Ontario. OANDA moved to dismiss on grounds of forum non conveniens, lack of personal jurisdiction over OANDA Canada, and for failure to state a claim. Instead of filing an opposition, Tater filed a motion for extension of time to respond and for court-appointed counsel.
The Court first considers Tater’s motion for extension of time to respond to the motion to dismiss and to appoint counsel. The Court notes that it had previously granted Tater multiple extensions. Tater had more than four months to oppose OANDA’s motion. Accordingly, the Court determines that Ms. Tater had been afforded sufficient time to find counsel or file her own opposition, absent assistance from counsel, and denies the motion for extension of time. The Court likewise declines to appoint counsel for Tater, because she was not proceeding in forma pauperis and her case did not demonstrate the “exceptional circumstances” required for the Court to appoint counsel.
The Court next considers the OANDA Defendants’ motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens. Because Ms. Tater used her OANDA Canada account to make the trades at issue, Ms. Tater was contractually required to file this action in the Judicial District of York in the Province of Ontario. The Court determines that the venue selection clause is enforceable under the Supreme Court’s decision in Atl. Marine Constr. Co. v. United States Dist. Court, 571 U.S. 49 (2013). Accordingly, the Court grants OANDA’s motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds, and declines to address OANDA’s other rationales for the motion to dismiss. Finally, the Court denies Tater’s motions for extension of time to extend the deadline to join parties and to compel production of documents as moot.
(SOLA Ref. No. 2019-41-06)
NOTICE: The court decision synopsis published above represents an abbreviated description of the actual decision and is re-printed here for its educational value. The author's effort is to report concisely the substance of the decision or a selected portion of the decision; commentary or analysis is generally reserved for the italicized section at the bottom of the summary. Subscribers to SAC's Online Litigation Alert (SOLA), from which this synopsis is excerpted, have immediate access to the full decision, in addition to the synopsis.
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