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I worked remotely in NJ as a worker/independent contractor for a company based in FL. I filed a complaint in NJ (commissions owed). They filed a motion for dismissal and change of venue to FL. The change of venue was granted yesterday. Are there available options (hardship or other) to fight or appeal that granted motion?

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    Are you in federal district court or the state courts of New Jersey? Normally a state court wouldn't grant a change of venue to another state's courts. The appellate situation is different in the respective cases. Also, what was the basis of the ruling? Was there a contract term that called for a FL venue, and if not, was there some other reason that FL was determined to be the correct forum? – ohwilleke Jul 3 at 19:28
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    @ohwilleke Yes, it was/is federal court. I should've mentioned that. I worked based out of NJ and the business is incorporated in FL. The ruling reference a Goodyear decision and the term "at home." This one, I believe...Daimler AG v. Bauman, No. 11-965 (January 14, 2014) – Sizzle Jul 3 at 21:52
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You can appeal on the basis of an error of law

That is, based on the evidence provided, the judge incorrectly applied the law.

So, if you raised the matter of, say hardship, and the judge failed to consider that or incorrectly applied the law to the facts of the hardship then you have grounds for appeal. If you didn't raise hardship then the judge was quite right not to consider it and you would have no grounds for appeal.

An appeal cannot be based on arguments you could and should have raised at trial but didn't.

  • I will double-check the document but I am fairly certain hardship was one of the issues raised. Apparently, the judge didn't give a sh*t about my hardship. 🤷🏻‍♂️ – Sizzle Jul 4 at 0:58
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    @Sizzle neither he should - that's the role of your social worker. The judge's job is to consider the evidence, decide what the facts are and then apply the law to those facts. Heads up - the judge doesn't give a shit about your opponent either. – Dale M Jul 4 at 1:02
  • Yes, I know. That was just a. little bit of venting here on my part. – Sizzle Jul 4 at 11:54
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I worked remotely in NJ as a worker/independent contractor for a company based in FL. I filed a complaint in NJ (commissions owed). They filed a motion for dismissal and change of venue to FL. The change of venue was granted yesterday. Are there available options (hardship or other) to fight or appeal that granted motion?

I worked based out of NJ and the business is incorporated in FL. The ruling reference a Goodyear decision and the term "at home." This one, I believe...Daimler AG v. Bauman, No. 11-965 (January 14, 2014)

In U.S. District Court, venue is proper in all cases in which state courts in the state in which the court is located have personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Personal jurisdiction over a defendant can arise in two ways: general jurisdiction over a person, and specific jurisdiction over a person.

If a court has general jurisdiction over a defendant the defendant can be sued in that state on any matter no matter where it arose.

Historically, general jurisdiction over a defendant was present in every state in which an entity had an office or a permanent employee. But, in Goodyear and Daimler, the U.S. Supreme Court retconned this body of law and held that general jurisdiction is only available where a company is incorporated or has a headquarters class operation and hence is "at home."

So, while general jurisdiction would have previously been present in NJ over the FL company, it probably isn't any longer.

In contrast, specific jurisdiction is present when the acts giving rise to the claim took place in, or are somehow strongly connected to, the claim asserted in a manner that demonstrates that the defendant "purposefully availed itself" of the forum state in a way that would reasonably lead the defendant to realize that it might be "hailed into the forum state" to adjudicate the case.

This goes to where you locate the breach of contract happening and how material the location of the remote workplace was to the work done. If the commissions were earned based upon in person meetings with NJ clients and that is why you are located in NJ, the case for specific jurisdiction is good.

In contrast, if the NJ location did not provide a benefit to the company in allowing it to secure the commissions and instead was merely an accommodation to the employee unrelated to the employer's business, the case for specific jurisdiction in NJ is much weaker on the merits.

Hardship to you is pretty much irrelevant. What matters is the connection that the defendant has to NJ.

The issue of how this interlocutory decision (i.e. decision made prior to a final judgment) in federal court is appealed is an important issue in addition to the merits discussed above. But, given limitations of my time, I'll have to save an answer to that for another day, if ever.

  • This answer is basically what was contained in the motion granted. – Sizzle Jul 4 at 0:59
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Are there available options (hardship or other) to fight or appeal that granted motion?

You may appeal the ruling. Some results of this query are decisions from upper courts regarding a change of venue. Most or many decisions are not legal precedent, but some point to N.J. procedural law on that issue. As an example, see the citations of Rule 4:3-3(a) in this one.

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    He can't appeal if he didn't make the argument at the hearing, as it appears he didn't. – Dale M Jul 3 at 23:51
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    @DaleM I would be very surprised if his lawyer did not oppose the motion(s). – Iñaki Viggers Jul 3 at 23:54
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    I assumed the OP is representing himself, otherwise why is he asking us instead of his lawyer. If so, its quite likely he would not know to raise this. – Dale M Jul 3 at 23:59
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    @DaleM I agree, but if I recall correctly, the OP mentioned in another question (or comment) that he hired a lawyer. It could also happen that his lawyer is not explaining things to him, or that he (the OP) is looking for a second opinion. – Iñaki Viggers Jul 4 at 0:02
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    @IñakiViggers is correct, as he has followed my story a bit. I do have a lawyer...and he said that we could try to appeal it but in all likelihood, it would cost money, be rejected and not get us closer to where we need to be in a timely manner. I was looking for a second opinion and for my own knowledge. Thanks for the answers. – Sizzle Jul 4 at 0:56

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