Team Systems International LLC v. AQuate Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER The court determines that the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interests of justice weigh heavily in favor of transferring this case to the Northeastern Division; The court TRANSFERS the case to the Northeastern Division of the Northern District of Alabama. Signed by Judge Karon O Bowdre on 4/1/13. (SAC )
2013 Apr-01 AM 11:37
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
TEAM SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the court on Defendant AQuate Corporation’s motion to
transfer this case from the Southern Division of the Northern District of Alabama to the
Northeastern Division of the Northern District of Alabama. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff Team Systems
International, LLC, opposed the motion. After considering both parties’ arguments the court
GRANTS the Defendant’s motion to transfer to the Northeastern Division of the Northern
District of Alabama.
“‘District courts have broad discretion in deciding whether to transfer an action to a more
convenient forum.’” A.J. Taft Coal Co. v. Barnhart, 291 F. Supp. 2d 1290, 1307 (quoting
Johnston v. Foster–Wheeler Constructors, Inc., 158 F.R.D. 496, 503 (M.D.Ala.1994)). A court’s
decision of whether to transfer a case under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) is “‘an individualized
case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness.’” A.J. Taft Coal Co., 291 F. Supp. 2d at
1307 (quoting Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)). On ruling on a motion
to transfer venue, the court must engage in a two-part inquiry: “As a threshold matter, the court
must consider if the case ‘might have been brought’ in the transferee court. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Second, the court must ask whether the balance of factors under § 1404(a) weighs in favor of
transferring this action to the transferee court. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).” A.J. Taft Coal Co., 291 F.
Supp. 2d at 1307.
The parties do not dispute that this case could have been brought in the Northeastern
Division; thus, the only question is whether the convenience of the parties and the interests of
justice weigh in favor of transferring this case there. The Eleventh Circuit has provided a list of
factors for district courts to utilize when weighing whether a transfer of venue is appropriate:
Section 1404 factors include (1) the convenience of the witnesses; (2) the location
of relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (3) the
convenience of the parties; (4) the locus of operative facts; (5) the availability of
process to compel the attendance of unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative means of the
parties; (7) a forum's familiarity with the governing law; (8) the weight accorded a
plaintiff's choice of forum; and (9) trial efficiency and the interests of justice, based
on the totality of the circumstances.
Manuel v. Convergys Corp., 430 F.3d 1132, 1135 n. 1 (11th Cir. 2005) (citing Gibbs & Hill, Inc. v.
Harbert Int’l, Inc., 745 F.Supp. 993, 996 (S.D.N.Y.1990)).
Under normal circumstances, district courts give great deference to the plaintiff's choice of
forum. In re Ricoh Corp., 870 F.2d 570, 573 (11th Cir.1989). However, “‘where the forum selected
by the plaintiff is not connected with the parties or the subject matter of the lawsuit, it is generally
less difficult than otherwise for the defendant, seeking a change of venue, to meet the burden of
showing sufficient inconvenience to tip the balance of convenience strongly in the defendant's
favor.’” Insuracorp, Inc. v. Am. Fid. Assur. Co., 914 F. Supp. 504, 506 (M.D. Ala. 1996) (quoting
Prather v. Raymond Constr. Co., 570 F. Supp. 278, 284 (N.D. Ga. 1983)).
In this case, the Defendant does not request to transfer judicial districts but rather to transfer
to a different division within the Northern District of Alabama—the Northeastern Division, which
encompasses Huntsville, Alabama. The Defendant corporation’s principal place of business is in
Huntsville, and the Defendant asserts that all of its witnesses and relevant litigation documents are
also located in Huntsville. The Defendant’s entire operation is in Huntsville , and the performance
of the contract under issue occurred in Huntsville. The Plaintiff’s principal place of business is in
Reston, Virginia, and Plaintiff does not assert that any of its witnesses or relevant documents are
located in the Southern Division of the Northern District of Alabama where it filed this case. In
considering all of the relevant factors listed above, the only factor that the court finds weighs in favor
of not transferring this case is that the Plaintiff originally filed it here. Any inconvenience in travel
from Virginia to Huntsville is no more inconvenient than travel from Virginia to Birmingham, with
the federal courthouses in the two cities being only a little over one hundred miles apart. The
Plaintiff does not show “sufficient inconvenience to tip the balance of convenience strongly in [its]
favor.” Insuracorp, Inc. v. Am. Fid. Assur. Co., 914 F. Supp. at 506.
The court determines that the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interests of
justice weigh heavily in favor of transferring this case to the Northeastern Division, which
encompasses Huntsville, Alabama. Without any compelling reason to retain the case, the court
TRANSFERS the case to the Northeastern Division of the Northern District of Alabama.
DONE and ORDERED this 1st day of April, 2013.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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