Cox Communications Inc. et al v. Sprint Communications Company LP et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER- denying 508 MOTION to Transfer Case to District of Kansas. A Jury Trial is set for 12/7/2017 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4B before Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. A Pretrial Conference is set for 10/27/2017 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4B before Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. Signed by Judge Joseph F. Bataillon on 8/28/2017. (lih)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
COX COMMUNICATIONS, INC., et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SPRINT COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY
L.P., et al.,
This matter is before the court on defendant Sprint Communications Company
LP’s renewed motion to transfer claims to the District of Kansas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Filing No. 508. On April 16, 2012, plaintiffs ("Cox") filed this declaratory
judgment action regarding twelve patents owned by Sprint and related to voice-overpacket telecommunications technology.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a court may transfer a case to another district in
which the case might have been brought “[f]or the convenience of parties and
witnesses, in the interest of justice.” Further, courts are permitted “to determine, on an
individualized, case-by-case basis, whether convenience and fairness considerations
weigh in favor of transfer.” Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 883 (3d Cir.
1995) (factors for determining whether to transfer include:
“(1) a likelihood of an
enforcement problem; (2) a distinct public interest in resolving the claims in a Luzerne
County court as opposed to in Philadelphia; (3) a different policy preference in the two
Sprint previously moved to transfer this case to Kansas in 2012, Filing No. 43, and the Court
denied the same. Filing No. 76.
locales; (4) a disparity in the qualifications of the federal judges sitting in the two districts
to pass on the same Pennsylvania law; or (5) an appreciable difference in docket
congestion between the two districts.”) The initial inquiry is “whether this action could
have been brought in the proposed transferee venue.” Human Genome Sci., Inc. v.
Genentech, Inc., No. 11-cv-082-LPS, 2011 WL 2911797, at *3 (D. Del. July 18, 2011).
“In ruling on § 1404(a) motions, courts [in the Third Circuit] have not limited their
consideration to the three enumerated factors in § 1404(a) (convenience of parties,
convenience of witnesses, or interests of justice), and, indeed, commentators have
called on the courts to consider all relevant factors to determine whether on balance the
litigation would more conveniently proceed and the interests of justice be better served
by transfer to a different forum.” Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879 (internal citation and quotations
Sprint contends that:
Judge Lungstrum has overseen nine cases involving these same patents,
issuing claim construction orders, summary judgments, and presiding over
two jury trials—including one just last month. Because this is a complex
case involving numerous patents with further claim construction,
discovery, and dispositive motions yet to come, Sprint respectfully submits
that it does not make sense for a new judge in this District to get up-tospeed on this case given Judge Lungstrum’s familiarity with the patents-insuit and related litigation.
Filing No. 509, at 3. Sprint further argues that “[f]urther, no witnesses are in Delaware,
many are in Kansas; Sprint chose Kansas to bring suit; there are related cases pending
in Kansas; and transfer will prevent judicial inconsistencies, with claim construction and
summary judgment on the horizon.” Id. at 4.
Cox contends that this issue has been decided, and the motion to transfer is
really an attempt to forum shop, since a new Judge has been appointed to handle the
case. Further, Cox argues that Kansas lacks jurisdiction over Cox Communications Inc.
in any event. Cox also asserts that while some of the claims are similar or the same as
the Kansas cases, this particular case has different claim construction, equipment and
networks issues. Further, if transferred, the Kansas attorneys would have to get up to
speed quickly, prior to the start of the impending trial. Further, argues Cox, there are a
number of additional patents that Judge Lungstrum has not seen that are not connected
to the Kansas action.
The court agrees that this case could arguably have been filed in the District
Court of Kansas. However, that is irrelevant at this point. Under Delaware law, the
courts have clearly stated that there must be a strong showing before a motion to
reconsider will be granted. Amgen Inc. v. Sanofi, 227 F. Supp. 3d 333, (D. Del. 2017) (J.
Robinson); Callaway Golf Co. v. Acushnet, 778 F. Supp. 2d 487, 492 (D. Del. 2011) (J.
Robinson). This case has already been in this jurisdiction for five years. The parties
have conducted extensive discovery, and the court has decided major issues in this
case. The only real change is that another judge is now working on the case. That is
not a sufficient reason to grant this motion to transfer. For the reasons set forth herein,
and for the initial reasons stated in the court’s 2013 Order, Filing No. 76, and
incorporated herein by reference, the court denies the motion to transfer.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
Defendant Sprint Communications Company LP’s motion to transfer
claims to the District of Kansas, Filing No. 508, is denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT:
A pretrial conference is scheduled for October 27, 2017 at 9:00 AM in
Courtroom 4B, fourth floor, United States Courthouse, 844 King Street, Wilmington,
Delaware, before Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon.
The jury trial currently scheduled for November 6, 2017 is continued to
December 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM in Courtroom 4B, fourth floor, United States Courthouse,
844 King Street, Wilmington, Delaware, before Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon.
Dated this 28th day of August, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Joseph F. Bataillon
Senior United States District Judge
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