United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Collins, United States Magistrate Judge
8, 2016, Defendant National Futures Association
(“NFA”) filed a motion to transfer this suit
advancing violations of the Commodity Exchange Act
(“CEA”) to the Northern District of Illinois, the
district in which NFA maintains its principal place of
business. (DE 4). Plaintiff Dennis Troyer filed a brief in
opposition to the motion on July 21, 2016 (DE 5), and NFA
replied on August 4, 2016 (DE 6). At the time these briefs
were filed, Troyer had yet to serve Defendants Thomas
Heneghan, Olivier Livolsi, and Portfolio Managers, Inc.
has now served PMI (DE 10) and has voluntarily dismissed
Heneghan and Livolsi (DE 9; DE 11). PMI has not filed a
response brief to the motion to transfer,  and the motion is
ripe for ruling. For the following reasons, NFA's motion
to transfer venue will be DENIED.
Factual and Procedural Background
a resident of LaGrange County, Indiana, filed this suit
against NFA, PMI, Heneghan, and Livolsi on May 8, 2016,
alleging various violations of the CEA. (DE 1). In his
complaint, Troyer alleges that he entered into a series of
commodities futures trades based upon solicitations made by
Heneghan. (DE 1 ¶¶ 10-18, 24-29, 38-49). Troyer did
so by placing checks in the mail in Indiana that were
addressed to Heneghan's attention in Chicago or to
Livolsi's attention. (DE 1 ¶¶ 12-18, 24-29,
a national, self-regulatory organization for the U.S.
derivatives industry. (DE 4-3 ¶¶ 4, 6). NFA
develops and enforces rules, and provides programs and
services that safeguard market integrity, protect investors,
and help members meet their regulatory responsibilities. (DE
4-3 ¶ 9). NFA's membership consists of approximately
4, 100 firms and 57, 000 associates. (DE 4-3 ¶ 8).
NFA's principal place of business is located in Chicago,
Illinois; NFA does not maintain any offices or document
repositories in Indiana. (DE 4-1 at 3).
performs “screening checks” to determine a market
participant's fitness to be an NFA member; all NFA
documents relating to such screen checks are located in
Chicago. (DE 4-3 ¶ 11). All of NFA's registration
functions are performed in Chicago, and all documents
relating to that function are located in Chicago. (DE 4-3
¶ 11). The activity of establishing and enforcing rules
and standards for customer protection is conducted either in
NFA's New York or Chicago offices. (DE 4-3 ¶ 11).
Customer arbitrations and audit field work and surveillance
to enforce compliance with financial and other audit
requirements are performed throughout the United States,
including in Indiana. (DE 4-3 ¶ 11; DE 6 at 1).
a for-profit, Illinois corporation, and its principal place
of business is located in Illinois. (DE 1 ¶ 5; DE 4-1 at
8). PMI is allegedly an introducing broker registered with
the NFA until it was permanently barred from membership in
February 2016. (DE 1 ¶ 5). Heneghan, a California
resident, worked as an NFA associate member and as an
associated person for various introducing brokers registered
with the NFA until being permanently barred from NFA
membership in March 2016. (DE 1 ¶ 6). Livolsi, a
California resident, also worked as an NFA associate member.
(DE 1 ¶ 7).
the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to
any other district or division where it might have been
brought . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). “The
statutory language guides the court's evaluation of the
particular circumstances of each case and is broad enough to
allow the court to take into account all factors relevant to
convenience and/or the interests of justice.”
Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport
Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 973, 978 (7th Cir. 2010).
“The statute permits a ‘flexible and
individualized analysis' and affords district courts the
opportunity to look beyond a narrow or rigid set of
considerations in their determinations.” Id.
(quoting Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S.
22, 29 (1988)). The party moving for the transfer bears
“the burden of establishing, by reference to particular
circumstances, that the transferee forum is clearly more
convenient.” Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works,
796 F.2d 217, 219-20 (7th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted).
respect to the convenience evaluation, courts generally
consider the availability of and access to witnesses, and
each party's access to and distance from resources in
each forum.” Research Automation, Inc., 626
F.3d at 978 (citations omitted). “Other related factors
include the location of material events and the relative ease
of access to sources of proof.” Id. (citations
‘interest of justice' is a separate element of the
transfer analysis that relates to the efficient
administration of the court system.” Id.
(citing Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622
(1964)). “For this element, courts look to factors
including docket congestion and likely speed to trial in the
transferor and potential transferee forums; each court's
relative familiarity with the relevant law; the respective
desirability of resolving controversies in each locale; and
the relationship of each community to the controversy.”
Id. (citations omitted). “The interest of
justice may be determinative, warranting transfer or its
denial even where the convenience of the parties and
witnesses points toward the opposite result.”
Id. (citation omitted).
argues that the situs of material events, the convenience of
the witnesses, the convenience of the parties, and the
interests of justice all outweigh Troyer's choice of
forum and support a transfer of this action to the Northern
District of Illinois. The Court will discuss each of these
factors in ...