United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR TRANSFER OF VENUE
WALTON PRATT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on a Motion for a Change of Venue
filed by Defendant Richard Guyer (“Guyer”).
(Filing No. 15.) Guyer argues that this action
should be transferred from the New Albany Division to the
Indianapolis Division of the Southern District of Indiana
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Filing No.
15-1.) Plaintiffs Michelle (“Mrs. Evens”)
and Brooks Evens (collectively the
“Plaintiff's”) oppose Guyer's motion.
(Filing No. 16.) For the following reasons, the
Court DENIES Guyer's Motion for a Transfer of Venue.
factual allegations contained in the Plaintiffs'
Complaint are as follows. The Plaintiffs are residents of
Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Guyer is a resident of Denver,
North Carolina. (Filing No. 8-1 at 4.) On May 29,
2016, the Plaintiffs, along with their children, attended the
100th running of the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway. (Filing No. 8-1 at 5.) The Evens
family arrived at the racetrack at some point between 11:00
a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and proceeded to their assigned seats.
(Filing No. 8-1 at 5.) Before the race began, the
Evens family noticed an older gentleman who was visibly
intoxicated, holding a beer can, walking up the aisle toward
them. (Filing No. 8-1 at 6.) That gentleman was
later identified as the Defendant, Guyer. (Filing No. 8-1
Evens was seated, facing the track and talking to her
daughter, Guyer fell directly on top of her, crushing her and
causing her to collapse like a folding lawn chair.
(Filing No. 8-1 at 6.) Due to Guyer's extreme
intoxication, he made no attempt to remove himself from on
top of Mrs. Evens' body. (Filing No. 8-1 at 6.)
Ms. Evens crawled out from under Guyer, and after trying to
stand, immediately collapsed to the ground. (Filing No.
8-1 at 6.) Mrs. Evens was taken to an Indianapolis
hospital by ambulance, where she was diagnosed with an acute
two column T-12 compression fracture with buckling and
probable disruption of the anterior longitudinal ligament at
T-12. (Filing No. 8-1 at 8.) Mrs. Evens was
hospitalized for three days and two nights. (Filing No.
8-1 at 8.) She was placed in a
thoracic-lumbo-sacral-orthosis brace, which she was required
to wear through August 23, 2016. (Filing No. 8-1 at
9.) Mrs. Evens continues to undergo treatment and
experience pain. (Filing No. 8-1 at 9.)
Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against Guyer in the Circuit
Court of Clark County, Indiana on October 5, 2016, alleging
civil battery, negligence, negligent and intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
(Filing No. 8-1 at 9-15.) Guyer removed the case to
federal court on October 20, 2016, to the New Albany Division
of the Southern District of Indiana. (Filing No. 1.)
asks this Court to transfer this action to the Indianapolis
Division of the Southern District of Indiana because: (1) the
events giving rise to the claim occurred within the
Indianapolis Division, and (2) the Indianapolis Division is a
more convenient forum for this action. (Filing No. 15-1
at 4-6.) The Plaintiffs oppose the Motion to Transfer
because: (1) venue is proper in the New Albany Division; (2)
the Plaintiffs' preferred venue is entitled to great
weight; (3) New Albany is a more convenient venue for the
Plaintiffs and many witnesses; (4) much of the relevant
evidence in the case is located in and around New Albany; and
(5) travel to New Albany is not less convenient for Guyer.
(Filing No. 16.)
parties agree that it was proper for this action to be
removed to the Southern District of Indiana, and they agree
that both the New Albany and Indianapolis Divisions would be
proper venues for this action. The parties disagree as to
whether the Court should exercise its discretion to transfer
the action from New Albany to Indianapolis.
U.S.C. § 1441(a) provides that “any civil action
brought in a State court of which the district courts of the
United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by
the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the
United States for the district and division embracing the
place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a). And Section 1404(a) provides that “[f]or 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 or to any district or division to which all parties
have consented.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Application of the Venue Transfer Factors.
Court typically considers four factors in deciding whether to
transfer an action: (1) the convenience of the parties; (2)
the convenience of the witnesses; (3) the situs of
material events and access to proof; and (4) the interests of
justice. See, e.g., Deputy v. City of Seymour, 2013
WL 2474235, at *3 (S.D. Ind. 2013). “As a general rule,
the plaintiff's choice of forum will not be disturbed
unless the four factors weigh substantially in favor of
transfer.” Id. The party moving for the change
of venue “has 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).
first two factors-the convenience of the parties and the
convenience of the witnesses-weigh in favor of the
Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs reside in Jeffersonville, Indiana,
a city located approximately ten miles from New Albany.
(Filing No. 8-1 at 4.) Indianapolis is located over
one hundred miles north of Jeffersonville, so New Albany is
the more convenient venue for the Plaintiffs. Guyer resides
in North Carolina, and he has not argued that it would be