United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
DONALD W. REESE, JR. and MARIAN REESE, Plaintiffs,
TRAIL KING INDUSTRIES, INC. and ANDERSON TRUCKING SERVICE, INC., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael G. Gotsch, Sr., United States Magistrate Judge
November 23, 2016, Defendant, Anderson Trucking Service, Inc.
(“ATS”), a Minnesota corporation, filed a motion
seeking to transfer this case to the District of Colorado,
Colorado Spring Division, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a). On January 18, 2017, Plaintiffs, Donald W. Reese,
Jr. (“Mr. Reese”) and Mariann Reese (“Ms.
Reese”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”),
citizens of Indiana, filed a response. On January 25, 2017,
ATS filed a reply. Defendant, Trail King Industries, Inc.
(“Trail King”), a South Dakota corporation, filed
nothing in response to ATS's motion. Therefore, the Court
assumes that Trail King has no objection to transfer.
Nevertheless, the Court DENIES ATS's motion to transfer
for the following reasons.
September 26, 2016, Plaintiffs brought suit in Elkhart
Superior Court, but the case was removed to this Court by
Trail King on October 19, 2016. The case arises from Mr.
Reese's single-vehicle, tractor-trailer accident in
Pueblo, Colorado on September 23, 2014. Plaintiffs allege
that Mr. Reese was an owner-operator operating a vehicle
under ATS's operating authority at the time of the
accident. He was hauling a wind turbine tower from Minnesota
to Colorado, which was presumably loaded onto his truck in
Minnesota. The trailer was designed, manufactured, and sold
by Trail King in South Dakota. Plaintiffs allege that because
of trailer manufacturing defects, the wind turbine came loose
from the trailer and caused the accident in Colorado.
Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Reese suffered injuries as a
result of the accident and that he received most of his
medical treatment in Indiana, his home state.
assert claims of strict and negligent products liability
against Trail King and claims of negligent provision,
supervision, and operation against ATS. In its motion, ATS
argues that all of the operative facts occurred in Colorado
and therefore transfer to the District of Colorado would be
in the interest of justice and more convenient for the
parties and witnesses. This Court disagrees.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a federal district
court may transfer any civil action to any other district for
the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the name
of justice, if venue is proper in both courts. Therefore,
transfer analysis involves separate inquiries into (1) proper
venue in both the transferor and transferee courts; (2) the
convenience of parties and witnesses; and (3) the interest of
justice. Research Automation Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport
Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 973, 978 (7th Cir. 2010). The
burden is on the movant to show that transfer is warranted.
Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219-20
(7th Cir. 1986). However, the statute allows for a
“flexible and individualized” analysis of the
unique issues raised in a particular civil action, which
therefore places considerable discretion in the transferor
court when deciding whether transfer is appropriate.
Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 977-78 (citing
Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., et al., 487 U.S.
22, 29 (1988)).
Jurisdiction and venue are proper in the Northern District of
Indiana and the District of Colorado.
parties rightly concede that jurisdiction and venue is proper
in both districts. [DE 17 at 4; DE 23 at 3]. The case was
removed to this District from Elkhart County Superior Court
following Trail King's Notice of Removal pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446. Jurisdiction and venue are
also proper in Colorado. Colorado has jurisdiction based upon
its long-arm statute. See C.R.S.A. § 13-1-124(1)(b)
(granting jurisdiction if a person commits a tortious act
within the state). Venue is proper in the District of
Colorado, Colorado Springs Division, as it encompasses Pueblo
County, the place of the accident and the place where
“a substantial part of the events or omissions giving
rise to the claim occurred.” 28 U.S.C. §
The convenience of the parties and witnesses does not favor
evaluating the convenience element, courts generally
consider: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the
situs of material events; (3) the relative ease of access to
sources of proof; (4) the convenience of witnesses; and (5)
the convenience of the parties. Schumacher v. Principal
Life Ins. Co., 665 F.Supp.2d 970, 977 (N.D. Ind. 2009).
A litigant seeking a transfer of venue has the burden of
showing that the transferee court is “clearly more
convenient than the transferor court.” Coffey,
796 F.2d at 220.
choice of forum
considering the convenience factor, a plaintiff's choice
of forum is entitled to substantial deference, especially
when the chosen forum is the plaintiff's home forum.
Am. Commercial Lines, LLC v. Ne. Maritime Inst.,
Inc., 588 F.Supp.2d 935, 945 (S.D. Ind. 2008).
the balance of factors is strongly in favor of the defendant,
the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be
disturbed. In re Nat'l Presto Indus., Inc., 347
F.3d 662, 664 (7th Cir. 2003). Yet ATS argues that such
deference is unwarranted in this case contending that the
Indiana forum has no real relationship to this case other
than being Plaintiffs' state of residence and the
location of some ...