United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
CHRISTINE EVAN and GEORGE A. EVAN, Plaintiffs,
DINERS CLUB INTERNATIONAL LTD a/k/a DINERS OF NORTH AMERICA LLC a/k/a BMO DINERS CLUB INC. Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Plaintiffs' Motion for
Change of Venue [DE 47] filed by Plaintiffs Christine Evan
and George A. Evan, pro se, on July 26, 2017, and on a
Defendant's Motion for Leave to File Sur-Response in
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Change of Venue [DE
69] filed on September 22, 2017, by Defendant, which states
that its proper name is BMO Harris Bank N.A. Defendant filed
a response to Plaintiffs' motion on August 10, 2017, and
Plaintiffs filed a reply on September 20, 2017. Plaintiffs
filed a response to Defendant's motion on September 22,
2017. No reply was filed. For the reasons stated below, both
motions are denied.
Motion for Transfer of Venue
request that the venue for the instant litigation be
transferred from this Court to the District of Nevada.
Plaintiffs represent that they have moved from Valparaiso,
Indiana, to Las Vegas, Nevada. Plaintiffs assert that
transfer of venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a),
which provides: “For 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.”
Defendants do not consent to a transfer of this litigation to
the District of Nevada. Therefore, (1) venue must be proper
in the transferor court; (2) venue must be proper in the
transferee court; and (3) the transfer must serve the
convenience of the parties and witnesses and must be in the
interests of justice. See Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron
Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219-20 (7th Cir. 1986). The burden
is on the moving party to establish that venue is proper in
both courts and to show that the transferee forum is
“clearly more convenient.” Heller v. Fin.
Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 1286, 1293
(7th Cir. 1989).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) and as is relevant to this
litigation, A civil action may be brought in--
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if
all defendants are residents of the State in which the
district is located; [or]
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a
substantial part of property that is the subject of the
action is situated[.]
the same code section clarifies what is meant by
“residency” for the purposes of a defendant that
is not a natural person. Such a defendant “shall be
deemed to reside . . . in any judicial district in which such
defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction
with respect to the civil action in question.” 28
U.S.C. § 1391(c)(2).
parties do not dispute that the Northern District of Indiana
is a proper venue, so for the purpose of the instant motion
the Court assumes without deciding that venue is proper in
the Northern District of Indiana.
in their motion, do not explicitly state whether they contend
that venue is proper in the District of Nevada because
Defendant resides there, a substantial part of the case is
tied to the District of Nevada, or both. Review of the
Amended Complaint in this matter does not reveal that a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
this litigation connects this litigation to the District of
Nevada. Thus, the Court must determine whether the District
of Nevada can exert personal jurisdiction over Defendant.
jurisdiction over a defendant can be either specific or
general. “Specific” jurisdiction can be exerted
over a defendant if that defendant had continuous and
systematic contacts to the forum state and those contacts
gave rise to the litigation. Daimler AG v. Bauman,
134 S.Ct. 746, 754 (2014). Plaintiff has not shown how any of
Defendant's contacts to Nevada gave rise to this
litigation, so Plaintiff has not shown there to be specific
jurisdiction over Defendant in Nevada.
has “general” jurisdiction over a defendant when
that defendant's “affiliations with the [forum
state] are so continuous and systematic as to render them
essentially at home in the forum State.” Id.
(quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011)). A “substantial,
continuous, and systematic course of business” in the
forum state is insufficient; more is required. Kipp v.
Ski Enter. Corp., 783 F.3d 695, 698 (7th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Daimler, 134 S.Ct. at 761). The
paradigmatic examples of bases for general jurisdiction over
a corporate defendant are the defendant's state of
incorporation and principal place of business. Id.
at 760. Here, Defendant is a national banking association,
not a corporation. The analogous basis for general
jurisdiction is presumably the state in which Defendant has
its main office. See Wachovia Bank v. Schmidt, 546
U.S. 303, 318 (2006) (holding that, for purposes of diversity
subject matter jurisdiction, a national bank's analog to
a corporation's state of incorporation and principal
place of business is the state designated in the bank's
articles of association as its main office).
Plaintiffs assert that Nevada is a proper venue for this
litigation because Defendant has active card members,
branches, and ATMs in Nevada. Defendant offers an affidavit
attesting that Defendant has no branches in Nevada and that
Defendant's headquarters and principal place of business
is in Chicago, Illinois. This dispute over branch locations
is immaterial. Even if Plaintiffs are correct and
Defendant's business presence in Nevada is as extensive
as Plaintiffs represent, Plaintiffs fall short of showing the
sort of continuous and systematic affiliations between
Defendant and the State of Nevada that would render Defendant
essentially “at home” there. For the sake of
comparison, the Supreme Court recently held that a defendant
railway company was not “at home” in Montana,
despite having more than 2, 000 miles of railroad track and
more than 2, 000 employees in Montana. BNSF Ry. Co. v.
Tyrrell, 137 S.Ct. 1549, 1559 (2017). Thus, even when
accepting as true Plaintiffs' version of Defendant's
contacts with Nevada, the contacts are insufficient for
Nevada to exercise general personal jurisdiction over
Nevada cannot exercise specific or general personal
jurisdiction over Defendant, Defendant does not reside in
Nevada for the purpose of this litigation. Because Defendant
does not reside in Nevada and no substantial part of this
case is connected to Nevada, this case could not have been
brought in Nevada. Therefore, venue in Nevada is not proper,
and this finding mandates the denial Plaintiffs' motion.
Thus, the Court will not determine whether Nevada presents a