United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael G. Gotsch, Sr. United States Magistrate Judge
February 4, 2019, Defendant, Auto-Owners Insurance Company
(“Auto-Owners”),  a Michigan corporation, filed a
motion seeking to transfer this case to the Western District
of Michigan, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). On
February 18, 2019, Plaintiff, SCCI Hospitals of America d/b/a
Kindred Hospital Northern Indiana (“Kindred”),
filed a response. Defendants DISH Network Corporation
Employee Benefits Health and Welfare Plan and DISH Network
Corporation (together “the DISH Defendants”)
filed nothing in response. On February 25, 2019, Auto-Owners
filed a reply. The Court DENIES
Auto-Owners' motion to transfer for the following
October 24, 2018, Kindred sued all the defendants based upon
Defendants' failure to pay for services rendered to a
patient (the “Patient”) in its long-term acute
care hospital in Mishawaka, Indiana. The Patient, a resident
of Niles, Michigan, held an automobile insurance policy from
Auto-Owners and was the beneficiary of an employee healthcare
plan through the DISH Defendants. The Auto-Owners policy was
negotiated, issued, and delivered in Michigan.
Patient was treated at Kindred following a sequence of events
that began on September 25, 2017, in Niles, Michigan, where
she experienced a medical event while driving that led to a
one-vehicle crash. The Patient's husband, also a Niles
resident, was on the phone with her at the time of the crash.
A Niles police officer responded to the crash, which was
witnessed by one person who resides in nearby Buchanan,
Michigan. After the accident, the Patient was initially
treated at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, Michigan, then
transferred to University of Chicago Medical Center in
Chicago, Illinois, and finally transferred into long-term
care at Kindred in Mishawaka, Indiana.
now sues Auto-Owners pursuant to the Michigan No-Fault
Insurance Act, MCL § 500.3101, et seq., for
payment of automobile insurance benefits for the
Patient's care and treatment at Kindred in Mishawaka,
Indiana, after the crash. Kindred is also suing the DISH
Defendants under ERISA for payment for its care and treatment
of the Patient. Through the instant motion, Auto-Owners seeks
a transfer of venue to the Western District of Michigan under
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In support, Auto-Owners argues that
transfer would be in the interest of justice and more
convenient for the parties and witnesses because the medical
event and vehicle crash at issue took place in Michigan, the
majority of key witnesses are in Michigan, and the dispute
involves construction of a Michigan-issued insurance policy
and the Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act. This Court
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 in the Northern District of Indiana
and the Western District of Michigan
party challenges the jurisdiction of either district.
Therefore, the Court's only question is the propriety of
venue in both districts.
relevant here, “[a] civil action may be brought in . .
. 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).
Auto-Owners notes that venue is “technically
proper” in the Northern District of Indiana, but
suggests it is “debatable” whether a
“substantial part” of the events giving rise to
the claim occurred in this district. [DE 20 at 8].
contends that the Patient's medical event and vehicle
crash in Michigan are the relevant “substantial
part” of the events giving rise to Kindred's claim
here while Kindred argues that the key events giving rise to
this suit are the services rendered to the Patient, for which
Defendants have not paid, in this District. In the end, the
Court need not reach any conclusion about the
“debatable” question of “substantial part
of events” because events in both Michigan and Indiana
are historical predicates to this lawsuit. See
Johnson v. Masselli, No. 2:07 CV 214 PPS, 2008 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 1293, at *12 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 4, 2008) (citing
Moore v. Dixon, 460 F.Supp.2d 931, 936 (E.D. Wis.
2006)) (finding that determining where a “substantial
part” of the events or omissions that gave rise to the
claim occurred “is more of a qualitative, rather than
quantitative inquiry” and that the critical question is
whether the events in the forum “were part of the
historical predicate for the instant suit.”)
Convenience of the Witnesses and Parties
evaluating the private interests reflected in 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 ...