In addressing LMC's motion to transfer, this Court proceeds from the
premise that, since plaintiff is a citizen of this judicial district, its
choice of venue is entitled to considerable deference. Hess v. Gray, 85
F.R.D. 15, 24 (N.D.Ill. 1979). Consequently, the burden lies with the
defendant to persuade the Court that the considerations embodied in
§ 1404(a)*fn2 weigh heavily in favor of transfer. Illinois Tool
Works, Inc. v. Sweetheart Plastics, Inc., 436 F.2d 1180, 1188 n.19 (7th
Cir. 1971); Cunningham v. Cunningham, 477 F. Supp. 632, 634 (N.D.Ill.
1979). Whether this burden has been met is a decision committed to the
discretion of this Court upon a review of all the circumstances which
surround the controversy.*fn3 General Foods Corp. v. Carnation Co.,
411 F.2d 528, 533 (7th Cir. 1969); Hess, supra, 85 F.R.D. at 23. Rather
than merely shifting the burden of inconvenience from one party to
another, the Court's discretion is directed to minimizing the
inconvenience between the parties and striking a proper balance in the
interests of justice. Bodine's Inc. v. Sunny-O, Inc., 494 F. Supp. 1279,
1286 (N.D.Ill. 1980); Blumenthal v. Management Assistance, Inc.,
480 F. Supp. 470, 474 (N.D.Ill. 1980).
On or about October 9, 1980, Richard Jahnke, the president of Cinema,
and Charles Thomas, an agent of Cinema, signed a purchase order wherein
they agreed to sell and deliver 50 microprocessor computers to LMC for
$2,750.00 apiece. Pursuant to the contract, the computers were shipped to
LMC in regular installments, beginning in November, 1980. LMC then resold
the computers to various customers located primarily in the western
United States. The unpaid balance of $38,832.03 represents the cost of
the computers that Cinema shipped to LMC in April and May of 1981. On May
6, 1982, LMC filed a complaint against Cinema, Jahnke and Thomas in the
Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging breach of contract and breach
of warranty. LMC asserted therein that a number of the machines it
purchased under the October, 1980, contract were defective. Cinema filed
the present action against LMC on May 12, 1982.
Both parties have asserted that their principal officers were involved
in the negotiation of the contract at issue in this case.*fn4 With the
exception of Cinema's agent, the individuals involved in those
negotiations reside outside of Illinois. A trial of this matter in this
district would, therefore, require that officers of Cinema as well as LMC
travel from the principal places of their respective businesses. A trial
of this matter in the Central District of California, although requiring
plaintiff's officers to travel a greater distance, would eliminate the
need for LMC's officers to travel from their principal place of
business. Transfer of this action to California would not, therefore,
merely shift the burden of inconvenience from one party to another.
A variety of other factors dictate that this suit be transferred to the
Central District of California. First, the substance of LMC's defense to
this action was raised in a lawsuit filed by LMC against Cinema in
California several days prior to the filing of
this suit. Presumably, representatives of Cinema would be required to
travel to California in any event to defend against that action.*fn5
Moreover, transfer of this action to the Central District of California
may facilitate consolidation of these related claims.
Second, the material evidence supporting LMC's defense is located
entirely outside of Illinois. LMC has listed four companies alleged to
have purchased defective computer equipment that Cinema shipped to LMC.
Three of those companies have offices in California and are probable
nonparty witnesses for the defense.*fn6 Indeed, the bulk of the
equipment at issue in this case is located in the western United States,
including California. Proof of such a defense, as well as refutation of
the defense, will require careful inspection of this equipment, none of
which is located in Illinois. Proof of Cinema's breach of contract
claim, on the other hand, should not involve substantial investigation or
presentation of complex evidence. Indeed, LMC does not dispute the facts
underlying Cinema's claim. The Court is unable to discern how the
interests of justice could be served by forcing LMC in this breach of
contract action in Illinois to prove a substantially more complex claim
which it has already asserted in a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles
County Superior Court.
Accordingly, the Court finds that prosecution of this action in the
District Court for the Central District of California will better serve
the convenience of the parties and prospective witnesses and, in
general, the interests of justice. LMC's motion to transfer is granted.
It is so ordered.