it appears that a significant portion of the patients he
treats live in nearby Illinois. Thus, it should be of no
surprise when one of his Illinois patients brings suit.
Dr. Patel argues, further, that he has structured his
practice in reliance on Indiana law. It may well be that Dr.
Patel is less concerned about the unfairness or inconvenience
of defending suit in Chicago — only 25 miles from Hammond —
than he is concerned about the application of Indiana
substantive law in this case.*fn7 The Court is mindful that
under Indiana law, Dr. Patel's liability exposure could be
sharply lessened. But while the choice of law issue may be
significant later in this case, it is not before the Court at
this time. For jurisdictional purposes, due process is
concerned with the ability of potential defendants to structure
their primary conduct based upon the foreseeability of foreign
state jurisdiction, World-Wide, 444 U.S. at 297, 100 S.Ct. at
567; choice of law is a separate concern. For these reasons,
jurisdiction over Dr. Patel is proper in Illinois.
The Motions to Transfer Venue
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), this Court may grant a motion to
transfer "for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in
the interest of justice. . . ." However, "unless the balance is
strongly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff's choice of
forum should rarely be disturbed." Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert,
330 U.S. 501, 67 S.Ct. 839, 91 L.Ed. 1055 (1947); Magnavox Co.
v. Bally Manufacturing Corp., 414 F. Supp. 891 (N.D.Ill. 1976).
Moreover, since plaintiff is a resident of this judicial
district, her choice of venue is entitled to considerable
deference. Hess v. Gray, 85 F.R.D. 15, 24 (N.D.Ill. 1979).
The hospital and Dr. Patel both argue that they and any
Indiana witnesses will be inconvenienced by litigating this
matter in Illinois. Transfer of this action to Indiana,
however, would inconvenience plaintiff and her Illinois
witnesses, including witnesses from the school and Michael
Reese. Where transfer would merely shift rather than eliminate
inconvenience, plaintiff's original choice of forum will not
be disturbed. Blumenthal v. Management Assistance, Inc.,
480 F. Supp. 470, 474 (N.D.Ill. 1979). Moreover, the inconvenience
argument is weakened considerably by the fact that the city of
Hammond is in close proximity to this Court. See Jenkins v.
Wilson Freight Forwarding Co., 104 F. Supp. 422 (S.D.N.Y. 1952).
Both Dr. Patel and St. Margaret Hospital argue that transfer
would serve the interests of justice if jurisdiction could not
be obtained over Dr. Patel in Illinois. In light of the
Court's ruling above on Dr. Patel's motion to dismiss,
however, this argument becomes moot.
Wentworth and School District # 155's Motion to Remand
Defendants Wentworth and School District # 155 have moved to
remand the instant case as it relates to them to state court.
Once a case has been removed from state court to federal
court, a timely motion for remand requires that the district
court consider whether "the case was removed improvidently and
without jurisdiction. . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). In the
present case, Wentworth and School District # 155 support their
motion to remand with two arguments: first, Illinois law
requires that suits against an Illinois governmental
corporation be brought in the county in which such a
defendant's principal office is located, Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 110
§ 7;*fn8 and second, that the claims against these defendants
involve neither a federal question nor diversity of
citizenship. We are not persuaded by either argument that
removal was improvident or without jurisdiction.
Defendants St. Margaret Hospital and Dr. Patel petitioned
for removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c), which provides in
Whenever a separate and independent claim or
cause of action, which would be removable if sued
upon alone, is joined with one or more otherwise
nonremovable claims or causes of action, the
entire case may be removed and the district court
may determine all issues therein, or, in its
discretion, may remand all matters not otherwise
within its original jurisdiction.
Thus, for purposes of this motion, we must determine whether
the entire case was properly removed, and then, whether, as a
matter of discretion, the claims against Wentworth and School
District # 155 should be remanded. Turning to Wentworth's and
the School District's first argument, it is clear that the
venue requirement of Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 110 § 2-103, does not
render removal to this Court improper. The statute does not
require that actions against public corporations be brought
only in a state court, but rather, that such actions be brought
in the county wherein the corporation is located. Chapter 110,
§ 7, does not affect the propriety of removal to this Court,
which, like the state court, is located in Cook County.
Further, we reject any implication that Wentworth can only be
sued in state court. There is no general prohibition against
suing such a public entity in federal court.
Wentworth's second argument is also without merit. It is
true that the claims against Wentworth would be non-removable
if sued upon alone: There would be no basis for original
jurisdiction in federal court.*fn9 This fact alone, however,
does not preclude removal under section 1441(c). The relevant
inquiry to examine the propriety of removal under § 1441(c) is
two-pronged: first, whether the claims against the removing
defendants would be removable if sued upon alone; and second,
whether those removable claims are separate and independent
from all non-removable claims. The first prong is easily
satisfied in the present case because if sued upon alone,
plaintiff's claims against St. Margaret Hospital and Dr. Patel
would be removable based upon diversity of citizenship.
28 U.S.C. § 1332. Under the second prong of the § 1441(c) inquiry,
the otherwise non-removable claims against Wentworth may be
removed as part of the "entire case," if they state claims or
causes of action that are separate and independent from the
removable claims.*fn10 American Fire & Casualty Co. v. Finn,
341 U.S. 6, 71 S.Ct. 534, 95 L.Ed. 702 (1951). In determining
whether causes of action are separate and independent, courts
must consider: whether a plaintiff is seeking to vindicate
different rights against different defendants; and whether the
causes of action are based upon facts that are spatially and
chronologically distinct. Wilson v. Intercollegiate (Big Ten)
Conference Athletic Assoc., 513 F. Supp. 1062, 1065 (C.D.Ill.
1981); Leinberger v. Webster, 66 F.R.D. 28, 32 (E.D.N Y
1975). See generally Finn, supra. In her counts against
Wentworth, plaintiff seeks to vindicate the decedent's right to
expect the school to be operated in a manner so as not to cause
him injury. See Complaint at 8. Plaintiff has charged St.
Margaret Hospital and Dr. Patel, however, with negligence in
rendering medical care. Clearly, these causes of action involve
different defendants who are charged with violating different
rights. Wentworth's liability would be based upon facts
surrounding the decedent's original injury at the school. Yet
the liability of the hospital and Dr. Patel will turn on the
surrounding the care rendered to the decedent later at the
hospital. Thus, Wentworth's liability would be based upon a
set of facts that is distinct from the facts that would
support liability against the hospital and Dr. Patel. We
conclude, therefore, that the causes of action are separate
and independent, and pursuant to § 1441(c), the entire case was
Having decided that the entire case was properly removed, we
must still consider whether the interests of the parties and
judicial economy dictate that the claims against Wentworth be
remanded. Leinberger, supra, 66 F.R.D. at 33. Obviously, if the
claims against Wentworth bore no relationship of any kind to
the claims against the other defendants, then remand would be
proper. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. v. Taylor, 239 F. Supp. 913,
922 (S.D.N.Y. 1965). Yet even though the claims against
Wentworth are separate and independent for purposes of removal,
see discussion, supra, the likely existence of common questions
of law and fact persuades the Court that judicial economy will
be best served by retaining the entire case. Our decision not
to transfer the instant case to the Northern District of
Indiana further supports this conclusion.*fn12
For the reasons stated in this opinion, the defendants'
motions for transfer are denied, Dr. Patel's motion to dismiss
is denied, and Wentworth and School District # 155's motion to
remand is denied. It is so ordered.