United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
January 6, 1984
GREGG COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS, INC., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY; WESTERN ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC.; BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES, INC., AND ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Three of the four defendants in this case — American Telephone
and Telegraph Company, Western Electric Company, Inc. and Bell
Telephone Laboratories, Inc. — have moved this Court for an order:
(1) transferring this action to the United States District Court
for the District of Columbia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); and
(2) severing the action against the moving defendants from the
action against defendant Illinois Bell Telephone Company.
Defendants' principal argument in support of transferring this
case is that an action involving "virtually identical" issues is
presently pending before the District Court for the District of
Columbia. KWF Industries, Inc. v. American Telephone and
Telegraph Company, No. 83-0431 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 15, 1983)
(hereinafter "KWF Industries"). Plaintiffs argue that
substantial differences exist between this case and the KWF
Industries case and that defendants' motion constitutes a
collateral attack on the District of Columbia Court's order
denying defendants' previously filed motion in that court to
transfer the KWF Industries case to this district. KWF
Industries, Inc. v. American Telephone and Telegraph Company,
No. 83-0431 (D.D.C. July 18, 1983) (order denying motion to
transfer and sever).
The pendency of a related case in the transferee district does
not compel transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). To the contrary,
this factor, standing alone, is entitled to little weight. Payne
v. AHFI Netherlands, B.V., 482 F. Supp. 1158, 1164 (N.D.Ill.
1980). A transfer under § 1404(a) will not be granted absent a
convincing showing by the party seeking transfer that the balance
of convenience weighs strongly in favor of the transferee court.
Id.; Star Lines, Ltd. v. Puerto Rico Maritime Shipping
Authority, 442 F. Supp. 1201, 1207 (S.D.N.Y. 1978). District
courts are given broad discretion in determining whether a
transfer under § 1404(a) is proper. Piper Aircraft Co. v.
Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 253, 102 S.Ct. 252, 264, 70 L.Ed.2d 419
Defendants have failed to show that a trial in Washington, D.C.
would be more convenient for the parties or potential witnesses.
Furthermore, defendants' contention that proceeding with separate
trials in Chicago and Washington, D.C. would be a waste of time
and money is not convincing.
Although the KWF Industries case and this case are related to
the extent that both cases involve the post-Carterfone tariffs,
APCM tariffs and the Code-A-Phone product, the cases also involve
different products, different levels of distribution and
different theories of liability. Also significant is that this
case has been set for trial on July 2, 1984, while the KWF
Industries case will not be tried until February 15, 1985. Since
the cases apparently are proceeding at different stages of
discovery, the interest of efficient judicial administration
would not be served by transferring this case to the District of
Columbia for consolidation.
Defendants have failed to sustain their burden of showing that
the conveniences of witnesses and the interests of justice would
be best served by transferring this case to the District of
For the reasons stated above, defendants' motion to transfer
and sever Illinois Bell Telephone Company as a defendant is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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