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FUL INC. v. UNIFIED SCH. DIST. NO. 204

December 17, 1993

FUL INCORPORATED, an Illinois corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 204, Defendant.


ALESIA


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES H. ALESIA

Before the court is the motion of defendant, Unified School District Number 204 ("District 204"), to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

 I. FACTS

 As alleged in the complaint and pleadings, plaintiff FUL Incorporated, is an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Illinois. On or about March 4, 1991, defendant District 204, a Kansas municipal body, entered into an equipment lease agreement with FUL for the lease of certain copiers. Under the terms of the equipment lease, District 204 agreed to pay FUL the sum of $ 2,516.66 per month for sixty months for the lease of six copiers from FUL. It is at this point that the facts, as stated by the parties, differ. Because it is unnecessary to resolve this dispute in order to rule on this motion, each parties' version of the facts is provided.

 FUL states that District 204 is in default of the equipment lease executed on or about March 4, 1991, for failure to make the required monthly payments. District 204 counters by alleging that the equipment lease executed on or about March 4, 1991, was cancelled and terminated on or before January 22, 1992, by John Pappert, whom District 204 alleges was FUL's agent.

 District 204 states that on or about January 22, 1992, it entered into a lease agreement for various copying equipment with Century Office Products, Inc. ("COPI"), a Kansas Corporation with its principal place of business in Liberal, Kansas, and Kansas City Services, Inc. ("KSC"), also a Kansas Corporation. *fn1" District 204 states that it entered into the January 22, 1992, lease agreement in reliance upon the prior representations of Pappert that all other lease agreements, including the FUL lease of March 4, 1991, had been terminated, cancelled and made null and void and of no further force and effect. *fn2"

 On October 1, 1992, COPI filed a Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy. On November 20, 1992, District 204 filed an adversary proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas seeking, among other things: (1) an order requiring COPI, FUL, General Electric Capital Corporation, KSC and First National Bank of Shawnee Mission to set forth their claims to the copying equipment in possession of District 204 and to any lease payments for such equipment; (2) a determination of the rights of COPI, FUL, General Electric, KSC and the First National Bank to the copying equipment or lease payments at issue; and (3) a declaration that the FUL lease of March 4, 1991, is null and void because of fraudulent inducement, FUL's breach of warranty of title and/or FUL's failure to comply with Kansas law.

 On November 23, 1992, FUL filed this action. In this two-count complaint, FUL alleges (1) that District 204 breached its contract with FUL by failing to make the monthly payments on the March 4, 1991, lease and (2) that District 204 fraudulently induced FUL to pay COPI for the equipment covered by the March 4, 1991, equipment lease.

 District 204 filed this motion to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

 II. DISCUSSION

 Motions to transfer venue are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which states: "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." A section 1404(a) transfer will be granted if the moving party establishes: (1) that venue is proper in the transferor district; (2) that venue and jurisdiction are proper in the transferee district; and (3) that the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and the witnesses and will promote the interest of justice. See Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 & n.3 (7th Cir. 1986). The movant must establish that "the transferee forum is clearly more convenient" than the transferor forum in order to be granted its motion. Id. at 220. Finally, the district court judge is granted significant latitude in "weighing of factors for and against transfer." Id. at 219.

 A. Venue in the Transferor District

 District 204 concedes that venue is proper in this district because paragraph 13 *fn3" of the March 4, 1991, equipment lease contractually obligates it to consent to personal jurisdiction and venue in the Northern District of Illinois. See Walter E. Heller & Co. v. James Godbe Co., 601 F. Supp. 319, 320-21 (N.D. Ill. 1984). For this reason, the Court ...


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