WRIGHT, MILLER & COOPER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 3851 at 424-32 (1986).
In this case, Mr. Liff states that the defendant shareholders will seek the testimony of twenty non-party witnesses, all of whom reside in Tennessee, as well as unnamed officials working for federal environmental agencies in Atlanta, Georgia. However, his description of their testimony is extremely brief and vague, lacking any details concerning the length of the testimony which may be required of the witnesses or the relationship of the testimony to the issues in this case. See, e.g. Aquatic Amusement Associates, Ltd. v. Walt Disney World Co., supra, 734 F. Supp. at 58. Moreover, a large number of these witnesses reside within the Eastern District of Tennessee, over one hundred miles away from Nashville. These witnesses will be inconvenienced regardless of whether the action is transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee.
CWM states that it will seek the testimony of CWM and DSSI officials who supervised the repair of the defects at the Kingston facility, CWM and CNSI officials familiar with the costs of repairs, and experts who will explain the necessity for the repairs. CWM does not identify the names and locations of these witnesses, nor does it attempt to illustrate why the Northern District of Illinois is a more convenient forum for them. Since both sides have failed to demonstrate that the convenience of the witnesses favors their respective forums of choice, this consideration militates neither for nor against transfer.
4. Convenience of the Parties
The defendant shareholders claim that all but two of them reside in Tennessee, and that all but one of them have neither traveled to Illinois in connection with this transaction nor conduct business of any kind in Illinois. CWM responds that because most of the defendant shareholders have little knowledge of the matters at issue, this case should not be transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee because these defendants are not likely to attend the trial in any event.
This Court does not share plaintiff's disregard for the prerogative of these defendants to attend the trial, the outcome of which could result in a judgment against them in an amount exceeding ten million dollars. Nevertheless, defendants' affidavits reveal that, of all the DSSI shareholders who are parties to this action, only Mr. Adam Liff, Mr. James Sims, and Mr. James McVey were actively involved in the operation of DSSI and are thus likely to testify at trial. Of these three individuals, only Mr. Liff resides in the Middle District of Tennessee.
Under these circumstances, transfer will merely shift the inconvenience from one party to the other. Accordingly, this factor weighs against transfer.
B. The Interest of Justice
The final consideration under § 1404(a) is whether a change of venue would serve the interest of justice. This factor focuses on the efficient administration of the court system, rather than the private considerations of the litigants. Espino v. Top Draw Freight System, Inc., 713 F. Supp. 1243, 1245 (N.D. Ill. 1989) (citations omitted). Interest of justice considerations include "such concerns as ensuring speedy trials, trying related litigation together, and having a judge who is familiar with the applicable law try the case." Heller Financial, Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., Inc., supra, 883 F.2d at 1293 (citing Coffee v. Van Dorn Iron Works, supra, 796 F.2d at 221).
1. Ensuring A Speedy Trial
Plaintiff claims that the parties are likely to receive a speedier resolution of this case in the Northern District of Illinois than in the Middle District of Tennessee. To support this claim, plaintiff cites two statistics from the Federal Court Management Statistics Report: (1) the median number of months from filing to disposition of civil cases, and (2) the median number of months from issue to trial in civil cases. Of the numerous court management statistics available, these two measurements bear the most relevance to this analysis. Applied Web Systems, Inc. v. Catalytic Combustion Corp., supra, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5696, No. 90 C 4411, 1991 WL 70893, at *8.
The Federal Court Management Statistics Report for the annual period ending September 30, 1993 indicates that the median time from filing to disposition of civil cases was five months in the Northern District of Illinois, compared to nine months in the Middle District of Tennessee. See ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, 1993 FEDERAL COURT MANAGEMENT STATISTICS, pp. 96, 101. During the same period, the median time from issue to trial in civil cases was thirteen months in the Northern District of Illinois, compared to fifteen months in the Middle District of Tennessee. Id. In other words, there is a four-month difference in median time from filing to disposition, and a two-month difference in median time from issue to trial, a discrepancy which suggests that the prospect of an earlier trial might lie within this district. As such, this consideration militates against transfer.
2. Applicable Law
Illinois choice of law rules will apply to this action irrespective of whether the court transfers this case. See Providence Hospital v. Rollins Burdick Hunter of Illinois, Inc., 824 F. Supp. 131, 133 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (citing Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 639, 11 L. Ed. 2d 945, 84 S. Ct. 805 (1964)). Illinois courts have long enforced agreements regarding choice of law absent compelling circumstances which warrant disregarding such agreements. Applied Web Systems, Inc. v. Catalytic Combustion Corp., supra, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5696, No. 90 C 4411, 1991 WL 70893, at *7 (citing Sarnoff v. American Home Products Corp., 798 F.2d 1075, 1081 (7th Cir. 1986); Peach Tree Bancard Corp. v. Peachtree Bancard Network, Inc., 706 F. Supp. 639, 641 (N.D. Ill. 1989)). In the case at bar, the Stock Purchase Agreement expressly provides that it will be "governed by and construed in accordance with" the laws of the State of Delaware. Opposition, Exhibit A, p. 31, § 12.9. Because Illinois courts are no more conversant with Delaware law than Tennessee courts, this consideration neither militates for nor against transfer.
Upon weighing these considerations, the court finds that this action should not be transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee. A defendant moving to transfer an action has the burden of proving that the considerations embodied in Section 1404(a) weigh heavily in favor of transfer. Peterson v. United States Steel Corp., 624 F. Supp. 44, 45 (N.D. Ill. 1985) (citations omitted). As the foregoing discussion illustrates, defendants have failed to meet this burden. Accordingly, this Court declines to disturb the plaintiff's choice of forum. Defendants' motion to transfer this action to the Middle District of Tennessee is denied.
ELAINE E. BUCKLO
United States District Judge
Dated: December 12, 1994.