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COLLEGE CRAFT COS. v. PERRY

June 8, 1995

COLLEGE CRAFT COMPANIES, LTD. and COLLEGE CRAFT ENTERPRISES, LTD., Plaintiffs,
v.
EDWARD JOSEPH PERRY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ELAINE E. BUCKLO

 Defendant moves this Court to reconsider its May 22, 1995 ruling denying his motion to transfer this case to the District of Minnesota pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons stated herein, the motion to reconsider is granted, and the motion to transfer is granted.

 Background

 Plaintiffs, College Craft Companies, Ltd. and College Craft Enterprises, Ltd. (collectively, "College Craft"), are corporations which have their headquarters and primary offices in Wheaton, Illinois. Since 1960, College Craft has been engaged in the business of providing residential exterior painting services to customers in Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Indiana. In May, 1987, College Craft hired defendant, Edward Joseph Perry ("Mr. Perry"), who was a college student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth at the time. Mr. Perry worked out of his Edina, Minnesota office, and his job responsibilities were confined exclusively to Minnesota until 1992. These responsibilities included the supervision and management of College Craft employees in Minnesota.

 In January, 1992, College Craft promoted Mr. Perry from Minneapolis Regional Manager to Corporate Group President of Midwest Operations. In this capacity, Mr. Perry was responsible for supervising College Craft's activities in several areas, focusing on Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; and Kansas City, Kansas. In connection with his employment at College Craft, Mr. Perry frequently visited Wheaton, Illinois to attend monthly corporate sales conferences, strategy sessions, and business-related social functions; to acquire training relating to College Craft's recruiting, hiring, marketing, advertising, and sales practices; to provide training to district managers and employees; and to obtain loans, guarantees, and title to painting equipment and trailers.

 In November, 1994, Mr. Perry terminated his employment with College Craft. In January, 1995, Mr. Perry and Steven Melander, a former Vice President of Midwest Operations at College Craft, formed a competing painting business known as Varsity Student Painters, Inc. ("Varsity"). Varsity is a Minnesota corporation which conducts business exclusively in Minnesota. On May 10, 1995, College Craft brought this action against Mr. Perry and Varsity in the Circuit Court of DuPage County, Illinois, charging the defendants with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unfair competition, replevin, conversion, and violations of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act. On May 16, 1995, the defendants removed the action to federal court. *fn1"

 On May 19, 1995, I denied College Craft's motion for a temporary restraining order. On the same day, the defendants brought an emergency motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the District of Minnesota pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). On May 22, 1995, I granted the motion to dismiss as to Varsity, denied the motion to dismiss as to Mr. Perry, and denied the motion to transfer. This ruling was based on the briefs and evidence before me as of May 22, 1995. Mr. Perry now moves for a reconsideration of this ruling on the ground that the emergency nature of the proceedings did not allow him to file more than a "bare bones" motion before my ruling. On May 23, 1995, Mr. Perry filed a memorandum of law in support of these motions. College Craft has been given an opportunity to respond to the arguments raised by Mr. Perry in his memorandum, and the motion is now fully briefed.

 Discussion

 Mr. Perry seeks to transfer this action to the District of Minnesota pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which provides:

 
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.

 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Transfer is appropriate under Section 1404 (a) where the moving party demonstrates that (1) venue is proper in the transferor district, (2) venue and jurisdiction are proper in the transferee district, and (3) the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties, the convenience of the witnesses, and the interest of justice. Vandeveld v. Christoph, 877 F. Supp. 1160, 1167 (N.D. Ill. 1995) (citation omitted). "The weighing of factors for and against transfer necessarily involves a large degree of subtlety and latitude, and, therefore, is committed to the sound discretion of the trial judge." Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted).

 In this case, the first two elements have been easily satisfied. First, as explained in my May 22, 1995 order, venue properly lies in this forum. Second, personal jurisdiction and venue also are proper in the District of Minnesota because Mr. Perry is a Minnesota resident. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a)(1). Accordingly, my inquiry must focus on the third element, i.e., whether a transfer will serve the convenience of the parties, the convenience of the witnesses, and the interest of justice.

 A. Considerations of Convenience

 The party seeking a Section 1404 (a) transfer bears the burden of showing that "the transferee forum is clearly more convenient" than the transferor forum. Heller Financial, Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 1286, 1293 (7th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). In deciding whether to transfer a case pursuant to Section 1404(a), a court may consider several factors, including the plaintiff's choice of forum, the situs of material events, the convenience of the witnesses, and the convenience of the parties. ...


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