this action in the Northern District of Illinois is accorded virtually no weight.
Next, the material event underlying this action was the explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800. That, as noted, occurred off the southern coast of Long Island, New York. The flight departed from John F. Kennedy ("JFK") Airport, which is in the borough of Queens--also on Long Island.
None of the conduct underlying any cause of action against any defendant occurred in the Northern District of Illinois. Accordingly, this factor militates in favor of transferring this matter.
Regarding the availability of evidence, the witnesses who observed the accident or any pertinent events occurring just prior to the accident are, of course, located in New York -- specifically, Long Island. Any post-occurrence witnesses are also located in New York.
The air traffic controllers, maintenance personnel, and ground personnel responsible for the flight are located in New York. And, the participants in the recovery operations and the wreckage itself is in New York. Thus, this factor also militates in favor of transferring the matter.
Regarding the convenience of the parties, none of the parties are citizens of the Northern District of Illinois. Houck does not reside here. Neither of the defendants reside here. In fact, the sole connection the defendant corporations have with the Northern District of Illinois is that each has a statutory agent and "does business" here. Thus, the Court does not understand why it would be more convenient for the parties to litigate here rather than New York.
Although the city of Chicago is centrally located in the United States, an extra two-hour flight to New York for some of the parties or witnesses is not terribly burdensome. Accordingly, this factor also militates in favor of transferring the case.
C. Interests of Justice
The "interests of justice" component concerns the "efficient administration of the court system." Coffey, 796 F.2d at 221. It includes such considerations as the speed at which the case will proceed to trial, the feasibility of consolidation, the court's familiarity with applicable law, and the public interest in having a case resolved in a particular forum. Id.; see Reinke v. Boden, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11809, No. 92 C 744, WL 467240 *1 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 13, 1996).
Here, first, there is no indication that the case will proceed to trial at a quicker pace in the Northern District of Illinois rather than in the Eastern District of New York. Second, the Court is aware that similar actions have already been filed in the Eastern District of New York; thus, this matter could readily be consolidated with those actions. Third, either New York law or international law will likely come into play -- Illinois law definitely will not apply. Finally, in the Court's opinion, because of the high publicity of a case of this nature, the Court believes that there is a strong public interest in having the case resolved near the forum where the tragedy occurred.
After considering the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and the interests of justice, the Court concludes that this matter should be transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Hauppauge Division.
Date: DEC 11 1996
JAMES H. ALESIA
United States District Judge