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DOAGE v. BOARD OF REGENTS

January 8, 1997

EARL E. DOAGE, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF REGENTS, a body politic and Corporate, ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY, THOMAS WALLACE, DAVID STRAND, JOSEPH EBBESEN, CARL KASTEN, NANCY MASTERSON, PATRICIA MCKENZIE, JAMES MYLES, BARBARA SCHEIBLING, NIRANGAN SHAH, MYRON SIEGEL, WILLIAM SULASKI, GRETCHEN WINTER, WILLIE FOWLER, MILES MCGREW, AMY MERSINGER, OR THEIR SUCCESSORS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Plaintiff Earl E. Doage ("Doage") filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Doage's Complaint, brought under the auspices of Title VII, alleges that he was the victim of race discrimination while employed at Illinois State University ("ISU"). The ISU campus is located in Normal, Illinois. Normal is located in the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division. ISU then filed the instant motion to dismiss for improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer venue to the Central District of Illinois. For the following reasons, the court grants the motion in part, and denies it in part.

 I.

 ISU's first argument, that the court should dismiss the case because Doage chose to file the Complaint with the Northern District of Illinois instead of the Central District of Illinois, lacks merit. Title VII allows an employment discrimination plaintiff to file an action "in any judicial district in the state in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e5(f)(3). Doage alleges that the discrimination took place in Normal, an Illinois city. Thus, the Northern District of Illinois is a proper venue.

 II.

 However, ISU's second argument, that the Central District of Illinois is a more appropriate forum, bears merit. ISU brings the second argument pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which reads, "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." Section 1404(a) allows the court to transfer a case if (1) venue is proper in both the transferor and transferee court, (2) transfer is for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and (3) transfer is in the interests of justice. Kennedy v. Miller, Johnson & Kuehn, Inc., 940 F. Supp. 207, 208 (N.D. Ill. 1996). "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).

 1. Venue

 As already discussed, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) places venue in this Title VII action in any district of Illinois, the state where ISU allegedly committed unlawful employment acts against Doage. Therefore, venue is appropriate in any of the three districts of Illinois, including both the Northern and Central Districts.

 2. Convenience of the Parties and Witnesses

 "In evaluating the convenience and fairness of transfer under § 1404(a), the court must consider both the private interests of the parties and the public interest of the court." Medi USA v. Jobst Inst., Inc., 791 F. Supp. 208, 210 (N.D. Ill. 1992). Though no public interests compel a decision either way, the relevant private interests warrant discussion. Private interests include Doage's choice of forum, the sims of material events, the availability of evidence in each forum, and the convenience to the parties of litigating in the respective forums. Sipes v. American Home Prods. Corp., 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19285, No. 96 C 7549, 1996 WL 734674, *1 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 19, 1996); College Craft Co. Ltd. v. Perry, 889 F. Supp. 1052, 1054 (N.D. Ill. 1995).

 a. Choice of Forum

 Generally, Doage's choice to proceed with his action in the Northern District of Illinois would be given substantial weight. Dunn v. Soo Line R.R. Co., 864 F. Supp. 64, 65 (N.D. Ill. 1994). However, this case presents the exception: "when the plaintiff does not reside in the chosen forum, and the conduct and events giving rise to the cause of action did not take place in the selected forum, the plaintiff's preference has nominal value." Sipes, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19285, 1996 WL 734673, at *1; Kingsley v. Dixon Old People's Home Fund, Inc., 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10237, No. 96 C 2464, 1996 WL 417548, at *1 (N.D. Ill. July 22, 1996). According to the Complaint, Doage lives in McClean County, Illinois, which sits within the bounds of the Central District of Illinois, and the underlying behavior leading up to this lawsuit occurred in that district. As such, Doage's choice of a forum different than the Central District of Illinois "is accorded virtually no weight." Sipes, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19285, 1996 WL 734673, at *1.

 Tangentially, the court takes umbrage with Doage's purported argument against transferring venue. Doage defends his filing the lawsuit with the clerk of the ...


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