court in Houston than Chicago. Certainly, Houston is more convenient for the corporate and most of the individual defendants.
The remaining private interest factors weigh heavily in favor of transferring this case to the district court in Houston. Clearly, the majority of the relevant documentary evidence will be located in Houston, the majority of potential witnesses are in or around Houston, and two of the three individual defendants are residents of Texas. Plaintiff argues that the situs of material events occurred in Illinois because the Illinois class members suffered economic damage in Illinois. The material events in question, however, are the actions the defendants took that allegedly caused the economic damage, and those actions are alleged to have occurred in Houston. Indeed, the complaint alleges that NaTec, whose assets were "plundered" by the other defendants, had its principal place of business in Houston "at relevant times herein," and NaTec has not been qualified to do business in Illinois since 1990. Accordingly, the court concludes that the situs of material events is Houston, not Illinois.
Finally, as even plaintiff admits, the discovery in this case will focus primarily on defendants. All but one of those defendants are located in Houston, and it is likely that most, if not all, of the documentary evidence will be located in Houston. It is obvious to this court that the costs to plaintiff and his counsel to travel to Texas or Utah (where plaintiff argues depositions will be conducted) to conduct discovery would be substantial regardless of whether the court hearing the case is in Illinois or Texas.
With respect to the public interest, plaintiff argues that Illinois' relationship to this litigation is extraordinarily strong. His support for this argument is again based on the fact that 1,900 Illinois residents are potential class members. This court concludes, however, that the administration of justice will be served more efficiently if the case is litigated before a court that is "closer to the action." Paul v. Lands' End, Inc., 742 F. Supp. 512, 514 (N.D. Ill. 1990). In the instant case, the allegations focus on defendants' actions in Houston. Moreover, as noted above, there is a potential personal jurisdictional problem in this court with respect to the individual defendants, who may be indispensable parties. No matter how this court were to decide that question, the issue would remain with the case through trial and appeal. The issue is resolved, however, by transfer to texas, where all potentially indispensable parties are subject to the court's jurisdiction. Section 1404(a) is designed to prevent waste of time, energy, and money, as well as to protect litigants, witnesses, and the public against inconvenience and expense. Van Gelder v. Taylor, 621 F. Supp. 613, 618 (N.D. Ill. 1985). Transfer to Texas will promote all of those goals. Additionally, because both parties appear to believe that Utah law applies substantively to this case, familiarity with the law is not relevant. The district court in Texas is equally as capable of applying Utah law as is this court.
Finally, defendant argues that this court should dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction rather than transfer the case to the district court in Houston. It is clearly settled, however, that when transferring the action under Section 1404(a), the transferor court is not first required to establish personal jurisdiction. See The Coats Company, Inc. v. Vulcan Equipment Company, Limited, 459 F. Supp. 654 (N.D. Ill. 1978). Transfer, rather than dismissal, is the proper remedy if the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interest of justice describe a more appropriate forum elsewhere. Van Gelder, 621 F. Supp. at 618.
Accordingly, after weighing all the relevant factors, the court concludes that it is in the overall interest of justice to transfer this case to the district court in the Southern District of Texas, in Houston, Texas.
For the reasons set forth above, this matter is transferred to the district court in the Southern District of Texas, Houston, Texas.
ENTER: May 20, 1997
Robert W. Gettleman
United States District Judge
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
Decision by Court. This action came to a hearing before the Court. The issues have been heard and a decision has been rendered.
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that this cause is ordered transferred to the U.S.D.C. for the Southern District of Texas, Houston, Texas.
May 20, 1997.