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EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA v. ATLANTIC

August 26, 1997

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA and TEXAS-LOUISIANA GULF COAST SYNOD OF THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA, Plaintiffs,
v.
ATLANTIC MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 This matter is before the court on defendant's motion to transfer this matter to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

 Motion granted.

 This matter is transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ("ELCA") is a not-for-profit Minnesota corporation with its principal place of business in Illinois. Plaintiff Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ("Synod") is a not-for-profit Texas corporation with its principal place of business in Texas. Defendant Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company ("Atlantic Mutual") is an insurance company organized under the laws of New York with its principal place of business in New York.

 Plaintiffs bring this case requesting a declaratory judgment that Atlantic Mutual has a duty to defend and indemnify plaintiffs under insurance policies issued by Atlantic Mutual. The underlying action -- pending in the state court system in Texas -- involves serious allegations of sexual misconduct against one of ELCA's ordained ministers.

 Atlantic Mutual argues that this matter should be transferred to Texas.

 II. DISCUSSION

 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a):

 
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.

 A transfer under § 1404(a) is appropriate 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. Vandeveld v. Christoph, 877 F. Supp. 1160, 1167 (N.D. Ill. 1995). The party requesting the transfer "has the burden of establishing ... that the transferee forum is clearly more convenient." Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219-20 (7th Cir. 1986). "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." Id. at 219.

 A. Venue

 Both parties agree that venue is proper in the Northern District of Illinois (the transferor court), see 28 U.S.C. § 1391, and the Western District of Texas (the transferee court), see 28 ...


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