in the Southern District of Illinois militates in favor of transferring this matter.
2. Availability of evidence in each forum
Regarding the availability of evidence in each forum, the court finds that this factor is a wash. Plaintiff states that the evidence consists of photographs and videos of the accident site which can be viewed easily in either forum. That may be true, but additional evidence will likely be required. That evidence will consist of the individuals -- such as police officers/highway patrol and medical personnel -- responding to or investigating the accident. All of those individuals reside in or near the Southern District of Illinois.
On the other hand, family members and friends will testify on plaintiff's behalf.
All of those individuals reside near Chicago. Plaintiff lists numerous individuals, but it is unlikely that all of the listed individuals will testify since much of their testimony will be cumulative.
Accordingly, there is roughly an equal amount of evidence in each forum.
3. Convenience of the parties
Regarding the final factor -- the convenience of the parties of litigating in the respective forum -- this factor is also a wash. It's more convenient for plaintiff to litigate in the Northern District of Illinois, while it's more convenient for defendants to litigate in the Southern District of Illinois.
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 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).
As plaintiff concedes, cases proceed to trial at a faster pace in the Southern District of Illinois as opposed to the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff notes that cases are disposed of rather quickly in this district, but, those are cases that are decided on motions to dismiss or summary judgment. This is not the type of case that generally gets decided without going to trial.
Both districts are familiar with Illinois law, thus, this factor is a wash.
Finally, with respect to the public interest in having a matter decided in a particular forum, because the fatal accident occurred in the Southern District of Illinois, the court finds that district has a stronger public interest in resolving this matter as compared to the Northern District of Illinois. The public interest is much greater in certain types of cases, see, e.g., Houck v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 947 F. Supp. 373, 376 (N.D. Ill. 1996) (local community has strong public interest in hearing TWA Flight 800 case), but, in this court's opinion, the place where a tragedy occurs always has a strong interest in hearing the case, it's just a matter of degree.
After considering the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interests of justice, the court finds that the Southern District of Illinois is clearly more convenient than the Northern District of Illinois. Primarily, because that district is the situs of the events giving rise to this action. Furthermore, the interest of justice component favors transferring this matter. Moreover, there are no factors which significantly support keeping the matter here. Therefore, defendants' motion to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Benton Division is granted.
Date: SEP 19, 1997
James H. Alesia
United States District Judge