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TINGSTOL CO. v. RAINBOW SALES

September 3, 1998

THE TINGSTOL COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
RAINBOW SALES, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

 Before the court is a motion filed by defendant Rainbow Sales, Inc. ("Rainbow"). This motion is Rainbow's motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons that follow, the court denies defendant's motion to transfer venue.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff, The Tingstol Company ("Tingstol") is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Illinois. Tingstol is a manufacturer of printed circuit boards. Defendant Rainbow is a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. Rainbow acts as a sales representative for various manufacturers.

 In November of 1983, Rainbow initiated contact with Tingstol concerning Rainbow's desire to enter into an exclusive sales agreement with Tingstol. On November 15, 1983, Rainbow and Tingstol negotiated and entered into a verbal agreement in Illinois, whereby Tingstol retained Rainbow to represent it in Florida. Tingstol agreed to pay Rainbow a commission on sales of Tingstol's products in Florida. This agreement was reduced to writing on March 27, 1986, when the parties entered into a written sales agency agreement. This written agreement was modified on January 19, 1993 and again on July 1, 1993. These three written agreements specifically provided that any disputes relating to the agreements were to be construed under Illinois law. On November 19, 1996, Tingstol served Rainbow with a sixty day notice of termination.

 A controversy exists between the parties concerning Tingstol's alleged obligation to pay commissions to Rainbow on orders that were placed and processed following Rainbow's termination. Tingstol is seeking a declaratory judgment ordering that it has no obligation to pay Rainbow any sales commissions on orders issued following Rainbow's termination. This court has subject matter jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 in that the matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $ 75,000 and the parties are citizens of different states.

 On July 2, 1998, this court entered an order denying Rainbow's motion to dismiss Tingstol's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Before addressing the merits of this motion, the court notes that Rainbow has failed to file a reply brief to Tingstol's response in opposition to their motion to transfer venue. Given the passage of time since the date Rainbow's reply brief was due to be filed, the court is issuing this opinion without it.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Motion to transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)

 A transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 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 interest of justice. Vandeveld v. Christoph, 877 F. Supp. 1160, 1167 (N.D. Ill. 1995). The weight to be accorded each of the above factors is left to the sound discretion of the court. Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986). The party seeking to transfer under § 1404(a) bears the burden of establishing that the transferee court is clearly more convenient. Id. at 219-20.

 1. Venue is proper in both the transferor and the transferee court

 This court has already determined in its July 2, 1998 order that venue is proper in the Northern District of Illinois. Venue is also proper in the Middle District of Florida as that is where Rainbow resides. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c). Thus, the focal point of this analysis is the convenience of parties and witnesses and the interest of justice, to which this court now turns.

 2. The convenience of parties and witnesses and the interest of justice

 In evaluating a request for transfer under § 1404(a), the court must consider both the private interests of the parties and the public interest of the court. Medi USA, L.P. v. Jobst Inst., Inc., 791 F. Supp. 208, 210 (N.D. Ill. 1992). Private interest factors include: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the situs of material events; (3) the relative ease of access to sources of proof in each forum including the courts' power to compel the appearance of unwilling witnesses and the costs of obtaining the attendance of witnesses; and (4) convenience to the parties, their residences and their abilities to bear the expense of trial in a particular forum. Id. Public interest factors include: (1) the relation of the community to the issue of the litigation and the desirability of resolving controversies in their locale; (2) the court's familiarity with applicable law; and (3) the congestion of the respective court dockets and the prospects for earlier ...


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